A partnership between EarlySense and Hill-Rom to put sensors in beds is aiming to bring hospital beds into the 21st century.
For EarlySense, which was founded in 2004, the partnership will give the company larger scale and reach, said EarlySense CEO Avner Halperin.
“We are small company of about 130 people; we can’t cover this huge market with a million beds in hospitals, but we have the opportunity to make a huge difference,” Halperin said. “We were looking for ways to extend more rapidly than we could do as a small team. [The partnership is] a huge win because it gives us access to thousands of U.S. hospitals that as a small company it’s more challenging to reach.”
The two companies have created a product called the Centrella Smart Bed with the EarlySense sensor embedded. Financial details of the partnership were not disclosed.
A challenge for health startups like EarlySense is that hospitals usually want to buy from longtime vendors and trusted brands. Meanwhile, Hill-Rom has been selling hospital beds and medical equipment for more than 100 years. The startup partnering with the legacy company gives EarlySense an inroad to expand the use of its technology.
The Centrella beds will be able to monitor heart rate and breathing and quickly alert hospital staff if something isn’t right. For patients not in intensive care, hospital staff typically only take readings every four, six, or eight hours, Halperin said. The gaps can miss early warning signs of serious issues and create what he calls a “data desert.”
Hospitals can also capitalize on the technology to attract patients. Hospital marketing spending has crept up in recent years, and the new technology could be a way for hospitals to draw in potential patients. The hospital industry spent more than $450 million on advertising last year, according to Kantar.
Halperin said hospitals that have the technology are using it to appeal to patients.
“Where would you want your loved one cared for, a hospital where you know how they’re [monitoring] once every eight hours or where they have the real time data?” Halperin said. “It’s a differentiator not just for Hill-Rom and EarlySense, but also for hospitals providing better care.”
The beds with the health monitor have reduced cardiac arrest by more than 80%, falls by 40%, and length of stay by 9%, or about half a day per patient, Halperin said. These decreases also mean economic savings for hospitals. They can save up to $20,000 per bed per year with a shorter length of stay, he added.
“It’s where the market is going in the future,” Halperin said. “It doesn’t make sense that you will not know for hours how a patient is doing in a hospital. People at home can wear a FitBit and know continuously how they’re doing. Clearly that’s where the world is going: data-driven care based on real-time data and analytics.”
A Hill-Rom representative could not be reached for comment.