The accelerated switch to contactless during the pandemic has resulted in faster, easier and seamless services. According to Thomas Grellner, CEO of the German medtech startup Smedo, this innovation can also flow into the healthcare sector to simplify processes and save lives.

In an interview with PYMNTS, Grellner said that patients in intensive care units are currently monitored by multiple complex electrocardiogram (ECG) machines used to record a patient’s heart activity. While effective, these tools are expensive and can cost anywhere from $1,800 to $2,500 per device.

Related: Wellster CEO: Without standards, Germany’s digital transformation in healthcare will stall

Grellner said that replacing these devices with an affordable, contactless solution like the Smedo device would not only eliminate the high cost, but also free up time for medical staff, who are often overworked and too thinly distributed.

And it’s not just about minimizing costs and alleviating staffing problems – soon the device will enable the early detection of fatal cardiac events such as heart attacks, saving countless lives in the process.

“If we see that the signal isn’t taking any signs because the patient’s heart isn’t beating or he’s not breathing, we can immediately raise an alarm and send this information directly to the medical team,” explained Grellner.

See also: Germany’s Wellster presents an integrated health platform for women

With the ability to record information from a distance of up to seven meters, the device can continuously record the patient’s vital signs, including heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and temperature, making the data from not just one, but from several people in a room real measure -time.

By using a high-frequency band, the wave-emitting device is neither harmful nor does it pose a health risk to patients or hospital staff who can later analyze the stored data.

Last month, the Berlin-based startup announced the closing of a nearly €2 million ($2.1 million) seed funding round earmarked for the development and launch of the contactless device in hospitals and nursing homes across the country.

Certification, partnerships

According to Grellner, compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a top priority for the company, which has taken care to design the device with consumer privacy and data protection in mind.

For example, once the device has identified a patient, it only collects anonymized data from that individual, and the individual’s unique identifier ensures compliance with GDPR regulations, limiting the likelihood of the data being exposed, Grellner explained.

Elsewhere, he explained that as with any new medical device that enters the market, building strong partnerships with hospitals and insurance companies, both domestic and international, is key to business growth.

“[Insurance companies] are interested in low fees that match the costs in the healthcare market and that’s where we come in to deliver a really interesting product for this market,” added Grellner.

While there is a long certification process – around 18 months – in the highly regulated German healthcare market that they still have to complete, he noted that this gives them time to prepare for their launch in the US market, where the Food and Drug Administration ( FDA) does not require any additional certification in addition to the EU certifications.

“Our goal is to get certification in the most regulated companies [EU] market it and distribute it from there to all other markets without any problems,” said Grellner. “Our goal is not only to develop the product for the European market, but to compete in markets around the world.”

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