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MedWand CEO Robert Rose Shares How MedWand Puts Physical Exams in TeleMedicine Visits

Robert Rose

CEO and Co-Founder

MedWand Solutions, Inc.


MedWand Solutions, Inc.

Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor

CEOCFO Magazine

Published – January 24, 2022

CEOCFO: Mr. Rose, what is the idea behind MedWand Solutions, Inc?

Mr. Rose: It has been a long journey. The first iteration, the first idea of the product, came when my co-founder Dr. Samir Qamar, who is a direct primary care physician, was trying to help his sister in Chicago with an upper respiratory infection. He was trying to listen to her lungs over the phone and it did not work out very well. We knew each other from some other business, and he knew I had an engineering company. He asked me if we could develop something that would help him take vital signs, real time, over the internet.

Long story short, we decided to partner and build the initial product. Today we have a device about the size of a computer mouse that has the ability to take pulse oximetry, it has a 4K camera, an EKG, a digital stethoscope, and an IR thermometer- all in a little package that weighs less than 6 ounces. A doctor can control the device and view all the results in real time over the internet, from anywhere in the world, regardless of where the doctor or patient are located. That was the original premise.

We have come a long way since then and we have managed to create an entire ecosystem around it. We now can ingest third party Bluetooth devices like a blood pressure cuff, a spirometer, a glucometer, and a weight scale, all as part of our interface at the patient’s side, and seamlessly integrate with any electronic medical records system in the world, like Epic or Cerner, as long as they are HL7 or FHIR compatible, which is the standard today. We have just seamlessly integrated everything.

CEOCFO: Where were some of the biggest challenges? What were some of the roadblocks or revelations in developing the system?

Mr. Rose: From a development standpoint, the biggest challenges that we have had was first, how do I get my doctor to use it, and the other is what do we present to the patient that makes it easy to use, and effective. We had to create a device that basically has no buttons on it and can be controlled from anywhere else or through an app. The MedWand works with any PC or tablet and even a cell phone. When you are talking about things like a digital stethoscope and a remote EKG machine that did not really exist in the past, getting it package into something as small as ours is quite an accomplishment.

The next big challenge that we had came in the last couple of years, as we have moved towards our final FDA submission, has been to get through testing and validating the product as clinically accurate. MedWand is not a toy, and it is not something you are going to buy over the counter at a local store. This is a clinically accurate device that is comparable to what you will find in a hospital or a doctor’s office for each individual sensor set. Therefore, to get all of that into a 6-ounce package, and have it be hospital grade, was probably the biggest challenge. Then of course, COVID caused us all kinds of delays in getting clinical trials completed over the last two years, but we are finally through all of that.  

CEOCFO: What does the patient have to do? Is he/she holding the device up to their heart? Can it be held the wrong way?

Mr. Rose: We have several different use cases for the MedWand device. One, under direct control of the doctor, is a video conference system. For this, the patient only must log into their regular providers account, like if you have MyChart and Epic for example, and however you would create a normal telemedicine encounter with a doctor today. You would do the same thing with the MedWand, except the MedWand is attached to your computing device. That could be your cellphone, your tablet, your desktop computer, any device that has internet access. The doctor can have complete control over all the sensors and can also see the patient and what they are doing. This way, if he/she is listening to your heart and you are holding it on the wrong side of your chest, he can see if you are holding the device correctly and can tell you to “Move it over to your right a little bit, or move it a little bit in this direction,” giving real time instruction on how to work this product.

The second use case is with a lower-level extender, like a home healthcare worker. In this case, the device would be in the healthcare workers’ hands, and they would be doing the exam just like the way they do it today. But, instead of having to carry 6 different devices in and key all the results into the laptop, the MedWand has everything onboard and sends it automatically. In this case it is a trained professional holding the device, not the patient.

Then the third case would be, if a patient had MedWand at home and they were doing a store and forward type of exam, where they were not necessarily be talking to the doctor at that point in time. The screens on our app have avatars, videos, and all kinds of instructions on how to use the device for ease of use. Patients would be taught how to use MedWand by their healthcare provider before taking it home, and would be ideal for post-acute care, or a similar application.  

