News

BioMed SA eyes new road map to greater economic wins

BioMed SA President Ann Stevens (Photo by Lyndsey Johnson) By W. Scott Bailey, San Antonio Business ...

Diabetes, Infectious Diseases Early Focus of San Antonio Biomed Plan

David Holley, Xconomy Texas —  San Antonio — [Updated 12/14/17, 11:54 p.m. See below.] ...

Industry Publications

The Mission

The Mission is published by the University of Texas Health Science Center.

UTSA Discovery

UTSA Discovery is published annually for the Office of the Vice President for Research by the Office ...

News
AirStrip breaking into new markets outside of hospitals
May 17, 2015

AirStrip's president, Dr. Matt Patterson, demonstrates the company's mobile applications that are used by hospitals and doctors to monitor patients' health in real time. Photo: William Luther /San Antonio Express-News

By Peggy O'Hare, San Antonio Express-News

Dr. Matt Patterson predicts a day will soon come when patients having chest pains can be evaluated remotely for signs of a heart attack without ever leaving their homes.

As president of AirStrip, a San Antonio health care mobility company, that is his job - figuring out new ways of using patients' up-to-the-minute vital signs and health data that the firm streams constantly to physicians' and nurses' smartphones and tablets, regardless of where those health care providers are.

"No matter where I am, basically, anything that this patient is hooked up to or any data that was collected, it's in the palm of my hand and I can find it," Patterson said of AirStrip's technology.
AirStrip already has built a loyal following among hospitals and physicians. Today it's expanding into new environments, such as patients' homes, to help prevent unnecessary, expensive trips to emergency rooms and long waits for care.

The company recently rolled out an application allowing health care providers to remotely monitor the health of expectant mothers and their babies at home after acquiring Sense4Baby Inc., a wireless fetal and maternal monitoring system, last year. The firm also forged new ways of monitoring cardiac patients.

Now AirStrip is pushing to expand its remote monitoring capabilities to include other patients outside the hospital - such as those with diabetes, lung diseases and other clinical conditions or chronic disorders.

It's also set its sights on ways to provide proactive rather than reactive care - such as using vital signs to predict if and when a patient might deteriorate - so providers can stop the danger before it arises.

"If you ask anybody who's in policy or studying the economic impact of health care, they'll tell you the biggest change can be made in reaching people, partnering with them, influencing them, coaching them on their health and being a good caregiver," said Patterson, a former medical director of the Naval Special Warfare Center.

Physicians using AirStrip in the hospital setting like the convenience and the immediacy it offers.
Instead of being paged or called at home by an answering service - then calling a hospital to find out which patient is in distress and hearing staff's interpretation of the problem - physicians using AirStrip's software can grab their smartphones or iPads at any time to check their patients' status and evaluate what should be done for them.

One of those doctors is Dr. Jose Farina, Metropolitan Methodist Hospital's chief of obstetrics. He has used AirStrip for four or five years - long enough that he has upgraded his iPhone several times.

"I started using (AirStrip) with an iPhone 4," Farina said. "I use it almost daily. If I have a patient in labor, I use it ... It's my way of finding out whether I have a patient in labor or not in the middle of the night if I wake up."

Baptist Health System's obstetricians also use AirStrip's technology. "It allows them to be up to the minute, up to the second on what their patients are doing, how their labor is progressing," said Dr. David Siegel, regional chief medical officer for Baptist's parent company, Tenet Healthcare. As a result, physicians are "able to intervene if they need to, right away," he said.

AirStrip can be used by other providers as well. Nurses interrupted during hospital rounds by an alarm from a patient's room down the hall can look at their iPhones or mobile devices to see if the alarm was triggered by a true emergency.

The private company behind the technology was formed in 2004 by San Antonio obstetrician Cameron Powell and local software developer Trey Moore. AirStrip, which now has 110 employees in 14 states, is headquartered in San Antonio and has offices in Nashville, Chicago and La Jolla, California.

In its early days, AirStrip's applications ran in separate silos. That changed three years ago when the company rolled out its mobile software platform, AirStrip One, which aggregates all of a patient's up-to-the-minute health data in one place. The platform lets physicians see all of a patient's vital signs, test results and medical records - live - on a single cellphone screen or iPad screen.

Since then, AirStrip's sales have grown significantly. Its mobile platform now is being used by 350 hospitals nationwide, and an additional 176 hospitals are under contract to incorporate the technology by the middle of next year, said CEO Alan Portela. That's a big uptick from the 90 U.S. hospitals that were using AirStrip in 2011.

The bulk of the growth happened once the Affordable Care Act was fully implemented in 2012, Portela said.

AirStrip experienced new sales growth of more than 70 percent last year and is on track to achieve double-digit growth this year, company officials reported.

Meanwhile, the company is working on ways to predict emergencies before they happen so such events can be averted. For instance, the company is working with IBM and the University of Michigan to predict when critical care patients might crash or need life support measures.

"Instead of getting very, very good at responding to a patient who's become quite sick and intervening on them in a heroic way, we are instead finding out when they're about to get sick 30 to 90 minutes ahead of time and prompting somebody to go take a look at that patient before something goes wrong," Patterson said of AirStrip's work in Michigan. "And that is transformational in health care for sure."

Such forecasting tools have the potential to expand into new markets nationwide.

"We are already predicting ... this is going to be the biggest area of expansion for AirStrip," Portela said. "It's going to be all around proactively managing population health. This is the future."

 

Stay informed. Subscribe to BioMed SA news alerts.