Regular monitoring of our various health metrics can help identify problems and diseases before they occur. The Israeli company Hello Heart, which is developing a blood pressure monitor and an app that monitors the various medical indices and can thus identify and predict life-threatening situations, announced on Monday the completion of a $70 million Series D funding round.
The round was led by the Stripes Fund, and included participation from existing investors in the company, such as the IVP Fund, Khosla, BlueRun, Maven and Resolute. The company's total fundraising since its inception stands at $138 million.
They refer users to treatment based on their location and financial status
Hello Heart has developed a physical product that is able to monitor the blood pressure and pulse levels of those suffering from heart disease. The product transmits the information to an application that can detect cases of high blood pressure or irregular heartbeat - cases that may end in a heart attack, stroke, or death. The system can refer patients to a doctor and get additional and customized insights to improve their health. The company operates on a B2B2C model, meaning its customers are large organizations that purchase subscriptions for their employees, or health insurance companies in the United States that offer the app as a service for their policyholders.
Hello Hart's system transmits real-time tips to users, and one of the company's developments is an AI model that analyzes patients' conditions at any given moment, then customizes the tips for them to treat their high blood pressure.
In a conversation with Geektime, the company's CEO and one of the founders, Maayan Cohen, explained that the app allows users to conveniently track all medical indicators related to their heart health from 4 different sources: the company's blood pressure monitor, their medical information history, Apple and Google’s health apps (Apple Health/Google Fit) and data that users themselves enter into the app on a daily basis. And all this fits in their pocket.
"To ensure users would have high and efficient use of our product, the Hello Heart team uses methods to optimize user experience from the worlds of gaming and social media; this is a first for the digital heart health space," says Cohen. "Hello Heart is one of the most fascinating databases in the medical world and contains very thorough data on hundreds of thousands of users which allows for effective training of artificial intelligence models. It combines complete medical data from clinics and information from the user's pharmacy, along with behavioural information from walking patterns and monitoring ongoing clinical indices at home."
Not afraid of Apple
Along with the announcement of the recruitment, Hello Heart revealed a study was conducted by the American Medical Association (and published in its journal JAMA), which examined the use of the company's product. The peer-reviewed study examined 28,000 users over three years and examined what happened to their blood pressure over time. The study found that 84% of users at the highest risk level significantly lowered their blood pressure. "The findings are very significant because they are twice as high as any study on any digital product or clinical program ever published in the field," notes Cohen.
One of the most notable trends in recent years is Apple's aggressive entry into the healthcare industry. In addition to the ability to measure heart rate, blood oxygen, and fall detection, Apple has also placed an emphasis on a complete health product ecosystem, which will interface with the various Apple products. Moreover, according to several reports, Apple’s super-popular watch will also be able to measure blood pressure in 2024.
So, no fear of Apple's aggressive entry into the field?
"On the contrary, we are very happy that more and more companies want to enter the field of heart with heart health measuring devices. Apple, Samsung (which already has a watch for measuring blood pressure), and medical companies like Omron continue to work on heart health diagnostic products which are great for everyone, including Hello Heart. The more hardware products there are for monitoring heart indices, the greater the need for Hello Heart becomes.
They save Jimmy from the "The Widow-maker"
Cohen says that a significant part of Hello Heart is giving employees freedom of action and to encourage them to come up with ideas for features and product improvements. "One of the developers at the company came up with the idea of using heart rate data to predict arrhythmias and other cardiac events. An arrhythmia is a change in the normal heart rate that can manifest itself in a lack of pulse or rhythmic irregularity. Untreated cardiac arrhythmias can lead to blood clots that can cause serious brain or heart problems "says Cohen. She said a few weeks after the feature was released to users, 1,578 of them received an indication of a potential cardiac event and heart rhythm disturbances.
But the highlight, according to Cohen, came from a review from an American user of Hello Heart named Jimmy Ramos. "Jimmy followed his blood pressure for several months using our sphygmomanometer and our app. One morning, the app alerted him that he had an arrhythmia, and he should see a doctor immediately. He arrived at the hospital, and although the medical staff first doubted him, since he had no noticeable symptoms, he showed the medical staff the report in the app, which led them to give him an ECG. The examination revealed that Ramos suffered from a severe undiagnosed arrhythmia also known as The Widow-maker, one that within a few days could have led to his death. "On the spot, Ramos was hospitalized and immediately rushed to bypass surgery, which saved his life."