10th July 2019
Award winning evidence-based Health App developer, Evolyst, is trying to improve quality of life for Cystic Fibrosis patients
Chris Golby founded Evolyst in 2012 after completing his PhD in Digital Health. Working on a digital health solution for stroke patients, Chris grew frustrated by the funding grant cycle, and constant delays to the development of innovative healthcare solutions. He decided to branch into industry to address this problem, while remaining true to his research roots.
Under Chris’s directorship, alongside Creative Director Ben Skirth and a team of software developers, Evolyst have grown into the evidence-based “technology enablers” to Healthcare Providers, Academics and the Private Sector (Chris calls them “knowledge providers”).
One of these knowledge providers is the Thoracic Surgery Team at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham, who flagged a particular issue with assessing chest wall motion in CF Patients. “It wasn’t a solution we came up with and then tried to find a problem for,” explains Chris. “We knew there was a problem and we went away to try to find technology that could solve the problem, and then came up with this solution.” Evolyst worked closely with the Heartlands team to develop a low-cost portable imaging system which CF patients can use in their own home.
Clinicians usually measure respiratory function in CF Patients with spirometry tools, which don’t provide information about the movement of the chest. As CF patients in particular tend to breath from their diaphragm rather than their chest wall, this missing data could give healthcare providers important information about the quality of the patient’s breathing, which can be improved through physiotherapy. In order to track the progress of this physiotherapy CF Patients are monitored in-hospital every six months, which is particularly burdensome as they must, due to the nature of the condition, be kept in isolation from other CF Patients.
Using the same camera technology as Xbox, where each pixel also gives a depth measurement, Evolyst’s imaging tool can produce a 3D model of the patient’s torso [pictured], allowing healthcare providers to monitor respiratory motion over time.
Evolyst’s solution is extremely low-cost: only £5,000 per patient – a stark contrast to the current £45,000 per year, per patient, cost to the NHS. Furthermore the improvement to the patient’s quality of life is significant. The life expectancy of CF patients in increasing exponentially – by a whopping thirty years in the last forty. Over time, Evolyst’s one-off solution could save the patient hundreds of hospital visits, not to mention the significant savings to the NHS.
Evolyst’s founding principal is a desire to take solutions from research to reality. When they initially announced the development of their Chest Wall Motion Assessment tool, it drew quite a bit of attention from people who wanted to test and to validate the system. Unfortunately Chris was faced with an old problem – a lack of the necessary funding to give the project the dedicated attention required to bring the prototype to a state in which it can be tested, validated, and eventually rolled out to patents across Europe. And while the CWMA system is initially offered as a solution
for CF patients, it could provide clinical insight on a wide range of respiratory diseases, improving countless patients’ lives.
The winners of this year’s EIT Health European Health Catapult will be decided at the December 2017 EIT Health Summit in London, and we at the UK-Ireland CLC are proud to announce our semi-finalists in the Digital Health, MedTech and BioTech categories:
- Immersive Rehab
- Oxford Endovascular
- ProVerum Medical
- Spy Biotech
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