St. Antonius Hospital-based COVID-19 Home Monitoring Program Leads InvestorWatch to Look at Dutch Startup Luscii

Nov 21, 2020 | Investor Watch, News, Remote Patient Monitoring, Telemonitoring

St. Antonius Hospital-based COVID-19 Home Monitoring Program Leads InvestorWatch to Look at Dutch Startup Luscii

Luscii healthtech (Luscii), a disruptive Dutch remote patient monitoring venture, makes increasing inroads into health systems augmented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Backed by a large Japanese healthcare company’s strategic investment, Luscii was accepted as a supplier on the latest version of the United Kingdom (UK) government’s public sector cloud procurement framework known as G-cloud 12. And most recently, Dutch hospital St. Antonius Hospital reported that the Amsterdam-based remote patient monitoring startup was able to cut off 134 admission days across a group of 33 COVID-19 patients, saving the hospital money while freeing up scarce health professionals human capital for the sickest of patients during the pandemic. TrialSite Investor Watch profiles this significantly promising venture. With access to capital via a strategic partnership with OMRON Healthcare, possession of a compelling remote patient monitoring intellectual property and most importantly, a passionate and driven founder, when combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, creates most fertile conditions for an explosion of demand for this remote patient monitoring platform, powered by telehealth infrastructure. The clinical trials sector’s implications are also profound, as sponsors rapidly embrace decentralized clinical trials technology in the era of COVID-19.

Recently, the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA)  reported on the results of an effort at a Dutch hospital called St. Antonius Hospital and their quest to free up scarce health care labor and bed capacity while ensuring the delivery of ongoing high-quality care via a remote patient monitoring technology platform. The results of the study were profound: the local hospital shaved off 134 admission days, credited to the ability to support the designed home monitoring program.

COVID-19 Changes Everything

The COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented pressure on health systems and hospitals, based on the surge of patients needing care. The authors of this latest entry in JAMIA revealed that nearly 15% of COVID-19 patients need hospitalization and oxygen support as a consequence of the symptoms of this virus. With the need for oxygen support comes an extension in hospital stays for COVID-19 patients. With greater hospitalization duration comes accumulated use of facemasks and other protective clothing, as well as greater ongoing exposure to hospital staff and less bed space for other patients. These pressures have not been ignored by technology companies and entrepreneurs such as Luscii. A combination of technological advancement, care coordination and process alignment can transform how care is delivered, with notable results—all powered by telehealth and remote patient monitoring infrastructure.

Enabling the ‘Home Nursing Ward’

Picked up recently by Sara Mageit with MobileHealthNews, St. Antonius Hospital’s Agnes Grutters summarized the situation and associated need, declaring, “We saw the shortage of beds increasing and therefore wanted to create a nursing ward at home in a safe way so that the hospital retains capacity without adding an extra burden onto GPs.” Grutters continued, “As a requirement, patients had to be able to manage themselves at home. This home monitoring can actually be seen as a bridge between the hospital and the GP. Fortunately, we can include an unlimited number of patients at no extra cost. This flexibility is needed now that the number of admissions continues to rise.”

Who is Luscii?

Although Dr. Daan Dohmen just founded Luscii in 2018, he had been working on a range of tools to empower patients for many years. Profoundly influenced as a teen when working in a nursing home, the future doctor found a deep human-centered connection with the residents, noting the residents’ lack of control and empowerment. This observation led to a driving urge and professional motivation to empower those who are not empowered to care for those who needed it. Medicine was certainly the desired path for this young man.

The young man went into medicine and pursued this important life-mission to “give dependent people their independence back,” as he explained on the company’s website. Dr. Dohmen first set up a venture known as FocusCura in his attic back in 2003. 

With a similar and familiar theme, the entrepreneur sought to use smart tools to offer some autonomy to vulnerable or dependent patients. Over the years, he was joined by colleagues Dr. Joris Janssen, Ronald Scheffer and Erik Kaufman to develop the FocusCure subsidiary known as Luscii, named after Luscinia (meaning Nightingale in Latin), inspired by Florence Nightingale. Dr. Dohmen is apparently the controlling shareholder of the Amsterdam-based venture.

Strategic Corporate Investment

At the beginning of 2019, the founders of Luscii (again an independent subsidiary of FocusCure, the venture created in Dr. Dohmen’s attic) inked a partnership with OMRON Healthcare, known among other things as the largest producer of blood pressure monitors around the world. They count clients in over 74 countries.

OMRON Healthcare, a company based in Japan with a market capitalization of over $15 billion, placed a strategic private placement investment in the small startup. The actual amount was not disclosed. However, it is apparent that this capital source helped Luscii accelerate its product development and market expansion. As a consequence of that corporate strategic investment and organic sales, the company now employs at least 50 persons.

The Platform Expansion Starts in Northern Europe

Many hospitals in the Netherlands are now utilizing this digital platform to help enable various remote patient monitoring programs from COPD to congestive heart failure. Of course, with the onset of COVID-19 came the massive pivot of healthcare and research to accelerate the transition, where and when feasible, to ensure high-quality care and alleviation of capacity challenges from onsite to remote care. 

But even prior to COVID-19, health care systems increasingly embraced telehealth and remote patient monitoring to reduce emergency admissions and unnecessary outpatient visits.

In fact, by 2019, just one year after the venture’s inception, the platform was already in use in four European countries while partnerships with Apple and Omron had already been secured as reported in InsightsCare.

Moreover, the founders’ deep understanding of health system processes and workflows understood the need for seamless integration with EMRs, while their technical savvy culture embraced rapid development with Android and IOS platforms. These moves have paid off in impressive results if certain accounts are accurate. By 2019 the same article in InsightsCare claimed that 50% of the Netherlands’ hospitals were already using the Luscii platform. Moreover, this technology had already spread to Denmark, Sweden, and the UK.

Core Capabilities

Luscii’s product enables a number of rich and extensive capabilities leading up to what appears to amount to a superior remote patient monitoring application. As described on the company’s website, the product empowers a hospital to actually guide their patients at home, capturing measurements and key health indicators, remotely diagnose symptoms and overall well-being and offer ongoing care and medical advice. For abnormal indicators or signs, the product’s alerting engine supports a number of immediate connections for real-time video monitoring. Hence, the product can offer:

  • Ability to track patients in the home, precluding their need for hospital stays
  • Coaching and care coordination attributes, so that the patients, although perhaps home alone, can have navigators, care coordinators or doctors monitoring and communicating with them.
  • 24/7 monitoring and communication, enabling a cross-disciplinary health care professional team constant access to the patient.

A product overview video can be watched here

Sales Boom in Holland

Even before COVID-19, the Amsterdam-based venture focused on select programs to start, such as a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) monitoring program. Additionally, they introduced a congestive heart failure (CHF) remote patient monitoring initiative. The quality of the product, apparently good, spread from hospital to hospital. According to one account, the “…news traveled fast and doctors and nurses reached out to Luscii in order to create programs for their own patients.”

Call to ActionTrialSite recommends hospitals take a look at the Luscii telemonitoring platform. Health-tech and life science technology-focused investors should also monitor the moves of this privately-held Dutch concern.

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