EarlySense closes $39 million round to boost global expansion

January 08, 2019
by Thomas Dworetzky , Contributing Reporter
Israel-based EarlySense has closed a financing round of $39 million. Most of the money comes from leading hospital bed maker Hill-Rom and Wells Fargo Strategic Capital.

“Millions of beds worldwide require our continuous sensing and predictive analytics, EarlySense CEO Avner Halperin said in a statement, adding that, “in 2018 alone, our technology helped providers save over $100 million, and played the pivotal role in preventing 3,000 deaths, 5,000 patient falls and 4,000 cardiac arrests … and this is only the beginning.”

Other investors in the round included BlueRed Capital, Israel Innovation Fund, Argos Capital, and Hotung Capital.

Hill-Rom is making the investment soon after unveiling its Centrella Smart+ Bed, with integrated contact-free heart rate and respiratory rate sensing and analytics technology.

“Hill-Rom is committed to enhancing patient safety through cutting-edge technologies. Our Centrella bed is transforming inpatient care with integrated advanced sensing and analytics, offering a complete patient safety platform to assist clinicians in providing the highest level of care,” said Hill-Rom President and CEO John Groetelaars, noting that, “our decision to change the standard of care by integrating EarlySense into our Centrella platform, and now our move to deepen our exclusive relationship with EarlySense through a significant equity investment, are key steps in that direction.”

EarlySense’s FDA- and CE-approved under-the-mattress technology aids the push to use big data and AI algorithms by providing more accurate 24/7 health data to further early detection of problems and better patient outcomes. It is able to take patient measurements 100 times per minute, instead of the more typical time frame of every few hours.

“These are exciting times for EarlySense. The company has transitioned to a SaaS-like business model, and has since more than tripled its installed base in hospitals and nursing homes within the past year alone. The partnership with Hill-Rom is a natural fit to fuel the company’s vision of ‘an EarlySense sensor in every bed,’” noted Ittai Harel, managing partner of Pitango Venture Capital and chairman of EarlySense’s Board of Directors, adding that the new financing and the addition of new AI-based analytics should enable accelerating sales growth in the U.S. and globally.

In August, a clinical poster presented at the 2018 American Thoracic Society Conference showed that the EarlySense system could spot respiratory depression with high positive predictive value, and alert clinicians. This is of particular importance when monitoring patients on opioids.

“One of the key complications resulting from opioid use in hospitalized patients is respiratory distress that can lead to ICU transfers and sadly, even death. Moreover, respiratory depression is a key risk factor across the healthcare continuum, from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities,” Michael Wong, JD, executive director of the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety, noted in a company statement at the time. “For this reason, all patients receiving opioids should be continuously electronically monitored, to help provide early detection of the risk of respiratory depression and enable timely intervention.”

In the May issue of Healthcare Business News Magazine, Halperin observed that, “an estimated 75 percent of hospital patients and more than 90 percent of post-acute care patients are manually monitored by healthcare professionals across the U.S. This means that well into the 21st century, general care patients only have their vital signs and other measurements checked once every 4-6 hours. It’s ironic, and sad, that today, doctors have less real-time data on their patients than healthy runners training for a marathon have on themselves, with the help of smartphones and wearables.”

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