Anyone who thinks Canadian companies don’t innovate needs to discover Cloud DX. Founded in 2014, this remarkable startup has wowed the tech industry with its realization of a working medical tricorder device called the Vitaliti™. And that’s just one project this healthcare device manufacturer has on the go!
A tricorder! Really?
Our story starts with Star Trek, or more specifically, the medical tricorder. 24th century medical officers use this remarkable device to scan their patients. Never mind x-rays or even ultrasound tech, this device gets accurate results with a swipe or two! With it, a trained chief medical officer of the future can identify all but the most alien of afflictions.
Sci fi made real
Well, sci fi writers have inspired genius in the real world again. Qualcomm staged a five-year and $10 million international competition for a real tricorder. The criteria? The patient-friendly device had to capture five real-time vital signs and diagnose 13 health conditions—accurately and independently of a healthcare worker or facility.
Cloud DX’s entry, the Vitaliti (see photo above), was recognized as one of three finalists and represented the only finalist from Canada. While two other tricorders shared the top prize, Cloud DX earned the first Bold Epic Innovator prize and a $100,000 sponsorship from Qualcomm. Amazing! The Vitaliti connects four interdependent wireless devices—a wearable vital sign monitor; a wireless spirotoscope; an in vitro diagnostic system; and a Pulsewave® Health Station—to an advanced mobile app running on a smartphone.
Click the thumbnail to watch co-founders, Dr. Sonny Kohli, MD/CMO, and Robert Kaul, CEO & President, present Vitaliti at Tedx Toronto.
Click the video above to see the Vitaliti platform, as featured on Huff Post’s Now What with Ryan Duffy.
“The inspiration for the tricorder may come from fiction, but the need for this type of device is very real. I saw just how much in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.” – Sonny Kohli, Co-founder & Chief Medical Officer
Invented out of need
In 2010, a Canadian physician, Sonny Kohli, MD was volunteering in Haiti in the aftermath of a savage earthquake that killed well over 100,000 people and displaced millions. With the tiny nation’s infrastructure, including its healthcare facilities, left in ruins, basic but vital diagnostic tools and equipment simply became unavailable.
“Out of necessity, I asked two fellow volunteers, both engineers, for help. Together we ‘McGyvered’ a broken ECG machine to help me diagnose and manage a patient with a heart condition. I realized at that moment that smartphone-based diagnostic technology could change healthcare worldwide by increasing access to care. The world needed a tricorder!”
Back at home
Back in Ontario, and a few years later, Sonny connected with Biosign, a local tech company. They caught his attention with their non-invasive cardiovascular monitoring device called Pulsewave. During a conversation in a hospital cafeteria with Robert Kaul, he learned of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition. Team Cloud DX was born! Cloud DX then became an official company of its own, when Biosign decided to sell its hardware assets to co-founders, Robert Kaul, Anthony Kaul, Sonny Kohli, and Larry Steinberg.
“To make the tricorder a reality, we knew we needed help from the best design talent. We collaborated with Cortex for industrial design and Pivot for the interface design.”
Cloud DX today
The company has gone from tricorder prototype invented by a talented team in Toronto to a thriving medical monitoring devices business with offices in both Kitchener-Waterloo and Brooklyn. It manufactures and exports a portfolio of Health Canada and FDA-approved remote patient monitoring (RPM) solutions for patients, clinics, and hospitals.
“Hospital doctors see patients, some with complex conditions, in moments of crisis. After they leave, it’s like they vanish into a black hole. Did they get better? We don’t know.”
Remote patient monitoring
By using devices and the Internet to monitor vital signs like blood pressure, weight, pulse oxygen, and temperature, healthcare teams can keep tabs on patients reliably. If they see cause for concern, they can intervene early to change behaviour, adjust medications, or send a home-care nurse to make a house call.
“By allowing clinicians to monitor vital signs remotely, care teams can check in and intervene, avoiding costly and stressful trips to an emergency room.”
New ways to deliver care
Another Cloud DX solution—the Connected Health Kit and Monthly Subscription (see above)—gives patients a 10” Android Health Tablet, a Pulsewave wrist cuff for monitoring blood pressure, a wireless Bluetooth scale; a wireless Pulse Oximeter for oxygen levels, a wireless thermometer, a wireless glucometer (optional); and additional services including video and text messaging that allows patients to speak with a licensed clinician instantly. Cool!
“When Vitaliti enters the marketplace it will give healthcare providers what they need: a great alternative to obtrusive procedures, like radial catheters. Vitaliti provides all of your vital signs around your neck, plus notifications and alerts if things begin to go awry.”
Saving & improving lives
While the apps and devices may vary, the mission driving Cloud DX remains the same: to create the world’s most effective, affordable, and easy-to-use digital tools for measuring health and wellness. So far, the company’s devices have saved several patient’s lives, improved the health of countless others, and helped care providers, too.
“Since approximately 20% of patients consume over 80% of healthcare resources, mostly for chronic care, Cloud DX Connected Health saves money and delivers substantial ROI”
Azure makes it possible
Azure cloud services play a pivotal role in Cloud DX’s success. By powering Cloud DX services with our global network of state-of-the-art datacenters (including two facilities in Ontario and Quebec), Cloud DX can meet strict regulatory compliance standards—such as HIPAA—in Canada, the United States, and beyond.
“Why did we choose Azure? We needed a cloud on both sides of the border. Azure made HIPAA the easiest. And, like any startup, we wanted the best cost.”
Is the holodeck next?
In a way, yes! Cloud DX has started to define what the hospital of the future will look with Microsoft HoloLens. Instead of expecting nurses to take vital signs manually, one patient at a time, they can use these “mixed reality” smart glasses to “see” the vital signs of dozens of patients at once. Check out this amazing video to see it yourself!
HoloLens for healthcare
The HoloLens for healthcare? Yes! The applications for this self-contained holographic technology will impress you. From its use as a teaching tool, to improving the precision of spinal surgery, Microsoft Asia’s Geoff Spencer published some of the most incredible stories in his recent post.
“Our healthcare vision integrates mixed reality technology. It demonstrates the transformative potential of Microsoft’s HoloLens. As a healthcare service platform, the applications are almost endless.”
Meet the team
Cloud DX was founded by Robert Kaul, CEO; Sonny Kohli, Chief Medical Officer; Anthony Kaul, COO, and Larry Steinberg, EVP of Biz Dev. They receive direction and feedback from an advisory panel of multiple physicians specializing in cardiology, emergency medicine, critical care, surgery, etc. Additionally, the company maintains diverse technology partnerships.
“We view Microsoft as a key business relationship. We use their cloud and innovate with their devices. But it’s their faith in us and enthusiasm for our vision that contributes most to our success.” – Sonny Kohli, Co-founder & Chief Medical Officer
A Microsoft for Startups project
Cloud DX received support from Microsoft for Startups, which provides promising startups with software, service, support, marketing expertise and cloud services—all designed to help them launch successfully. Check out these cool stories of other entrepreneurs who received assistance from Microsoft.
Do you run a startup?
Learn how Microsoft for Startups works. This program provides qualified privately held startups with development and testing software; training; phone support; Azure services, plus go-to-market business networking opportunities. To qualify, your startup must be less than five years old and earn less than US $1 million annually.