Israeli start-up tests speech analysis monitoring of coronavirus patients

"The coronavirus pandemic requires the efficient managing of the resources of the health system," Cordio CEO Tamir Tal told the "Post"

Health Ministry inspectors speak with a woman who is in self quarantine as a precaution against coronavirus spread in Hadera, Israel March 16, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/RONEN ZEVULUN)
Health Ministry inspectors speak with a woman who is in self quarantine as a precaution against coronavirus spread in Hadera, Israel March 16, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/RONEN ZEVULUN)
Israeli start-up Cordio Medical will begin a clinical trial at Haifa's Rambam Hospital next week to evaluate its speech pattern analysis technology for remotely monitoring coronavirus patients.
The HearO technology developed by the Or Yehuda-based start-up, initially designed to monitor and diagnose patients suffering from heart failure, is based on analyzing recordings of a patient's speech recorded via a mobile device. The system is now quickly being adapted for the needs of patients diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.
The system, successfully evaluated in clinical trials at 10 medical institutions in Israel, can accurately identify gradual fluid accumulation and warn of expected worsening heart failure, likely to lead to hospitalization. Cordio is currently seeking FDA approval to remotely monitor patients in the community.
Established by Prof. Chaim Lotan and Peregrine Ventures, Cordio is currently adapting its technology to the respiratory deterioration process associated with the coronavirus, characterized by bilateral pneumonia with edema in the lungs.
The system aims to use voice analysis to identify slight changes in lung fluids and the onset of inflammation before the patient feels it, and prior to formal diagnosis. It could be fully operational within two months, the company says.
"The coronavirus pandemic requires the efficient managing of the resources of the health system," Cordio CEO Tamir Tal told The Jerusalem Post.
Cordio Medical CEO Tamir Tal (Credit: Eyal Tueg)Cordio Medical CEO Tamir Tal (Credit: Eyal Tueg)
 
"The main issues are availability of hospital beds and medical staff infections," he said. "The use of a remote monitoring tool such as HearO in order to handle the thousands of patients at home will allow hospital beds to be reserved for severe cases and follow up for in-community patients, while avoiding physical contact between healthcare professionals and patients."
Ultimately, the technology aims to increase the efficiency of monitoring patients currently in isolation, whether at home, in hotels or other quarantine facilities. Current evaluations are primarily based on repeated nasopharyngeal swab tests, subjective health assessments and taking a patient's temperature.
"The main adjustment is that in COVID-19, the infection of the lungs is faster and may happen in a short period of time (14-30 days). As such Cordio’s HearO system is undergoing adjustment that will allow it to create patient baselines quicker and give alerts faster than in the case of heart failure patients (who may have suffered from the condition for years), Tal said.
Cordio hopes its technology will also be used to monitor the condition of patients who have recovered and returned home.
"The solution for remotely diagnosing the condition of COVID-19 patients is based on a proven technology that can be quickly adapted for the new pandemic," said Lotan.
"According to the statistical projections, within a few weeks we will reach the level of tens of thousands of diagnosed patients in Israel. If we succeed through the assistance of Rambam Hospital in proving the efficiency of the system, we will be able to establish a fully operational network within about two months."