Revolutionary wearable for bladder monitoring

Laura Diez

Startup Stories

In an exclusive interview with Jannick Lockl, CEO of inContAlert, we gain an insight into the innovative world of their wearable for measuring bladder filling levels in incontinence patients. Jannick explains how the system works: A sensor, attached to the belt above the pubic bone, continuously collects data about the bladder. Deep learning algorithms analyse this data and the determined bladder filling level is displayed on an app, while the app issues warnings if the filling level is too high.

How would you explain your solution in three sentences to a professional colleague from the health sector?

"inContAlert is a wearable to measure the bladder filling level of incontinence patients. The sensor is attached to the body with a belt above the pubic bone and continuously records data of the bladder. This data is analysed by deep learning algorithms and the resulting bladder filling level is displayed on an app, which also warns of excessively high bladder filling levels."

What problem motivated you to start the company?

"Our aim is that patients with neurogenic bladder dysfunction regain control over their own bladder again. Until now, conventional aids such as diapers and pads have been used to protect against/ for uncontrolled urine loss. With inContAlert, we want to start one step earlier and warn patients before it is too late. In addition, patients often have regular catheterisation or even permanent catheters that do not meet their actual needs. Both excessive catheterisation and the risk of bladder overdistension can cause health damages that can be reduced with inContAlert. "

How do you convince a pharmaceutical company, a health insurance company or another potential client to set up a pilot project with you?

"The uniqueness of the system lies in the use of non-invasive methods to measure the bladder filling level, making the technology very compact and unobtrusive to wear. An alternative technology to measure the filling level of the bladder would be ultrasound. The problem with this is that a gel has to be applied before use and there are regular problems with accuracy. In contrast, inContAlert's technology allows for continuous (24/7) and convenient monitoring of the bladder during patients' daily lives. This eliminates the need for aids such as catheters or diapers and reduces the risk of subsequent health damages. This significantly improves the quality of patient´s life. Emptying processes can be better planned, particularly in hospitals and care facilities, reducing the burden on specialist staff and enabling resources to be used more efficiently. "

Who are your current customer (groups) and who do you want your potential customers to be?

"Our first step is the certification of our product as a Class 1 medical device and approval for the European market at the beginning of 2024, followed by the soft launch in Germany. We plan to partially enter the market in other European countries (primarily the UK, France and Scandinavia) before entering the US market. Our customer group is initially limited to patients with neurogenic bladder dysfunction. They can use our product at home. We also want to sell our product in hospitals and care facilities. We are aiming for reimbursement by health insurance companies. "

Where do you see yourself in 3 years and how can 5-HT support you?

"In three years, we want to be established on the German/European market and make everyday life easier for as many patients as possible, reduce subsequent diseases and make the healthcare system a little more efficient with inContAlert. 5-HT can help us to build up a network that will help us to further expand our company. This includes, in particular, contacts with health insurance companies with whom we need to negotiate the reimbursement of our product. "

You participated in the Insuring Digital Health in October 2023. What is your impression of the event and what have you gained (so far) from participating?

"Insuring Digital Health has given us the opportunity to make contact with many health insurance companies for the first time and get to know our contact partners personally. We are now looking to establish a long-term dialogue and, of course, act as a partner in the best possible way when entering the market and offer our innovative solution to their policyholders. The event itself was excellently organised, although it is admittedly a challenge to talk to so many health insurers in such a short space of time and to develop ideas for a possible cooperation."

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