Midwest wireless medical monitoring manufacturer Athena GTX is teaming up with an Israeli startup firm to develop a device that will allow doctors to remotely diagnose patients with progressive disorders (heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). The project is being partly funded by a $900,000 grant from the Israeli-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation. Both companies are matching funding.
Established in 1977 by the U.S. and Israeli governments to generate mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries' technology industries, the BIRD Founding has invested more than $300 million in projects that have generated direct and indirect sales totaling more than $10 billion.
The combination of Athena GTX's Web-based tracking technology with New NI Medical Ltd.'s sensing technology will enable doctors to "independently and non-invasively diagnose progressive diseases from their smartphones," the companies said in a news release.
The firms estimate the project will generate about $70 million in revenues in its first five years.
Athena GTX designs and builds various wireless medical monitoring devices that were first used by U.S. special forces teams but now are used by emergency medical responders in both the military and civilian markets. Athena’s Wireless Vital Signs Monitor (WVSM) enables emergency medical responders to remotely monitor a patient’s heart rate, blood pressure and other indicators and instantaneously relay that data while the patient is en route to the hospital. The device weighs less than a pound and is a little larger than a cordless telephone. The company's Mini-Medic, is a smaller version of the WVSM that attaches to a patient’s forehead; the WiSync, meanwhile, is a wireless device to which emergency responders can connect medical devices to interface with hospitals’ communications networks. Another product known as the Dogbone because of its shape, is a compact wireless physiological monitoring system designed to be worn by soldiers or emergency workers to track their vital signs.
Development of the company's latest portable monitoring device will take place jointly in Des Moines, Iowa (where Athena is headquartered) and at New NI Medical's development center in Hod Hasharon, Israel. Initial demonstrations of the technology will be conducted in Tampa, Fla., under the direction of a pulmonary and sleep clinic practice, the Business Record of Des Moines reports.
In 2012, approximately 308,000 patients were remotely monitored by health care providers worldwide for progressive conditions, including heart failure, cardiopulmonary disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and mental health conditions. The market is projected to expand to 1.8 million patients as the healthcare industry works to reduce hospital readmission rates.