Med-Tech Innovation News spoke to Udi Kantor, CEO and co-founder of Inovytec, about its offerings and the need for better medical tools in critical moments of care.
Tell us about Inovytec and how it all started?
I co-founded Inovytec in response to the somewhat limited first-line medical equipment that was available during my time as a field officer. It made me wonder how many lives could we save if we had technologically exceptional products that could be easily used by care providers on hand? How could we have a faster and more effective initial treatment than what we currently find acceptable? How could we empower everyone to be a first responder while giving the professionals the enhanced tools that enable them to act quickly and precisely?
I worked closely with doctors and paramedics to explore simple and effective solutions. The LUBO was created from the unique military experience of people who served in the military special forces. We developed additional models for civil use tackling the fundamental airway management two-minutes challenge at the field, LUBO was our first product introduced to the market followed by Ventway Sparrow and later the SALI – our advanced critical aid system.”
Which markets do you serve?
Our life-saving devices has been selected by leading healthcare facilities in Italy, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Israel, South Africa, APAC, LATAM, USA, and also in the UK.
Can you tell us about who you work with to develop your products?
Our R&D teams works with leading physicians in the fields of emergency, cardiac and pulmonary medicine as well as paramedics working in organisations around the world (such as the Norwegian Air Ambulances and the Israeli Magen David Adom). We also work with the medical corps from different militaries (such as the IDF and the Swedish Defence).
Can you give us a bit more insight into SALI?
The goal of SALI is to allow anyone to act as first responders. In doing so, we hope to significantly cut down on the time that early treatment is administered to a victim of a cardiac or respiratory event, which is a significant factor in improving outcomes. The SALI itself is a device that can be used in the community (public and private areas), or anywhere that first treatment might be delayed (such as remote locations). The SALI includes several features such as airway management, automated oxygen therapy, advanced vital monitoring capabilities and defibrillation. Each has been designed to be intuitively used by a non-medical professional. While it is in use, it connects to an emergency dispatch where a trained operator can help guide the user throughout the process of treatment and send vital signs data to paramedics and hospital.
The SALI creates safe zones in which first response time is reduced by such a degree that people who suffer from sudden medical events will be far safer.
If this were to work in the UK for example, it looks like something that would work across an NHS Trust in that it’d be used on a network of hospitals?
The model is flexible and allows integration with different EMS and medical organisations to establish “Safe Zones” in the community. A real-time connection between all relevant services (nearby caregivers, EMS call centres, ambulance services and hospitals), which significantly increases the medical treatment effectiveness and improves patient outcomes. SALI provides a comprehensive solution to any medical emergency happening outside the hospital. In Romania, for instance, we worked directly with the ministry of internal affairs, which led a campaign to inform the public about the presence of SALI system throughout the city. We could definitely integrate the SALI with the NHS Trusts along with dental clinics, pharmacy chains, as well as non-healthcare organisations.
How does SALI actually work? And how was it developed?
We can refer you to this video.
SALI has been developed to provide all critical features required according to current market needs. It presents an innovative solution, dealing with all links of the ‘chain-of-survival’ and providing far greater treatment, monitoring and communication capabilities than competitive solutions available in the market. Each one of the existing SALI’s components and subsystems has been tested separately in a laboratory environment. In addition, we have tested the integrated SALI (entry-level product) in laboratory environment, including performance of simulations which demonstrated that SALI has been tested according to the strict guidelines of the CE and has received the CE approval for use
What kind of work went into developing, and making, Ventway Sparrow?
For the Ventway, we set out with the goal of creating a mobile, robust and affordable family of ventilators that could be easily used in the field by EMS and military paramedics as well as for hospital transfers and mobile homecare patients without sacrificing quality. Currently, most high-performance transport ventilators are heavy and complicated. We worked closely with hospitals, the Israeli military and experts in the field of emergency medicine and respiration to design the additional ventilator models. The result was a family of turbine-driven highly portable ventilators which are not dependent on external oxygen and weigh only 1-1.3 kg.
Can you tell us about the supply chain challenges that you had developing it at a time when parts were in such high demand?
From the beginning of 2020, even before an outbreak of COVID-19, we experienced a sharp increase in demand for the Ventway Sparrow. This situation forced us to establish an alternative supply chain to increase and ensure our production capacity. Thus, when the pandemic unfortunately hit, we were ready to meet the demand. To accomplish this task we invested heavily in new partnerships, collaborating with industry leaders like the Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI) and establishing a second production site which has the capacity to produce 70-80 units a day, making Inovytec Medical Solutions Ltd the largest manufacturer of ventilators in Israel and a rising force in the world of ventilation.
How advanced is the ventilator compared to the more standard devices that we see?
The ventilator can be used in any situation and on any ventilated patient, from emergency occurring in the field, into an intra-hospital transport (to/from ICU and ER, to surgery, recovery, imaging including MRI).
Can it be used to treat the most critical patients?
Yes. For critical patients, it is most relevant for transfers to create a continuum of care from the field to the hospital and within the hospital, such as from a complex open-heart surgery to a CT scan, the recovery room and back to the continuation of the surgery.
Give us some insight as to the gap in the market you spotted for Lubo?
The LUBO is primarily focused on first-aid airway management and allows any caregiver to address the fundamental airway opening challenge thereby preventing possible neurological damages due to a lack of oxygen. LUBO is applicable for a variety of situations ranging from unconsciousness, trauma, CPR and even mass casualty incidents, where airway management is always an issue.
The LUBO is the only non-invasive device which can open a non-responsive person’s airway by performing the jaw thrust manoeuvre while also protecting the spine. It allows a first responder to attend to the critical medical needs of the patient without the fear of a compromised airway.
In addition, LUBO can support ventilation by securing the upper-airway during non-invasive ventilation when using an Ambu mask or a ventilation mask, making it an ultimate supporting tool to the Ventway Sparrow in non-invasive ventilation.
How was the product developed?
Similar to our other products, we benefited from the unique interconnectivity Israel has to offer. In this case, we partnered with members of Israel’s elite medical evacuation search and rescue unit. They were quick to point out the specific gaps in care, and we sought to tackle this critical challenge by developing a tool to automate the manoeuvre so they could care for more patients in a better manner.