Israeli startup PulseNmore has signed a multi-year agreement with Israel’s largest healthcare provider, Clalit Health Services, to provide tens of thousands of its pregnant members the handheld tele-ultrasound device developed by the startup.
The device enables pregnant women to perform at-home ultrasound scans, and get feedback from a physician or sonographer, limiting the need for hospital and doctor visits during COVID-19 and beyond.
Clalit Health Services, with 4.6 million insured members, is the first healthcare provider to purchase the device, PulseNmore said in a statement.
“At home tele-ultrasound scanning is a major leap forward in digital medicine and prenatal health,” said Dr. Elazar Sonnenschein, founder and CEO of PulseNmore. “We have successfully miniaturized the traditional ultrasound system to create a solution that is both affordable and accessible for expectant families.”
According to Clalit, pregnant women often make unnecessary visits to the emergency room with concerns about their baby’s well-being.
The handheld ultrasound device will provide “vital information” to healthcare providers to determine if a baby is healthy, helping expectant mothers to “have peace of mind at home and avoid unnecessary visits to the ER,” said Sonnenschein.
The PulseNmore device docks with a smartphone and utilizes advanced navigation and AI tools as well as an app to guide users through the scanning process, displaying and sharing high quality images with their healthcare professional, the statement said.
Physicians or sonographers review the scans remotely off-line or in real-time using telemedicine platforms and can reassure parents that all is well, or instruct them on appropriate next steps, if necessary. In addition, the technology can be used by healthcare providers to reduce the number of prenatal office visits, which is useful during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Clalit will subsidize the cost of the ultrasound for users, which will be available to members in the coming months, Clalit said. The device should be used for pregnancies at week 14 and over, the HMO said. It can measure the heartbeat of the fetus, the amount of amniotic fluid and also fetal movements in a process that takes just three minutes, according to Clalit.
“In today’s connected world, women and their partners want and deserve to know about the well-being of their baby without having to visit the emergency room. PulseNmore makes that possible,” said Leor Wolff, Head of Translational Innovation and eHealth Division at Clalit Health Services. “Clalit’s physicians reviewed more than 1,300 self-scans in our initial study with PulseNmore and clearly saw fetal heart activity, movement and amniotic fluid in 95% of the scans.”
Prof. Arnon Wiznitzer, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Rabin Medical Center will oversee the new service.
PulseNmore plans to build on the success of the Clalit implementation by entering key European markets in the near future, the statement said. Its device has the European CE mark of approval, approvals in Israel and is currently undergoing review by the US Food and Drug Administration, the statement said.
“Over the next year we aim to bring our technology to additional healthcare providers and countless families across the world,” said Sonnenschein.
Founded in 2015, PulseNmore is based in Omer, Israel.