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Siilo injects $5.1M to try to transplant WhatsApp use in hospitals

Consumer messaging apps like WhatsApp are not only insanely popular for chatting with friends but have pushed deep into the workplace too, thanks to the speed and convenience they offer. They have even crept into hospitals, as time-strapped doctors reach for a quick and easy way to collaborate over patient cases on the ward. Yet WhatsApp is not specifically designed with the safe sharing of highly sensitive medical information in mind. This is where Dutch startup Siilo has been carving a niche for itself for the past 2.5 years — via a free-at-the-point-of-use encrypted messaging app that’s intended for medical professions to securely collaborate on patient care, such as via in-app discussion groups and being able to securely store and share patient notes. A business goal that could be buoyed by tighter EU regulations around handling personal data, say if hospital managers decide they need to address compliance risks around staff use of consumer messaging apps. The app’s WhatsApp-style messaging interface will be instantly familiar to any smartphone user. But Siilo bakes in additional features for its target healthcare professional users, such as keeping photos, videos and files sent via the app siloed in an encrypted vault that’s entirely separate from any personal media also stored on the device. Messages sent via Siilo are also automatically deleted after 30 days unless the user specifies a particular message should be retained. And the app does not make automated back-ups of users’ conversations. Other doctor-friendly features include the ability to blur images (for patient privacy purposes); augment images with arrows for emphasis; and export threaded conversations to electronic health records. There’s also mandatory security for accessing the app — with a requirement for either a PIN-code, fingerprint or facial recognition biometric to be used. While a remote wipe functionality to nix any locally stored data is baked into Siilo in the event of a device being lost or stolen. Like WhatsApp, Siilo also uses end-to-end encryption — though in its case it says this is based on the opensource NaCl library It also specifies that user messaging data is stored encrypted on European ISO-27001 certified servers — and…

Snap40 raises $8M for its AI-powered patient monitoring solution

Snap40, a Scottish startup that has developed an AI-enabled wearable device to help health professionals monitor patients either on the hospital ward or at home, has raised $8 million in seed funding. The round is led by ADV, with participation from MMC Ventures, and brings total funding to $10 million. Originally launched as a clinical pilot in August 2016, the Snap40 hardware and software platform initially set out to enable hospitals to monitor patients whose health is at risk of rapidly deteriorating while on ward, but has since expanded to increasingly focus on what happens after a patient is discharged, in addition to monitoring clinical trials. Claiming to have the same accuracy as ICU monitoring, the wearable device captures oxygen saturation, respiration rate, pulse rate, temperature, movement and posture. In addition to onboard sensors, the Snap40 platform offers integrations with other devices e.g. a BP cuff, weighing scales, a glucose monitor. It then feeds this real-time data to the cloud where it is analysed by the company’s proprietary algorithms to identify if a patient’s health is at risk and alert a physician proactively. In a call with Snap40 co-founder and CEO Christopher McCann he explained that where a patient has left hospital after an acute illness or has a long-term health condition, this can ultimately help to reduce hospital re-admission. In more extreme cases, it can also directly save lives. Let’s take cardiac arrest, for example. McCann cites a report published by the U.K. National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) in 2012 that found physiological instability (e.g. elevation of respiration rate or a decrease in blood pressure) was present six hours prior to arrest in 62 percent of patients and twelve hours prior to arrest in 47 percent. Conversely, that instability had not been picked up on in 36 percent of cases where earlier recognition could have improved outcomes. As another example, Sepsis, which McCann says is the number one cause of hospital readmission in the U.S., can be detected via an elevation in temperature, respiration rate or pulse rate and a drop in blood pressure or…

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