Technology of Japanese start-up featured by doctors (Series ＃21）
The Second Part: TechDoctor Moving Toward an Era Where Data Improves “Wellness”
TechDoctor's Facing Challenges and Envisions the Future
Tech Doctor Inc. (hereafter “TechDoctor”) is developing “SelfDoc.,” a mental health support service using wearable devices and online questionnaires. Besides, they provide “SelfBase,” a data analysis platform that stores long-term data from wearable devices, ePRO, and various medical data and enables easy analysis. In this interview, I have focused on a feature of TechDoctor's technology that the other companies do not have: the development of analysis algorithms and methods to verify general-purpose wearable devices and medical devices and take advantage of the value of data over a long period. It will enable us to obtain heart rate, exercise, and sleep data from subjects over ultra-long periods and apply it to clinical practice.
Wearable device data is massive and long-term, analysis methods tend to be complex, and pre-processing for analysis is challenging.
TechDoctor has solved this problem by incorporating the analysis technologies and methods it has cultivated to date and has achieved a 70% cut in analysis man-hours and analysis costs.
Currently, the data analysis platform “SelfBase” is used regularly in clinical trials, mainly by six major pharmaceutical companies.
Tech Doctor is also a fast-growing startup that announced in June this year that it had raised 500 million Japanese yen in a Series A round, and in July announced that it would participate as a data analysis and solution developer for Shiseido Institute "fibona". The following is an interview with Mr. Kazumichi Minato, CEO of TechDoctor.
Q1: What was the impetus behind developing your company's services?
Mr. Minato: Our team was inspired by the research adopted by the “AMED IoT Behavior Change Research Project”. This research is in the Department of Psychiatry (Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience) at Keio University School of Medicine: “Unobtrusive Sensing Technology for Quantifying Stress and Wellbeing to Promote a Healthy Workplace.”*¹ In addition to confirming the accuracy of heart rate data that wearable device can acquire in this research, the team identified essential data that can capture changes.
As the founders had a strong sense of the challenges surrounding them related to mental illness, we saw the potential to solve the unmet needs of many diseases. However, we felt that the lack of a dedicated analysis system made data collection and analysis in research extremely time-consuming and labor-intensive, and we wanted to solve this problem.
In the long term, as the need for DTx development increases, we believe that more issues will arise in data analysis. And we have been providing systems centered on wearable devices and developing solutions in the mental health field by utilizing the strengths of our team in data analysis and system construction.
Q2: Did you encounter any difficulties in the development process?
Mr. Minato: We compared data from IoT-related devices and wearables, which are not yet medical devices, with previous research to ensure accuracy that we could trust and to sort out the criteria that we could not trust. In addition, the team's efforts were essential in the ongoing and thorough progress of in-house demonstration experiments, including verifying data accuracy comparisons for each device.
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