Stand still, smile and shoot – smile optional. This is essentially all health insurance members, patients, and customers of other companies using technology newly extended by Binah.ai will need to do to get a blood pressure reading.
The Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel-based company, which also has offices in Japan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States, has brought non-contact blood pressure measurement technology to market for businesses. . Smartphones have been used to measure blood pressure for several years, but they require additional equipment such as a pressure cuff connected via Bluetooth, for example.
This capability expands its health data platform and can be used with most smartphones, tablets, or laptops. The technology analyzes light reflected from the bare skin of a person’s face, using an optical technique known as photoplethysmography (PPG). Advanced artificial intelligence and complex algorithms are used to process the light signal and return a reading without the need for a finger clip, cuff, or other hardware.
Like the majority of low-tech home blood pressure cuffs, Binah.ai’s technology is not yet FDA approved. David Maman, co-founder and CEO of Binah.ai, said the company is taking preliminary steps to gain regulatory approval, but he doesn’t expect it to be approved this year.
According to the device’s own tests on 260 patients, the technology is accurate to within 11 standard deviations (so it could be 11 points higher or lower) of systolic blood pressure – the highest number – and less than eight standard deviations for diastolic blood. pressure, says mom. These tests have been carried out at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Israel’s largest hospital, and several other clinical facilities over the past six months. The results have not yet been published.
The accuracy of the blood pressure monitor must be less than 12 standard deviations for systolic and / or eight standard deviations for diastolic to be considered accurate enough for home use, based on a universal device validation standard. . However, Binah.ai is working intensely on improving the technology so that the readings are within six standard deviations, or accurate enough for clinical use, and Mom is optimistic that will happen soon. “We’ll get there in the next six months,” he said.
The company claims that its AI-powered non-contact BP measurement technology is the first of its kind, extending its non-contact video measurement of other vital elements ranging from heart rate and heart rate variability to respiratory rate and oxygen saturation. Ultimately, despite the massive investment in time and money required, Mom says the company is aiming to get medical approval for all of its vital signs technology.
Some research has questioned the usefulness of home blood pressure monitoring devices, such as a 2017 study published in the American Journal of Hypertension. But even in the past five years, there have been improvements. A 2020 UK study concluded that doctors could be confident in patients’ home blood pressure monitors if they were validated and were under the age of five. And it has become increasingly common for physicians to recommend that patients not only have their BP checked regularly in a clinical setting, but also at home, especially if they have high blood pressure or are at risk for hypertension.
Hardware-free, contactless technology promises to make it easier for people to get a blood pressure reading and have it delivered to a healthcare provider. But the market for ease of use isn’t limited to contactless PPG technology. Wearable devices, from the Apple Watch to NASA’s medical-grade technology like Ejenta’s, allow consumers to get instant clinical information at home that they can share with their doctors.
When it comes to non-contact blood pressure reading, as with Binah.ai’s technology, improvements are still being made – and needed to achieve clinical accuracy, not to mention the consumer-level accuracy that is demonstrated by a. published study. Right now, as researchers point out in a 2021 review, there isn’t enough published research to properly assess non-contact blood pressure monitors.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for it.
Binah.ai has already deployed BP contactless monitoring to complement its health data platform to certain existing customers, including the large insurers Momentum in South Africa and Generale in Europe. Mom says they’ve also provided it to several organizations in the United States, including two in telehealth, one in corporate wellness, and a laptop maker. He declined to name the companies.
For customers who purchase technology from Binah.ai, the cost depends on the scale. That’s about $ 30 per year per user for a company that deploys it to 10,000 people, says Mom, and $ 12 per year per user for an organization that deploys it to 100,000 people. He added that the company provided a quote to one of the biggest insurance players in Asia, which he declined to name, of about $ 1 per user per year for 50 million users.
Considering the market for home vital signs monitoring, there is considerable pressure to improve this technology. Binah.ai strives to explain how it maintains the privacy of customer data, while maximizing usability – the company says its PPG technology works for all skin tones – and improving accuracy. “In the end, it all comes down to three things,” Mom says, “precision – the most important; friendliness; and privacy.
Photo: yongyuan, Getty Images