Hillel’s technical corner: pregnancy care well done


If you’re a parent or have been an active partner throughout a pregnancy journey, the thought that technology should play a bigger role must have crossed your mind. Just think about the pregnancy follow-up in particular.

For starters, how much has the devices we use to detect things like fetal movement, fetal heart rate, and maternal heart rate really changed in recent years? Not to be too graphic here, but think of the pregnant woman who walks into the doctor’s office, undresses, gets that very nasty gel spread all around her stomach, and then uses a device developed decades ago to research a heartbeat.

I’m thankful for what we have, but it doesn’t sound like a 21st century mother-centered solution.

Moreover, in these difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic, how are expectant mothers managing the need for telemedicine and telemonitoring? Everyone tries to reduce exposure to the virus, but pregnant women need to go to the doctor regularly to be monitored. And I didn’t even mention high risk pregnancies and the need for more effective, real-time solutions.

Nuvo, a Tel Aviv-based start-up, has developed an innovative monitoring platform that women can administer at home as prescribed by their doctor. His name is Invu. As of March 2020, Invu has been approved by the FDA for its remote pregnancy monitoring system.

So how did it all start? Oren Oz, founder of Nuvo, explains: “Nuvo was born in 2014 at the same time as my third child. My wife was 37 weeks pregnant and became at high risk. We have been under a lot of stress due to outdated pregnancy monitoring and medical practice. Luckily our baby was born healthy, but the experience left me with a burning desire to give parents a fuller sense of their journey and to reinvent pregnancy monitoring from scratch.

“At that point, I suddenly realized that there had to be a better way to help women get rid of all the worries. This is why Nuvo is now driven by this vision, using the best technology available.

The company is well capitalized and has raised tens of millions of dollars from global investors, and is currently in the process of raising additional funds for its launch in the US market. With recent FDA clearance, Nuvo aims to completely disrupt the way pregnancy monitoring and treatment works.

To be clear, the company’s platform works in conjunction with the patient’s doctor and is not intended to replace the doctor. The technology allows expectant mothers to connect with their physicians throughout pregnancy and allows physicians to “observe changes, assess trends, and ultimately make more informed decisions about their health. intervention which will have an impact not only on a patient, but will also have implications for the health of the population ”.

So here’s how it all works. The Invu platform consists of a portable sensor strip for data capture which is self-administered by the mother, and is coupled with a powerful cloud computing environment. The platform is used to perform fetal and maternal heart monitoring, and future iterations will also include the ability to monitor uterine activity.

After the data is analyzed, meaningful but non-actionable data is extracted and transmitted to the mother via a mobile app, and detailed diagnostic data is sent to her care providers via a web portal.

Along with standard pregnancies, Invu will also dramatically change the journey for women who fall into high-risk categories by providing more consistent, high-quality follow-up. It will also allow women in remote areas to have better access to care by offering health care providers a new telehealth approach to use without leaving home.

THE COMPANY explains, “As it stands, the United States lags behind other wealthy countries in terms of maternal / infant mortality. There is also a huge problem of care, as obstetricians are dwindling across the country due to the increased risks and costs of malpractice. [there is currently a shortage of about 8,000 obstetricians in the US].

“There are currently about four million births in the United States each year, and a significant number of mothers giving birth will fall into a rural or high-risk category. In the United States in 2014, 50,000 women were affected by high-risk pregnancies.

Nuvo has had a busy year. In addition to receiving FDA clearance, the company also announced a partnership with Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center to develop an innovative platform for managing the pregnant population.

Under the agreement, Nuvo was granted access to Hadassah’s extensive database of medical records, including prenatal and postnatal clinical information for more than 50,000 subjects. Nuvo and Hadassah will initially collaborate on the development of proprietary clinical decision support systems that can be integrated with the INVU platform, with the potential to provide relevant alerts and analysis, improve patient outcomes. and safely reduce health care costs.

Researchers from Hadassah, a partner of Nuvo, published the results of a retrospective study evaluating the feasibility of a personalized real-time machine learning model to accurately predict the clinical decision whether or not to perform a Caesarean section, and found the model to be accurate.

Another very important point to emphasize is that the INVU platform is only available on prescription from a healthcare provider who will initiate and schedule monitoring sessions remotely.

The key demographic of the business are women with high risk pregnancies. About 25% of all pregnancies fall into the high risk category, and about 8% of these end up having complications. These women need a higher standard of care with more consistent checkups, and Nuvo aims to provide this through convenient, mother-centered service.

The company’s mission is that all pregnant women, but especially those at high risk, have access to the highest quality care, whether they are at work or at home. He hopes to eliminate limiting factors such as geographic boundaries or lack of access to a local obstetrician.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17.2 women die as a direct result of their pregnancy per 100,000 live births in the United States; out of every 1,000 births, six babies die either in the second half of pregnancy or up to four weeks after their appearance in the world.

Pregnancy can be dangerous for both mother and child. From 1987 to 2015, the number of pregnancy-related deaths in the United States more than doubled, from 7.2 deaths per 100,000 live births to 17.2 deaths per 100,000, according to the CDC.

In some cases, the ability to regularly monitor the baby in the womb as well as the vital signs of the mother is essential for the survival of both mother and child. However, keeping pregnant women hospitalized or rushing them to the doctor’s office for frequent check-ups is not always realistic or sustainable.

Nuvo combines cutting-edge hardware, advanced artificial intelligence technology, and revolutionary data analysis to bring pregnancy care into our century. I think we can all agree that this company’s mission, if accomplished, is one that will literally translate into a better, more sustainable future for the next generation.

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