CEOCFO: How long does it typically take a doctor to get comfortable with using this device, or having his patient use the device? What has been the reaction from doctors; how do they get comfortable with the concept?

Mr. Rose: The reaction is fantastic! I had a doctor from a local hospital visit us at a show not too long ago and was so impressed with the quality of MedWand’s stethoscope that he said, “It brought tears to my eyes, it is better than my own stethoscope that I use in my office,”. At the time he was listening to someone’ heart in a different room over the internet using the MedWand! Doctors are familiar with all these devices. They know how to use a stethoscope, an EKG and a pulse oximeter and a thermometer and a camera and look in your ears and down your throat. Therefore, they have a pretty good comfort level. What has happened since COVID began is the incredible adoption of telemedicine as the pandemic has progressed. Doctors that did not use telemedicine have found that it works, and they can get paid for it, and they can see many patients and solve many problems without the patient having to come into the office.

What we have done is to put the diagnostic tools virtually back into the doctors’ hands in a telemedicine session that he or she would have had only in the office before, and doctors love it. They are just amazed at the results that they can get with a MedWand over the Internet. I would also like to mention that we have the ability, because of our ecosystem, to layer AI engines into our cloud, so that, let us say, a lower-level extender, like a home healthcare worker, is using the device with a patient and can-do murmur detection or detect arrythmias. We can detect 9 of the 12 detectable arrhythmias with the FDA approved AI engine in our cloud. This new AI is software as a device that the FDA has been doing approvals on now for the last few years, and without having to cause the hospital or the provider to do anything except check a box on our interface and get anomaly indicators. So, for example, if it sounds like afib, or it looks like afib, the system can let a doctor know so that it could be further investigated. There is a lot of help that we can give a doctor in pointing out possible anomalies in remote patients that may not otherwise have been detected.   

CEOCFO: Where are you right now in the development and commercialization process?

Mr. Rose:  We are a few short weeks, we hope, from final FDA approval. The product is finished, the software is finished, the integration into the first of the major EMR systems is finished and we are ready to launch. Our manufacturing ramp up is in final planning and testing phases, and we are hoping everything converges for a launch in the first half of this year. Now, the FDA has a lot of control over when that happens, obviously. We are a long way down the road with the FDA. We did a pre-submission last year for FDA guidance. Then, we did our final submission this past fall with the FDA, which is three thousand four hundred and twenty-seven pages thick because we have so many different devices in one consolidated unit.

We have had our first review with FDA post submission, and they came back with some questions of some things they would like clarified, and we are in the process of doing that, and we hope to get final approval very soon. Once we have it, we are ready to go. With today’s supply chain problems, we have been defensive there, and we brought in enough parts to build many thousands of MedWands over the next year, so I think we are in a good place. MedWands will be built here in the United States for the foreseeable future.     

CEOCFO: Would you be working on all the different fronts at once, the individual, the home healthcare worker, the individual home that wants to do telehealth? Would a healthcare working have several different pieces, or disposables?    

Mr. Rose: There are several different scenarios that we think we are going to have an immediate effect on. The first and the most obvious I think, is remote medicine. 60 million Americans live more than a half an hour drive from a healthcare facility, and many more just cannot get there for other reasons. It is not that they are that far away, but they are potentially not mobile. You also have Indian reservations and rural areas that have very limited access to healthcare. I believe we are going to have a significant impact there. The next place that we are going to be looking at is hospital systems, particularly for post-acute care. They will be sending home a patient with a little kit, a MedWand kit, that is morbidity specific. Let’s take for example COPD patients. We would send them home with a MedWand, plus a spirometer, which is integrated into our system, or maybe it is a cardiac patient, we would send them home with a MedWand, so now we have blood pressure, we have pulse oximetry, we have EKG, and we have stethoscope recordings, so there is a lot that we can do to remotely monitor those patients.

