HeartLab raises $2M to bring AI heart software to US

New Zealand startup HeartLab has bagged NZ$3.5 million ($2.4 million) from a funding round led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Founders Fund.

The company seeks to deploy its fresh funds to further penetrate the $1.5 billion AI tools market in the US with its AI-powered heart scanning and reporting platform called Pulse. It also plans to expand its talent pool with 10 more staff over the next six months.

The Pulse platform sorts and analyses ultrasound images of the heart. It also automates repetitive measurement tasks and generates patient reports. Presently, the AI system is being trialled at four sites in New Zealand. 

The startup expects to receive US FDA approval for its heart scanning platform in the first quarter of 2022. 

“We set out to design what cardiology looks like in the future and the response from early trials shows this future is needed right now,” HeartLab Founder Will Hewitt said in a statement.

“Feedback from cardiologists has been super positive – they love how Pulse goes beyond analysing heart data and fits in with their workflow, so they can complete their interpretation of the patient’s heart health via the reporting tool,” he added.

UK telehealth firm Doctor Care Anywhere buys Australia-based GP2U Telehealth

UK-based Doctor Care Anywhere, which made a public debut in Australia last December, is now entering the Australian telehealth market upon acquiring local telehealth service provider GP2U Telehealth for A$11 million ($8 million). 

With the acquisition, the ASX-listed company said it plans to focus on the growing mental health burden in the country’s rural and remote areas. Citing government data, mental health issues affect about a half of Australian adults with an estimated cost to the economy of up to A$220 billion annually. 

GP2U’s business is 78% online mental health service under the Psych2U brand. In the year ended June, the service provider made 35,000 mental health consultations, a 51% jump year-on-year. 

Doctor Care Anywhere CEO Dr Bayju Thakar said its acquisition will “give GP2U the support it needs to make a real difference in helping patients, particularly those in rural and remote regions, access high-quality virtual GP care and, in particular, support existing GP practices in the provision of tele-mental health.” 

Also through Doctor Care Anywhere’s investment, it can grow the number of GP2U clinicians which currently comprise 10 GPs, 28 psychiatrists and 22 psychologists. 

Meanwhile, there is also a potential technology integration of GP2U’s platform with Doctor Care Anywhere’s system.

Commenting on the acquisition, GP2U Telehealth General Manager Sarah Richardson said: “I am excited to join the Doctor Care Anywhere family. Their experience in delivering high-quality digital health services and the opportunity for technology synergies between our companies will help us to achieve our growth plans, meet the current high demand for services and allow more patients to benefit from high-quality healthcare, wherever and whenever they need it most.”

Online pharmacy startup Medigo snaps up $1M investment

Medigo, an online pharmacy in Vietnam, has secured a $1 million investment from venture capital firm Touchstone Partners.

According to a news report, this latest investment will be deployed to expand the startup’s offerings to include telemedicine and other healthcare services. 

Launched in 2019, the startup has a mobile app where customers can order medicines for delivery. It offers round-the-clock service, along with pharmacist consultation. Medigo serves around 200,000 users and now partners with over 200 medical centres across the country.

India clears incision-less neurosurgery platform by Israel-based Insightec for market release

Insightec, an Israel-based medical device company, has received market approval from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization of India’s Ministry of Health for its incision-less neurosurgery platform.

Based on a media statement, the Exablate 4000 (Exablate Neuro) platform uses MR-guided focused ultrasound to surgically remove a small target deep within the brain without incisions. The device is used to treat patients with essential tremor, tremor dominant Parkinson’s Disease and neuropathic pain. 

Used in a single session in an MRI suite, the Exablate platform provides essential tremor patients with “immediate” tremor relief with “minimal” side effects. Essential tremor is a neurological condition that causes uncontrollable shaking. Insightec says over 80 medical centres worldwide are treating the disease with Exablate Neuro.

“This technology offers appropriate patients immediate tremor control with a less invasive procedure that requires no incisions or anaesthesia with minimal complications,” Paresh Doshi, director of Neurosurgery at Jaslok Hospital and president of the Neuromodulation Society of India, was quoted as saying.

Zhongchao launches online care centre for haematological tumour patients

Chinese healthcare services firm Zhongchao through its subsidiary Shanghai Zhongxin Medical Technology has started offering digital care services for haematological tumour patients. 

Zhongxin’s Haematological Tumor Patient Care Centre is a disease management platform that provides education and expert lectures; periodic health and quality-of-life assessments; and reminders for medication and visits. Patients can also seek follow-up consultations and store their files through the online platform. 

The online care centre also delivers drug assistance, pathological examination, residual lesion examination and genetic testing for qualified patients. 

As of August, the digital platform has served around 10,000 patients with common and rare haematological tumours. Over 3,000 physicians have provided digital consults through the system, where they can also view their patients’ records, adverse reactions, visits and test results. 

Cases of haematologic tumours in China is seen rising to 222,000 over the next three years and to 247,000 by the end of the decade, based on estimates by Zhong Jin Qi Xin International Consulting.

Doctors Without Borders puts up 24/7 telemedicine helpline for COVID-19 patients in India

Global independent medical humanitarian group Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders has launched a telemedicine helpline in India to provide round the clock free medical consultation for COVID-19 patients. 

Aside from teleconsultations, volunteer doctors can issue digital prescriptions, give information about infection prevention measures and ensure patients’ follow-ups. The MSF service also links callers to psychological support when needed.

“Adequate healthcare services aren’t available in all parts of the country, which means many people are excluded, particularly during surges of the pandemic where the health inequities that are already present in India are manifold increased. We believe everyone should have access to medical care and the helpline will strive to provide equitable, affordable and accessible COVID-19 related consultation to those who need it most,” said Dr Prince Mathew, MSF’s regional head of Mission in Asia.

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By seohan