If someone were to say, even just a decade ago, that in 2022 the best healthcare would be delivered to patients remotely at home, it would have been incredibly hard to believe. Yet, this is true! The amazing advances in technology have proved a gamechanger for the health industry, most evident from the increasing popularity of remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices, particularly when it comes to the subject of monitoring heart disease. A relatively recent RPM solution whose overall efficacy has ensured its popularity with the best healthcare practitioners around the country, is the Avida ring that monitors patients of heart disease remotely. Helmed by the brand Omnyk, this revolutionary ring style device is being hailed by medical practitioners across the board. Yogendra Bobra, co-founder and CEO of Omnyk, joins the Sunday Guardian to speak about this unique RPM solution. Excerpts from an edited interview:
Q. Why do we need RPM devices to track patients’ heart health?
A. These days, the rate of cardiac arrests, even among young and fit people, is increasing at an alarming rate due to increased levels of stress, and /or poor lifestyle choices. Data collected by the American Heart Association in 2018 indicated that Cardiovascular Diseases or heart diseases cause deaths every 36 seconds in the US. The number back then, therefore amounted to 2,380 deaths from heart disease every day. In 2022, with the exigencies of the pandemic and increasing neglect of other serious health issues, this number is only set to increase further.
To keep patients of heart disease safe in their homes by reducing their dependence on an already overburdened healthcare system, doctors, and professionals in this space, have increasingly been prescribing the use of personal heart monitoring devices. This is in keeping with the overarching healthcare strategy of improving access to care at home, deal with problems that frequently occur in the management of serious diseases and push forward innovations in treatment for higher quality and more advanced care at reduced costs.
A report issued in 2018 by the eHealth Initiative of Washington DC, analyses the efficacy of remote patient monitoring devices, in terms of their return on investment. As healthcare providers need to constantly manage a larger number of patients within the same amount of limited resources, the report concludes that the most effective way to do this is by using technology to improve efficiency and output. This is why we need RPM devices.
Q. What about remote heart monitoring. Is it really necessary for patients?
A. Personal heart monitoring devices have an interesting history. Polar Electric is credited with inventing the first ever wireless EKG heart rate monitor in 1977. This device was primarily a training aid for the Finnish National Cross Country Ski team. With the rising popularity of intensity training in sports, wireless personal heart monitors began to be used extensively by athletes. The retail of these devices began earnestly in 1983, and early models consisted of a monitoring box with a set of electrode leads which could be attached to the chest.
We have come a long way since the 1980s, with the latest personal heart monitoring devices being as small as a ring, yet providing much more accurate information, which is instantaneously transmitted to the concerned healthcare professional.
The Omnytraq solution launched by Omnyk, of which the device Avida is an essential part, is a comprehensive remote patient management solution which focusses on patients of heart disease. This slick and state-of-the-art ring device is prescribed and provided by healthcare professionals in hospitals, independent clinics, and senior care centres, as a service to patients.
Q. When did you launch the OmnyTraq device and why?
A. We launched our company Omnyk in May 2015, with the vision to save lives through early identification of potential future heart disease related risk. To further our goal, we have been working hard to facilitate this vision. Therefore, we launched OmnyTraq in November 2021.
Currently we do not offer any other medical products under our brand name Omnyk, but we are working on next-gen products for launch in the future!
Q. Please explain how the OmnyTraq solution works?
A. As I described above, the device is one piece of the ‘Remote Patient Management’ solution that health practitioners prescribe to patients of heart disease. Our device collects key body vitals along with other features. For the entire solution to work, remote monitoring must be done by incorporating all three pieces of the solution – this is the actual device, a mobile application and a cloud platform. They work in tandem to show best results. The device itself provides a snap-shot of the patient’s key body vitals in ‘real-time’, which is then reflected in the app and is saved on the cloud platform. The data on the cloud then enables remote monitoring by delivering alerts and reports.
However, it is important for patients to note that this three-step solution can only be accessed on the recommendation of a healthcare professional.
Q. Why do you think Indian brands haven’t entered this domain before? Or have they tried and failed to see results?
A. To the best of our knowledge no brand, Indian or foreign, has a complete solution for 24/7 continuous monitoring, along with real-time alerts and reports, based on in-depth analysis, for the cardiac health of a patient.
There are other remote monitoring devices such as the Apple Watch, the Oura Ring, Zio and Kardia Mobile, yet they do not provide the kind of holistic solution we promise. Our Avida ring measures body vitals including the heart rate, peripheral blood oxygen levels, inter beat intervals, missing heart beats, and tracks physical movements. All of this is done real time, and multiple users can be tracked at the same time making it easier for the healthcare professional. Purely speaking of the outward aspects of the device, Avida is water resistant, has a battery life of three days and because it is a lightweight and sleek ring, it is also very comfortable to wear.
Q. What is the story of your company’s name?
A. ‘Omnyk’ is a variant of the word ‘Omni’ which means ‘in all ways or places’. Through our solution, the patient’s health status can be checked irrespective of where the patient is or what he / she is doing. The recommended duration for keeping the device on is 18 to 24 hours in a day.
Q. What are you working on next?
A. At Omnyk, we have plans to add capabilities for capturing other body vitals such as temperature, blood pressure, ECG (on demand and / or continuous capture).
We also hope to address the needs of additional diseases such as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), Asthma, Anaemia, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and others, and are working towards that goal.
The interviewer pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog www.nooranandchawla.com. She can be reached on [email protected]