Covid-19: the health selfie, the missing link in telemedicine!
If the Government’s Health Plan 2022 aimed to accelerate the use of telemedicine, it is undeniable that the Covid-19 crisis has democratized it. For example, Doctolib announced on 22 April that it had hosted more than 2.5 million teleconsultations since the beginning of the health crisis. At the national level, this has risen from 10,000 teleconsultations per week prior to containment to more than 1 million in the last week of April, a 100-fold increase.
While it is certain that teleconsultations will continue to make inroads into the daily lives of citizens, we may wonder about the viability of objective feedback for the doctor because of the absence of tools specific to consultations such as stethoscopes, blood pressure monitors, etc. Only the patient’s statement and the doctor’s interpretation by camera are authentic!
What if the missing link was your smartphone camera?
That’s the bet made by two young companies, Nuralogix (Canada and China) and Binah.ai (Israel), who use your smartphone camera for several seconds to deliver the following information about your health:
- Heart rate;
- Heart rate variability;
- Oxygen saturation (SpO2);
- Respiratory distress;
- Mental status;
- Blood pressure.
The technologies used, called photoplethysmography (PPG) or “Transdermal Optical Imaging” (TOI™), allow the exploration of blood vessels in a non-invasive way. The common principle is to illuminate the skin (upper cheek area of the face) so that a photoreceptor can measure small variations in light intensity associated with blood flow to the tissues. Through facial blood flow and reflux, a lot of information is obtained such as oxygen saturation (SpO2), respiratory rate and heart rate, which are very precious signs for the apprehension of Covid-19.
Since the beginning of March 2020, the Israeli firm Binah.ai has been testing its application in collaboration with the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, allowing healthcare personnel to reduce their contact with patients carrying the Covid-19 virus while ensuring quality follow-up.
Binah.ai’s diagnostic reliability has been confirmed compared to conventional medical equipment and works on any skin color, age and/or gender.
In the Covid-19, the detection of oxygen saturation rate is paramount. Covid-19 pneumonia sometimes begins in some patients (called “happy hypoxics”) who do not feel short of breath, even though their oxygen level begins to drop. Note that normal blood oxygen saturation (the level of oxygen carried by our red blood cells) is normally between 95 and 100%. Below 90%, we speak of hypoxia, and below 80% of severe hypoxia.
It is therefore clear that a teleconsultation that can include an SpO2 measurement appears very safe, and that patient monitoring at home should include this measurement. Today, it can be said that, during the initial consultation of a patient suspected of having Covid-19, this SpO2 measurement is indispensable, just like the temperature measurement.
The field of possibilities is vast and does not only affect the health sector, we can very well imagine this application to follow his employees, a traveler during boarding, a check in at the hotel…
Cela est d’autant possible que Binah.ai propose son application par le biais d’un kit de développement logiciel (SDK) en marque blanche pour tout clients BtoB. Une version grand public devrait être disponible sur les plateformes Apple et Google début juin 2020.
This is all the more possible since Binah.ai offers its application through a white label Software Development Kit (SDK) for any BtoB customer. A consumer version should be available on Apple and Google platforms in early June 2020.
The next evolutions of the application will be the possibility to detect :
- Blood alcohol level;
- Hemoglobin level.
The next declination or physical integration of this solution could be the mirror of your bathroom, the Care OS company already offers a complete solution in this sense including integrated telemedicine.
In the same way, Google aims at monitoring health at home and particularly in the bathroom (as mentioned in the patent below), using the mirror as a support for reporting. The data collected will be tracked and would be shared with health professionals recommended by the Google platform (which is not yet official but is present in the patent).
By 2023, the global e-health market will be worth $235 billion and will be largely due to the democratization of the IoT. According to Allied Market Research, the medical IoT is expected to have a net value of $136.8 billion worldwide by 2021, representing 40% of all IoTs.
Because these devices are effective for real-time monitoring, they could play an important role in the detection and management of chronic disease. Will this ‘objectivity’ of diagnosis governed by AI (computer vision) be the guarantee of our future medical teleconsultations?