The goal is to reduce readmissions and to improve outcome, the more that we can track people on a real time basis, the better the outcomes are, and we are going to save lives. Just in simple screenings like in an office. Elon Musk has done amazing things, not the least of which is Starlink. Starlink is broadband access to the internet from anywhere. Therefore, imagine a village someplace, 500 miles from anywhere else, with 500 people. We could put a MedWand system and a Starlink system into that village, which does not have a doctor, and we could bring a virtual doctor real time, with all these tools, to be able to examine patients and even do triage screenings or just regular health screenings, anywhere, anytime, and the impact is huge. In the next 12 months, about 14 million people will have a stroke. Sixty percent of them are first timers, and of those first timers, over 20% are caused by undetected afib. We can detect afib in one minute with a MedWand, with a simple ECG strip, just as a healthcare screening. Imagine how many lives we could save.

The same thing applies in offices and wellness clinics. There is just a plethora of places we can go, but we want to focus on where we are going to have the most impact initially, and again, that’s remote healthcare, post-acute care, and also the safety of first responders while we are in a pandemic situation that does not seem to be letting up. There are so many different potential applications! Truck drivers are another one. Most of the trucks that are on the road are connected to the internet, but if they are sick out there, they are nowhere near their doctor, and they having to go into urgent care or the ER wherever they are. If they had a MedWand on board they could see their doctor, and their doctor could see them. Just let your imagination run wild on what this technology is going to mean for delivering healthcare.     

CEOCFO: How are you reaching out to the various entities that need to know about MedWand?

Mr. Rose: We have made no secret about what we have been doing since we first appeared on stage in 2015 at Health 2.0. We have been at shows. We came to CES in 2016. We have been to Arab Health in Dubai. We have been to ATA, and we have let the world know that we are out there. We have to be careful about not marketing the product per se, because we do not have pre-market approval from the FDA yet. As soon as we do then our marketing approach will change. Honestly however, everybody has been coming to us. We have not really had to reach out on our own. We are catching a whole lot more than we are fishing for!

We have had calls from the Defense Health Agency, HHS, Trinity Healthcare and so many others who have seen us at various shows, and they have heard of us through their colleagues. We do a lot of social networking. My partner Dr. Samar Qamar who is cofounder with me, and I are both very active on LinkedIn. We have a great PR person who is wonderful with social networking too, so as I said, we have made no secret as to what we are doing. The phone rings constantly and I really believe that we are going to have much more demand than we are going to be able to meet over the first couple of years.

CEOCFO: What is the competitive landscape for MedWand?

Mr. Rose: The only device out there that we could say was even close is a company called Tyto Care, and they make a device that has some similarities with fewer features, but they have been focused on the end users and a B to C model, and honestly, it is different enough from ours that while it is competition in some respects, it is not that close. Beyond that, it has been something that has absolutely amazed me for the 7 plus years that we have been at this, is that no significant competitor has emerged. It is only a matter of time, I am sure, but the landscape, or the need out there is so great, that I think the world could use many of these types of devices. The more that we put real sensors, real medical grade stuff, into the hands of patients, the better off our healthcare system is going to be.

The lack of competition is a little bit astounding to me, but I am sure it will not stay that way forever. What we have is more than a device. MedWand created an entire ecosystem – we have an AI platform, we have seamless integration back and forth into EHR systems, and no one else is doing all of that. It is nice to be out here first, and we certainly have gotten the accolades for it. But it is time now for us to get the product to market and start saving lives. It has been frustrating, during the pandemic, not to be able to help, although we are getting there. We are almost there - As a company dedicated to advancing the future of healthcare, we are proud to offer solutions that could lead to lowering costs, improving health equity, and saving lives. We are poised to be the next generation of telehealth.

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“This is a clinically accurate device that is comparable to what you will find in a hospital or a doctor’s office for each individual sensor set. Therefore, to get all of that into a 6-ounce package, and have it be hospital grade, was probably the biggest challenge.”
Robert Rose






“The reaction is fantastic! I had a doctor from a local hospital visit us at a show not too long ago and was so impressed with the quality of MedWand’s stethoscope that he said, “It brought tears to my eyes, it is better than my own stethoscope that I use in my office,”. At the time he was listening to someone’ heart in a different room over the internet using the MedWand!”
Robert Rose