Star Trek-style Total Health Monitor lets patients monitor their health on their own
“I really just wanted to build something meaningful to help my mom.”
For Sathya Elumalai, Aidar Health’s founder and CEO, the driving force to transform the world of diagnostic medicine comes from a deep-rooted desire to free his mother from the increasing burden of chronic disease.
“It all started off as a very personal, selfish need to take care of my mom,” he explains. “She currently suffers from several different, compounding chronic diseases… and no communication was happening between her and her physicians when she wasn’t in the hospital.”
In partnership with expert clinicians and engineers, Elumalai and colleagues at Aidar Health created MouthLab, a hand-held, non-invasive, remote monitoring device (reminiscent of the total health scanner depicted in Star Trek) currently capable of measuring more than 10 essential vital signs―including temperature, blood pressure, respiratory flow cycle and rate, pulse rate, electrocardiogram (ECG), oxygen saturation (Sp02), heart rate and heart rate variability, as well as spirometry (lung) function recordings―all in 60 seconds.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Elumalai compares the MouthLab device (and its user interface) to that of an electric toothbrush. The user places the removable, disposable mouthpiece of the device in their mouth and breathes normally for 60 seconds. During this time―through integrated Bluetooth and mobile network data transmission―all diagnostic readings from MouthLab are processed and uploaded in real-time through a secure, HIPAA-compliant cloud-based storage drive, allowing patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals to access the needed data seamlessly.
“We have already started working on saliva and breath-based biomarker detection,” says Elumalai, who adds that the company’s goal is to expand the current profile of diagnostic potential of the device to incorporate other biochemical and biophysiological indicators of health in order to prevent, manage, and monitor chronic health conditions in a completely user-friendly, remote fashion.
“Once you’re done, you can literally wash the unit underwater and place it back on its charging case,” Elumalai says. There are even built-in speakers on the device, allowing caregivers and clinicians to communicate with patients immediately after seeing the results captured and uploaded by the MouthLab.
Elumalai expresses his desire to collaborate with others in the marketplace, hoping that with pooled resources and innovative minds working together toward this global vision, there will be hope to “spread the word and join the efforts” of modern biotechnological advances. He anticipates that this year Aidar Health will be able to manufacture hundreds of thousands of MouthLab devices and distribute them to major healthcare networks and pharmaceutical companies. “Our vision is for global impact,” he says.
Realizing that the chronic conditions his mother is suffering from are global issues for hundreds of millions of people, Elumalai has led the development and CE Mark approval process for MouthLab to expand into the European marketplace, enabling a pipeline for his vision of global impact to come to fruition. He plans to make the device available to consumers for about $200, with no immediate plans to increase price to consumers despite the addition of expanded diagnostic capabilities.
“I wanted to collect a whole lot of health information from an individual rapidly… I don’t want my mom to be connected to 15 different devices and wires. Rather, something very simple [that] doesn’t make her feel she’s sick,” Elumalai explains. His focus has been on developing a user experience that is easy and fun for anyone (even the least tech-savvy of us) to track our health at any time and any place.
With three more regulatory submissions in-the-works this calendar year, Elumalai is devoted to rapidly expanding R&D, primarily by focusing on the AI engine driving this diagnostic powerhouse. By the end of 2021, Aidar Health aims to have full clearances in place to include saliva-based and breath-based biomarker analysis.
“Our hope is within the next 3-5 years to have a comprehensive, single device that measures hundreds of data points, both digital and biological biomarkers, that can all be put together into a composite indexable to fully analyze anyone’s health status.”
With the overwhelming migration of healthcare delivery toward virtual and remote platforms, the timing for the MouthLab rollout came at the perfect time. This month’s CE Mark approval allowing for the device to be disseminated across Europe represents a milestone not only for Aidar Health and telehealth in general, but specifically for Elumalai’s driving force toward providing chronic disease management technology for his mother, who has been homebound in India for nearly 18 months.