In the realm of healthcare, disparities in treatment have long been a contentious issue. Neil Friedman, a staunch advocate for rectifying healthcare unfairness, sheds light on a pervasive problem exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic - persistent fatalities among individuals with darker skin tones.
The New England Journal of Medicine aptly termed this "non-intended racial discrimination." For over four decades, the medical community overlooked the fact that fingertip pulse oximeters, a crucial tool in detecting lung illnesses and administering oxygen, could provide inaccurate readings on darker skin. The consequences were dire, with a 2022 Harvard Medical School study revealing that black, Hispanic, and Asian ICU patients received less oxygen than their Caucasian counterparts due to erroneous pulse ox measurements.
Neil Friedman and Mark Goettling, co-founders of BodiMetrics, are determined to find a solution to this long-standing issue. Recognizing the need for improvement in patient monitoring, particularly in blood oxygen levels, they developed the CIRCUL Ring, released in 2019, and its second-generation counterpart, the circul+ Smart Ring, in 2021.
Friedman emphasizes the proprietary design of the circul+ ring as the "secret sauce." With spring-loaded expanding sides, the ring stays securely on the finger, providing stability crucial for accurate readings. This design, coupled with light sensors on the patient's palm, mitigates the issue of inaccurate readings on diverse skin tones.
“It’s a hospital on your finger, providing clinically valid data continuously every second via our patented form factor," says Goettling. The circul+ ring gained FDA 510(k) clearance, and a Mayo Clinic study affirmed its accuracy across all skin tones, marking a significant achievement for the company.
The circul+ ring distinguishes itself in the market by outperforming competitors in delivering therapeutically meaningful, actionable data. Unlike other devices that measure blood oxygen levels every 15 minutes, the circul+ measures blood oxygen levels every second. This real-time data is crucial, especially in monitoring sleep, an essential component of overall health.
BodiMetrics holds a multi-year advantage in transitioning from fitness wearables to medical devices, fostering collaborations with healthcare giants like Kaiser Permanente and the VA. Their product, targeting chronically ill, aging-in-place, rural, and underserved populations, has gained recognition for its accuracy and comprehensive data measurement.
As the circul+ ring continues to make strides in the healthcare market, Friedman and Goettling remain dedicated to their mission. Beyond business success, they find fulfillment in stories of genuine patients receiving improved care thanks to accurate readings from their innovative solution. The circul+ ring not only addresses a critical healthcare disparity but also sets a new standard for remote patient monitoring, ensuring equitable and accurate healthcare for all.