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Craig Cooper, CEO and co-founder of health performance company CONNEQT shares thoughts on Americans taking charge of their health from home
As the healthcare sector has had to quickly evolve amongst the pandemic, there have been many innovations to increase at-home heart healthcare. With cardiovascular diseases seeing an uptick worldwide and an estimated 17.9 million people succumbing to heart diseases in 2019, digital health platforms have proven to be a useful tool for understanding and managing at-home care for regularly seen cardiovascular disease patients.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term for conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels. It’s usually associated with a build-up of fatty deposits inside the arteries (atherosclerosis) and an increased risk of blood clots. In America today, CVD is the main cause of death and disability responsible for over 20% of deaths, but it can often largely be prevented by leading a healthy and active lifestyle.
At CONNEQT, a subsidiary of CardieX that specializes in vascular and arterial health, our patented, FDA-cleared SphygmoCor central blood pressure technology aims to provide users with high quality device & digital solutions for at-home CVD care. Staying heart-healthy is important and personal to me after undergoing heart surgery at the age of 18. As a result of this major surgery at such a pivotal point in my life, I became truly passionate and invested in finding the best solutions to allow me to thrive and continue to perform at my peak.
The COVID-19 Pandemic altered the way we view our overall health, make decisions regarding treatment, and manage symptoms. At CONNEQT, we are in the process of developing tools to give outstanding heart and vascular care to patients in the comfort of their homes and while out and about undertaking their day-to-day activities. For those that previously had to see their physicians often to gain insight into their vitals, this is a crucial turning point to effectively monitor your heart health regularly and non-invasively.
To deliver those tools mentioned above, we should first understand the trends of the rising at-home care industry:
In the past, society has had a depiction of what “healthy” should look like – sexually, emotionally, physically and mentally. Now, the next generation is taking a stand and defining what healthy means to them, which can be unique to someone’s individual circumstances. Younger people tend to value and prioritize sleep and mental health, while fueling their bodies with nutritious and healthy foods and taking up some form of regular exercise. These habits not only lead to an overall healthier lifestyle, but directly affect one’s heart health over time. We tend to focus on our outward appearance and how we are aging physically in areas other people can easily see. We don’t talk about the important parts of our body that remain unseen that are also aging, such as our hearts – the true driver of your overall health. For example, Arterial Age™ is an indication of cardiovascular health relative to chronological age based on algorithms that Cardiologists use to assess heart health. Over time, hypertension causes arteries to stiffen. The stiffening increases pressure reflection back to the heart, which reduces the difference between heart and peripheral artery pressure. The lower the difference between the two, the “stiffer” the artery and the “older” the Arterial Age™ of the subject. It sounds complicated but we make measurement of Arterial Age™ simple using our devices so that everyone can do it from home.
Medical device technology for cardiovascular health has made leaps and bounds in a short amount of time. Not too long ago, patients could only track their heart health when visiting their doctors, which oftentimes would not be on a regular basis. Those windows in-between appointments left room for confusion and fear when the patient thought something “felt off.” Now with the popularity of wearables and at-home health devices at their fingertips, patients can track a range of biometrics and stay on top of their health without the need of a doctor’s appointment. As the center of your cardiovascular system, your heart is vitally responsible for just about everything that gives your body life, from the transportation of oxygen to your kidneys, brain, and other major organs, to the success of your immune system. CONNEQT’s patented SphygmoCor technology allows for a non-invasive read of a patient’s central blood pressure by recording pressure waveform at the heart and other major organs. Our two upcoming, consumer-facing products, PULSE and the CONNEQT Band, are targeted toward health-conscious consumers with underlying vascular health conditions and will be disruptive new entrants into the landscape of wearable and home health devices.
A well-accepted feature of new devices and wearables is the personalized key insights and other data captured from the user. This data can be completely tailored based on behavior and activity, and devices can even make suggestions on what to do to adjust to a healthier lifestyle and improve heart-health.
CONNEQT is looking to revolutionize this part of the industry by using advanced algorithms and our patented “dual sensor technology” to aggregate cardiovascular data into a comprehensive, personal heart and arterial health score for easy, frequent review. The key difference CONNEQT will be offering over other brands on the market is that we use algorithms and sensors to track central blood pressure waveforms at the heart, offering a much more accurate reading directly from the source of arterial pressure. Our PULSE device will also be the world’s first “dual blood pressure monitor” and use algorithms to quantify an individual’s unique cardiovascular risk profile, offering personalized data, insights, and trends that can suggest lifestyle and other meaningful health interventions. Devices that currently track heart health can be misleading to users who don’t understand how to properly interpret the data. We have over 20 years of experience in providing advanced heart algorithms to companies like Bayer, GSK, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer in their clinical trials, as well as to the world’s leading research and medical institutions. It’s that same level of sophisticated data capture, health parameters, and insights we are now offering to patients and health-conscious consumers.
The American Heart Association says one in six heart attack patients return to the hospital within 30 days of discharge. And about 75% of readmissions occur because of preventable medication errors or poor compliance with diet and other lifestyle changes, experts note. The importance of patient education is vital and can work to bring back individual’s health into their own hands after a major health event. Most patients want responsibility over their health and something as simple as tracking their daily blood pressure helps to give them a sense of control. Older people living alone often run into trouble powering blood pressure devices on or making sure they are reading correctly. There are also times when users simply don’t know what is considered an emergency. When a knowledgeable CONNEQT user sees something outside of the normal parameters when using the device, they can make the decision to contact their health care professional with the confidence that the data they are seeing is clinically relevant and medically correct.
CONNEQT hopes to continue the trend of telehealth capabilities with the rise of at-home care. The flexibility of being able to speak to a healthcare professional via phone or video conference has been an absolute game changer for communication between patients and their providers – especially during COVID-19. Telehealth has kept patients off the roads, out of the waiting rooms, and given people more control over their health than ever before.
Heart health is evolving and managing heart-health from home using Bluetooth-enabled cardiac devices and other innovative, non-invasive tech will ultimately be beneficial for patients and can be a beneficial complement to ongoing medical treatment and visits.
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Craig Cooper is a serial tech entrepreneur, venture capitalist, best-selling author, and CNBC business network TV host, Mr. Cooper was previously the co-founder of Boost Mobile (USA), the Managing Director and Head of Venture Capital at Saban Ventures, a founding Partner in the Softbank Capital Technology Fund, co-founder of NRG Asia–Pacific (Australia’s largest private electricity supplier), and a founding director of EBT Mobile – China’s largest private mobile phone retailer. He was also a Senior Associate at Australia’s largest national law firm where he acted for clients such as United Airlines, The Disney Corporation, and DHL International (where he was External General Counsel). Mr. Cooper has a Bachelor of Economics and a Bachelor of Laws (Honors) from the University of Sydney in Australia. Mr Cooper is also a Principal of C2 Ventures, CardieX’s largest shareholder, and the Group CEO of CardieX’s subsidiaries, ATCOR, and CONNEQT Health.