Intel grant will help health tech firm with Covid response
Tech giant Intel have awarded a grant to digital healthcare company Electronic Caregiver to assist with their COVID-19 relief efforts.
Based in Doña Ana County in New Mexico where a surge in cases has put a strain hospitals and healthcare staff, the funds will go towards the company’s COVID to Home programme, which addresses the critical needs of hospitals and patients.
Under the programme, patients are discharged to their home or to a designated hotel with an Electronic Caregiver 'Pro Health' smart health hub – a voice-driven, easy-to-use connected console. The device allows patients to monitor their healthcare thanks to a daily survey that assesses symptoms, a pulse oximeter, non-contact thermometer, and blood pressure cuff.
Clinicians and clinical volunteers can use a HIPAA-compliant web portal to assess patient results remotely and administer care. Patients can also use the Pro Health devices for virtual consultations with a doctor, medication reminders, and round-the-clock emergency response. It uses Intel technology both in on-site workstations and cloud-based servers from Amazon Web Services.
Intel's grant is part of the organisation's commitment to help with access to technology that can fight the pandemic and aid scientific discovery to handle future crises. The funds will help the company purchase equipment for the COVID to Home program; create a version of the COVID-19 survey and vitals capture using Electronic Caregiver’s Virtual Caregiver, named Addison; create five portable demo “kits” to showcase at events/venues; create a video testimonial of the programme; and publish a white paper on programme structure, goals, and outcomes.
“The major impact of this programme is the number of hospital beds it has freed up for patients that are really sick,” said John Andazola, MD, Program Director of the Southern New Mexico Family Medicine Residency Program at Memorial Medical Center. “It truly represents the best in local collaboration, and we are pleased to play a role.”
The option to implement Electronic Caregiver’s COVID to Home programme exists throughout the state and the country. “We’d be thrilled to partner with anybody, anywhere, to be able to replicate this programme and be able to drive a similar type of outcome,” said Electronic Caregiver’s Chief Digital Health Integration Officer Mark Francis. “If folks want to come together and deal with this critical public health issue, we’re here with the proven solution that’s driving demonstrated outcomes, that is simple and easy to implement, and can save lives and benefit communities.”
In April 2020 Intel committed $50 million to fund the Pandemic Response Technology Initiative (PRTI), to support point-of-patient-care solutions. Since it began, the programme has supported hundreds of organisations around the world.
“We chose to support Electronic Caregiver’s project because of its scalable use of remote monitoring that leverages Intel technology to meet the needs of underserved communities in New Mexico” said Chris Gough, General Manager of Intel Health & Life Sciences.
COVID to Home is jointly funded by Doña Ana County and the city of Las Cruces, at no cost to patients. A month after the programme launched it had supported over 100 patients. The company says it has increased critical care capacity in the region by 30 per cent.
“COVID to Home has allowed us to maintain capacity in our hospitals, while providing effective community-based care to people recovering from COVID” Jamie Michael, Director of Health and Human Services for Doña Ana County said. "It also allows providers to interact with patients safely and allows people to recover in their home.”
Zoom enters the healthcare market - a timeline
Since the pandemic began Zoom has become an integral part of daily life for people working from home, as well as a vital tool for families and friends to communicate. However it's also been eyeing up the healthcare space since 2017, and following the boom in telehealth the company has been rolling out additional services. Here we chart Zoom's move into healthcare.
2011 - 2013
Zoom is founded in San Jose, California, by Eric Yuan, formerly of Cisco. He got the idea to create a video calling platform from his visits to his girlfriend while he was a student, which would take 10 hours by train.
A beta version is released in 2012, which can host up to 15 participants. In 2013 this rises to 25. By mid-2013, Zoom has 1 million users.
2014 - 2017
Zoom attracts investors, including Sequoia Capital, Emergence and Horizon Ventures. By January 2017, Zoom has a series D funding worth $100 million.
2017 - 2019
Zoom for Telehealth launches, including an integration with EHR system Epic. It has cloud-based video, audio, and content sharing features, a "waiting room" for patients, and can easily be integrated into healthcare provider's workflows.
In 2019 Zoom goes public, with its IPO rising 72% in one day.
As a result of the pandemic, Zoom gains 2.2 million new users, more than in the whole of 2019. On the 23rd of March alone - the day the UK lockdown was announced - the platform was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world.
Share prices rise to around $150, and founder and chief executive Eric Yuan becomes one of the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth of $7.9 billion.
Early security issues are addressed by encrypting data with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). By now the the platform allows 99 people to be on a call simultaneously
New features launch, including Zoom Home and Zoom for Chats. Throughout the year the platform is used to replace most kinds of real life events: work meetings, online classrooms, church services and social events.
Renamed Zoom for Healthcare, users can share secured video, audio, and content through desktops, mobile phones, and conference devices. As well as Epic, it can be integrated with Strmr, IntakeQ, and Practice Better.
It can also be used with diagnostic cameras and other point-of-care devices, including digital stethoscopes.
In an interview with Korea Biomedical Review, Zoom Global Healthcare Lead Ron Emerson said: "Our service is not simply a virtual care and telemedicine platform but a multi-purpose platform that can satisfy the needs of healthcare institutions."
"It can be used for administrative tasks, including telemedicine, medical team meetings, recruitment, medical education, employee training, and disease prevention. Analysing electronic records managed by Zoom could provide meaningful insights into patient care."
Phoenix Children's Hospital, Belfast's Hospital Services Limited, Butler Health Services and the global Project ECHO are among Zoom for Healthcare's current customers.