One such company is WEMED, which designs and produces connected medical devices such as stethoscopes, that are effective, affordable, and able to connect people to medical staff. The company is compatible with almost all telemedicine platforms and also with WhatsApp, Zoom, etc. The French company has stood out during the COVID-19 crisis by adapting its products, given the new need for remote diagnostic medical devices.
We spoke to Philippe Arnaud, Head of Communications, WEMED, to understand how the stethoscope works. Arnaud has also designed the product. He said: “WEMED started 18 months ago, and the remote consultation stethoscope has been in the market for around six months.”
Arnaud explained that the device is dedicated to the patient. So, the patient has this device at home and can use it as a regular thermometer. So, for example, if a patient is experiencing a lung or a heart problem, they can call the doctor using WhatsApp or any other communication app. And the doctor, who can be thousands of kilometres away, can listen to the heart and lungs live.
Nicolas Karst, Ph.D, President & Chief Executive Officer, Sublimed, left, Philippe Arnaud, Head of Communications, WEMED, right
“The innovation in this product is the fact that it is a straightforward plug and play solution,” Arnaud stressed. “Moreover, the product is affordable (costs US$90), is completely 3D-printed and has almost no electronic component or battery, making it convenient to ship. The inside is shaped like the human cochlear and acts as a filter for the sound. In fact, the sound is better than if a doctor was close to you!”
Currently, studies are taking place for the stethoscope to work for pregnant ladies and listen to the heartbeat of the unborn child and the carotid artery in the neck. The company is also developing their own app that will leverage augmented reality. For instance, a patient might not know the exact spot where the stethoscope should be placed on the chest, and the app will be able to guide them.
When asked about the response to the product, he shared: “We are selling it only in France at the moment, but the users are happy with it not just because of the price but because now they can limit their visits to the hospital for a regular check-up.”
He added: “At the moment, we are looking for a distributor and the Middle East and Asia is a good place to start as there are quite a few people in the region who might stay in small towns with limited access to a doctor.”
Another innovative medical device at the French pavilion is actiTENS, a wearable for chronic pain management that is app-controlled.
Nicolas Karst, Ph.D, President & Chief Executive Officer, Sublimed, shared that the company started six years ago, and its product, actiTENS, is a wearable Neuro Stimulator for chronic pain management. Karst explained: “The idea behind the device is to have something that is flexible, and it weighs only 50 grams. It works directly on the skin and allows the wearer to go around and perform their normal activities.”
actiTENS can treat different kinds of chronic pain. For example, it could be lower back pain that can be treated with a specific electrode. Moreover, it’s smartphone-controlled, so the wearer can choose the programme and the intensity of the stimulation directly through the app, which is free to download on Google Play Store and Apple Store.
He explained: “We also have some clinical data on knee osteoarthritis that was recently published in the Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease journal. It demonstrated that our device is more efficient and better tolerated than opioids, and it also has no adverse effects.”
actiTENS can also help women suffering from endometriosis by stimulating the tibial nerve.
“Currently, in France, we have more than 20,000 actiTENS users,” Karst highlighted. “We have received great interest, and patients are happy with the device. In the UAE, at the moment, we are working with one distributor who we met with at the previous edition of Arab Health. And we are hoping to expand more in the coming months.”