Meet the ‘Waze’ of feeding tubes

Medical errors in hospitals were cited as the third-leading cause of death in the US in 2016, according to The BMJ.

Doron Besser (photo credit: Courtesy)
Doron Besser
(photo credit: Courtesy)
As the light on patient safety begins to shine brighter, one unique innovation might completely alter the face of enteral feeding protocols.
Not every imperfection in medicine can be ironed out and not every solution can be technologically implemented, but there are some medtech solutions materializing today that not only provide substantial value to patient safety in the long term, but also expose serious deficiencies in conventional methods of approach we’ve employed until now. With data analysis and technological advances increasingly leveraged to improve traditional approaches, there is one company leading the fight to overhaul the proverbial minefield of enteral feeding.
That’s where ENvizion Medical, a leading innovator in the field of enteral feeding, is making significant headway. Like all medical procedures, the burden of risk is present, yet often acknowledged and curtailed through concrete risk assessments followed by constantly refined approaches. In medicine, there will always be processes that require more attention, and it’s up to the community to prioritize these. This is how ENvizion’s mission was born, explains Doron Besser, the company’s CEO.
“As entrepreneurs in the medical device field, part of what we continuously do is identify clinical issues that need to be addressed,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “It’s been way too long since any kind of real innovation hit the enteral feeding tube space, and we realized addressing that challenge could literally save lives.”
With 27 million insertions performed annually, the potential to significantly improve risky feeding protocols was too large to ignore, especially with the knowledge that human error in medicine can be fatal.
Medical errors in hospitals were cited as the third-leading cause of death in the US in 2016, according to The BMJ. It was after this point that more eyes in the medical community intensified their gaze towards medical protocols, particularly for high-risk ICU patients.
From the risk of feeding tubes being incorrectly placed to the verification process for feeding ICU patients, Besser and his team at ENvizion began identifying fundamental problems with traditional methods. They recognized the obstacle of blindly placing the tube safely in the small intestine would remain highly problematic without the development of new sensory tools to help them navigate.
Enter ENvizion’s personalized navigation system, using “multiple sensors and anatomical landmarks to generate a personalized visual map of each patient’s upper GI tract,” as Besser explains.
This enables physicians performing such procedures to guide the feeding tube safely into the small intestine. These sensors also provide the clinician with a warning if the tube veers toward the lung.
The majority of institutions still employ conventional blind methods of feeding, while others have recognized the risks by utilizing more electromagnetic camera-based techniques. But the need for quick, confident, and effective action have rendered these techniques impotent in 2020. That’s why ENvizion really could be onto something – as Besser explains it’s “the first navigation system that creates a personalized map of the patient’s body.”
Our current pandemic accelerated the demand for safe feeding protocols, since we saw such a significant growth in patients requiring enteral feeding as a result of COVID-19.
Therefore, nutrition care to identify and address malnutrition is critical in treating and preventing further adverse health outcomes from COVID-19 infection.” From treating more mechanically ventilated patients (where it’s important to initiate the feeding process as quickly as possible) to operating with limited medical personnel, it’s important to note the virus has posed some unique challenges in treating patients. And it’s essentially this type of backs against the wall scenario that sets ENvizion’s solution apart.
It was only a century ago that the observations of Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis on the importance of infection profoundly changed the way we approach conventional methods of critical treatment. Initially, a large section of the medical community dismissed this theory, since it placed culpability upon performing physicians and their traditionally accepted methods. Today, no procedure is carried out without operating physicians disinfecting beforehand.
This stubbornness, however, can be addressed with education, data analysis, developing technologies, and rigorous testing, which can, over time, change the way medicine approaches certain procedures. In the same vein, ENvizion’s solution potentially represents a huge change in the way we approach enteral feeding procedures. And with patient safety becoming a movement with growing support, it’s only a matter of time before industry leaders catch on.