Technology of Japanese start-up featured by doctors (Series ＃26）
Xenoma, Where Your Everyday Life Becomes Preventive Medicine
“e-skin” Introduces ECG Measurement into Daily Life
In recent years, the development and release of wearable devices in health tech have been remarkable. Like Apple Watch, Google Fit-compatible smartwatches, and Sleep Tech’s Oura Ring, the wearable devices that allow general public to focus on their own healthcare and to collect their health-related data, has been gaining a lot of attention.
Along with this trend, Xenoma Inc. (“Xenoma”), a spin-off startup company from the University of Tokyo, developed “e-skin ECG”, the medical service to measure ambulatory electrocardiogram (ECG) by wearing “clothes” in collaboration with Keio University Hospital. The clothing-type ECG monitoring system allows patients, who lack knowledge about ECG, to properly set the device and the electrodes, and to perform 3-lead ambulatory ECG measurements by themselves.
It is well-known among medical professional that a 24-hour ambulatory ECG measurement to detect arrhythmias is a difficult and cumbersome exam to be performed. For instance, a number of visits to the hospital is required for patients to set the device and electrode prior to measurement, and to return the device to the hospital the next day. Meanwhile, for clinicians, they prefer to apply this ECG exam to patients with arrhythmia who report palpitations or faintness due to its non-invasive methodology. However, clinicians are often reluctant to select this ECG method as patients often feel it hard to undergo this exam.
Xenoma’s “e-skin,” a clothing-based Internet of Things (IoT) device, is comfortable to wear and it is washable. The company has established their own technology to achieve high tensile durability and washability in conventional wiring and sensors formed on cloth by using Printed Circuit Fabric (PCF), the world’s first cloth-like electronic circuit board that can be freely deformed and stretched. With “e-skin” utilizing this PCF, allows us to continuously monitor human information anytime, anywhere, simply by wearing it. In the future, Xenoma will try to contribute to develop preventive medicine and a safe and secure society based on big data of human biometric information.
The idea of using “clothing” to measure physiological data is very innovative. Without a doubt, everyone wears their own clothes daily, so clothes are the most natural item for everybody to put on, which, as a result, do not require any lifestyle changes. Clothing also provides a good basis for a higher level of health care because it can access a wider body region. Xenoma strongly believed that a large amount of high-quality data acquisition should maximize the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI)-oriented big-data analysis.
This next-generation smart apparel, “e-skin ECG” service, has been covered by insurance in Japan since March 2022. It is available under the direction by clinicians at medical institutions. In addition, Xenoma launched the ambulatory ECG monitoring mail service in May 2022. This service is convenient as an exam kit is mailed directly to patients’ home so that they can complete their own 24-hour-long ECG exam by themselves and return the kit back upon its completion for ECG analysis.
I interviewed Mr. Ichiro Amimori, CEO of Xenoma, and would like to introduce some of the interview's contents.
Q. How will the new functions of the “e-skin ECG” service affect the lives of patients and healthcare professionals?
Mr. Amimori "First, compared to conventional ambulatory electrocardiography, the clothing-type device does not interfere with daily life. Also, patients can wear and remove the device at home, making it possible to perform the test by mail. It reduces the number of patient visits to the hospital, thereby reducing regional disparity in access to medical facilities and decreasing avoidance of ambulatory ECG monitoring.
Second, hospitals do not need to purchase and can operate without inventory. Therefore, they do not need to worry about inventory and can request tests when needed, contributing to an increase in the number of tests performed.
In addition, Xenoma supports the testing equipment, saving the hospital time and effort. It will reduce the time and effort required by medical professionals.
Based on the above, we hope to contribute to the early detection of atrial fibrillation (the second leading cause of death in Japan) and the prevention of heart disease by increasing the number of electrocardiogram tests. "
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