We talked to Eldad Shemesh of CardiacSense about wearable technologies for non-invasive, long-term and comfortable continuous vital signs monitoring.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Eldad Shemesh: We are doing very well, keeping our 2 meters and wearing our masks. We do whatever it takes to prevent the pandemic from spreading.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded CardiacSense.
Eldad Shemesh: I served in the IDF as Head of the Space Program, Honorary discharge as Lieutenant Colonel. Following my discharge in 2008, I was appointed as Chief of Engineering at Spacecom, the Israeli AMOS satellite. In 2009 I co-founded CardiacSense with my two friends Avi Shitrit and Beni Batash. The idea was to make a device for swimmers – something that will help them keep count of the distance they cover. Once we covered that feature, we added heartrate monitoring, and we kept developing the product and adding features until in 2015, we pivoted from sports gear to a medical device.
How does CardiacSense innovate?
Eldad Shemesh: We make our own tech. For our groundbreaking medical watch, we don’t buy sensors, algorithms, or any other technology from suppliers, but we insist on creating our own. This took us some effort and resources, and I’m happy to say it allowed us to put together a product with unmatched quality and accuracy, a crucial feature when monitoring a patient’s health. We know of many watches that claim to be medical and precise, but unfortunately, most of these declarations are not backed by scientific research, trials, or data. We have conducted widespread clinical trials to test the medical-grade accuracy of our watch in heart rate monitoring and A-Fib detection, based on our unique technology to monitor every heartbeat and not only take the minute average. We came out with a 99% accuracy, a level unmatched by any wearable product today.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Eldad Shemesh: COVID has slowed us down a bit on production due to some of our production facilities being shut down for a while, and we had to delay some of our clinical trials. So these activities took a bit longer than what we’ve expected, but with some hard teamwork, we have been able to catch up, so we are now back on track.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Eldad Shemesh: I think the most important thing to take away from any crisis is prioritizing and focus. In this case, with COVID delaying progress and generating new priorities, we knew we must keep our original plan regarding the features to hit the market first, which market segments are more attractive for our debut version. It comes down to a sort of a pipeline – those features that are closer to finalization are the ones we concentrated our efforts on, and those requiring more development work we left for later. When you are in the crisis vortex, you must learn to let go, reduce your perfectionism level, and release a version without delaying too much. Otherwise, the crisis will pull you in and crush you.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Eldad Shemesh: We know that the CardiacSense Medical watch is about to change the healthcare world, so we have a strong conviction in it, and this is the most crucial thing for startup teams. The CardiacSense medical watch is about to become the golden standard for health monitoring in the post-COVID era after the world has come to realize how much remote medicine is needed – both to enable touchless medical care and to lighten the burden on the health systems and medical centers.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Eldad Shemesh: As of today, there’s not one wearable device with the broad capabilities included in the CardiacSense medical watch, such as ambulatory measurement at hospital monitoring accuracy level for ECG, SpO2, Blood pressure, Heartrate, core temperature, and arrythmia detection while the patient goes about their day, not having to do anything in particular to monitor their health. We have been able to transform heavy, large, and pricey medical devices into tiny versions while keeping their original medical-grade accuracy, so we can now monitor patients without them having to be confined to a hospital, a clinic, or their home, and all this happens while they are on the move. This is especially crucial for people with chronic heart failure and lung diseases, requiring constant and seamless monitoring.