Most adhesive bandages help heal minor cuts and scrapes, but medical-tech company Corventis is working to make one that could save your life. The company's first product, PiiX, is a wireless, water-resistant sensor that sticks to a patient's chest like a large Band-Aid and monitors heart rate, respiratory rate, bodily fluids, and overall activity. It transmits the data to a central server for analysis and review by doctor and patient.
The basic technology platform has already received FDA approval, but Corventis envisions the PiiX as much more than a simple monitoring system. The company is working to generate algorithms that can predict, for instance, when a patient is on the verge of heart failure by comparing trends in his or her vital signs to other cases. "When you apply it in the real world, the algorithm begins to learn," says CEO Ed Manicka. "Not from 5 or 10 patients, but from hundreds of thousands of patients, as the system is applied across the planet."
Corventis is running large clinical trials now and plans to file for FDA approval on its first predictive algorithms in 2010. Manicka says the technology could eventually be used to help predict strokes and diagnose conditions such as sleep apnea. "What Corventis is trying to do is fundamentally create a new type of machine intelligence that serves to manage the patient's overall health," he says. "It moves from the reactive approach of practicing medicine that is prevalent today to something that is much more proactive, preventative, and individualized."
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A version of this article appeared in the December/January 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.