Neurotrack wins medical innovation challenge with Alzheimer's tech

Company uses eye-tracking technology to predict and help prevent the development of the disease.
By Susan Morse
04:05 PM
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Medical Innovation Summit in Cleveland

From left: Martin Kelly, Alexander Grunewald, Emma Cartmell, Kristin Milburn, Alex DeWinter and Amy Merlino, MD, on the judge's panel for The Challenge at the Medical Innovation Summit in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND -- An emerging company that uses vision technology to predict and help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s won “The Challenge” during the Medical Innovation Summit in Cleveland.

Both a panel of experts and members of the audience on Monday chose Neurotrack in California during a forum held in partnership with HIMSS and HealthXL.

As Challenge winner, Neurotrack will receive expert guidance from a team of clinical experts at Cleveland Clinic, a booth in the Innovation Zone at MIS2018, exhibitor passes to Innovation Live at HIMSS18 in Las Vegas, a year of exposure and access at HIMSS Innovation Center and complimentary tickets to an exclusive HealthXL Global Gathering of 100 leaders in healthcare.

The panel of six healthcare judges said one of the reasons they chose Neurotrack was because Alzheimer’s affects so many people and the numbers are expected to grow due to an aging population.

Judges included Emma Cartmell of Cartmell VC, who serves on the HIMSS North America Board, Alex DeWinter of GE Ventures, Alexander Grunewald of J&J, Amy Merlino, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic, Kristin Milburn of Novartis and Martin Kelly of HealthXL.
 
By the time we reach 80-years-old, one in three of us will develop Alzheimer’s, said Neurotrack CEO and founder Elli Kaplan. 

Neurotrack focuses on identifying adults before they show signs of the disease.

Consumers can take a five-minute or 30-minute test by sitting in front of the camera on their computers. The longer eye tracking test can predict the likelihood of an individual developing Alzheimer’s 20 to 30 years before the development of symptoms, while the five-minute tests measures memory over time. 

“Once you have symptoms, the disease has been active in the brain for 20, 30 years,” Kaplan said. “We’re focused on people at risk.”

That’s around 104 million people between the ages of 40 and 65, she said.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but early diagnosis can help people battle its debilitating effects through diet, exercise and cognitive training, she said. People in their therapeutic program have seen improvement in all aspects of memory, according to Kaplan.

“Preventing memory loss is possible,” Kaplan said. “Neurotrack is bringing to market a diagnostic test for people at risk to prevent cognitive decline and save millions in cost.”

Neurotrack works with providers, rather than payers. There is a bucket code, Kaplan said, for cognitive assessment testing that is covered by most insurance.

Three other innovations were focused on patient participation and behavioral modification.

Deep 6 AI was started by CEO Wout Brusselaers three years ago to help providers have more success in recruiting patients for clinical trials as a precision medicine tool.

The shortage of an estimated four million patients a year costs the healthcare industry billions, he said.

Deep 6 AI uses artificial intelligence to turn document-based clinical data into a unified knowledge graph with thousands of features for every patient. Researchers can then find patients that match complex clinical trial criteria in minutes rather than the months it usually takes. In one trial at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Deep 6 AI’s software found 58 eligible patients in 8 minutes, whereas the principal investigator had identified only 23 patients over the previous six months, Brusselaers said.

The company is working with the Joe Biden Foundation on clinical trials.

Clinical tests can find patients with chronic pain, which leads to better treatment and saving hospitals money, Brusselaers said.

Frame Health CEO Bruce Ettinger said his company addresses behavioral modification in non-adherence. Different patients need to be addressed differently, he said. One patient reacts well to being told to take his or her medication, while another needs to know why taking the blood pressure medication helps.

Patients who adhere to treatment have better quality results and providers save billions, Ettinger said.

Frame Health has a 90 percent completion rate to surveys, compared to much lower numbers for cold calling. This is important because the numbers show that patients who don’t complete the surveys come back as readmissions, he said. 

Medisafe CEO Omri Shor said he cofounded the company about five years ago after his father accidentally overdosed on his medications.

An estimated 147 million Americans take medication on a daily basis, with about 7,000 suffering an emergency, he said.

“We need to identify the reason for non-adherence,” he said. 

Medisafe works with pharmaceutical companies and payers on improving outcomes.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com


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