A smart patch for heart failure patients

Laura Diez

Startup Stories

The medical innovation of tomorrow is in the hands of companies like Pheal, which is taking a decisive step towards patient-centred care with a smart patch for heart failure patients. This interview offers insights into the motivation for founding the company, the persuasive power for potential customers and the visions for the coming years. With a clear focus on improving the quality of life of heart failure patients, the company strives to put control of their own health back into the hands of patients through advanced self-monitoring.

How would you explain your solution to a healthcare professional in three sentences?

We are developing a smart patch for heart failure patients that automatically displays critical health trends in real time. Our software recognises an emerging cardiac decompensation before it reaches a critical status. This leads to significant cost savings for the healthcare system - primarily due to a significantly reduced hospitalisation rate - and enables patients to live longer with a significantly improved quality of life.

Pheal Product

What problem motivated you to found the company?

Despite technical progress and digitalisation, the medical sector is lagging far behind in terms of innovation. Standard procedures such as laboratory diagnostics are highly inefficient, which leads to ever-increasing healthcare costs and workloads for medical staff. At the same time, the healthcare system is facing major challenges: Shortage of skilled labour, rising costs, demographic change. To meet this challenge in the future, we need to rethink the way we approach diagnosis and treatment. We believe that we can achieve this by giving patients back control over their health through self-monitoring.

How do you convince a pharmaceutical company, health insurer, insurance company or other potential customer to set up a pilot project with you?

In the long term, our solution is intended to replace the expensive and inefficient method of laboratory diagnostics. After acute, critical health events, the standard of care usually centres on blood tests, which serve as the basis for further treatment both in acute situations and in subsequent routine care. 70% of clinical decisions are made based on these laboratory diagnostics from a single data point indicating where the patient's blood values were hours or days ago. In order to recognise trends, which are essential for the treatment of dynamically developing diseases, these tests would have to be repeated several times. This is not feasible in standard care.
Using heart failure as an example, this means that the patient is completely blind to their laboratory values between two laboratory diagnostic tests; monitoring is carried out using indirect parameters such as the patient's weight in order to use water retention as an indicator of emerging cardiac decompensation. As a result, by the time the patient visits their doctor for an examination, their condition may have already deteriorated significantly. Continuous monitoring of key blood parameters can effectively prevent this scenario - moving away from the treatment of acute conditions towards proactive prevention.

Who are your current customers (groups) and who are the potential customers?

The products we have developed are initially aimed at customers (B2B) in the DACH region. Subsequently, our products will be distributed by these customers in DACH, the USA, Asia and worldwide (B2B2B).
The end users are heart failure risk patients in NYHA classes II and III, who are particularly affected by the risk of cardiac decompensation but also benefit most from continuous monitoring. In order to be successful in this patient group, we have to convince the treating physicians - in this case the cardiologists - of our concept. This has been the focus of our product development right from the start.

Where do you see yourselves in 3 years' time and how can 5-HT support you?

After successful CE certification, our first products will appear on the market. These form the preliminary stage of our heart failure smart patch: point-of-care tests (for practice and home use) for simple and cost-effective self-tracking of essential blood values, as well as a first smart patch solution for determining dehydration. Above all, 5-HT can help us to network with experienced partners who are important to us in order to achieve this goal quickly and efficiently.

Pheal team

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