Identifying cardiac arrhythmia with an app: an interview with Lars Grieten, CEO and co-founder at Fibricheck

Identifying cardiac arrhythmia with an app: an interview with Lars Grieten, CEO and co-founder at Fibricheck

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It is time for another interview with yet another recent winner of the EIT Digital Challenge. We are talking to Lars Grieten, CEO, and co-founder at Fibricheck. The Belgian company based in Hasselt was one of the winners in the category Digital Wellbeing in 2016. With Fibricheck’s smartphone app, users can monitor each beat-to-beat interval of their heart rate with the highest accuracy possible to define what kind of arrhythmia is present. During the interview, we spoke about how the company is progressing, their latest achievements and the role that EIT Digital has played in their successes.

The technology

Fibricheck consists of two parts: the app for the patient and the interface for the physician. Fibricheck uses state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms to interpret results automatically. Subsequently, it generates output for the healthcare professional, who can visually confirm these findings. These results will be visually presented in an easy to understand format. Three factors are important for this visualization.

An image of how Fibricheck visualizes their data

First, the data will represent a measurement period of 60 seconds. Secondly, a tachogram will be provided with an index based time representation of the distance between each heartbeat. Lastly, a Lorentz plot will be used to visualize clustering patterns between the previous and current interval. In short, the visualization will provide information on how long the intervals between heartbeats are and whether there are differences between those intervals during a measurement period of 60 seconds. Subsequently, a healthcare professional will be able to identify any particular signs of arrhythmia.

What is the current state of affairs at Fibricheck?

Grieten: “FibriCheck is a medical software solution that enables you to monitor heart rhythm disorders using your smartphone camera. We certified this product as a class IIa diagnostic device and is currently available on doctor prescription. It means that we aim for FibriCheck to be a medical device and to build trust and confidence with physicians, so they stay in the driving seat to prescribe Fibricheck to the right patients. We launched our product on May 17th and are currently expanding our sales activities.

 

What did you learn and achieve during the EIT Digital Challenge?

“How to network, how to network even better and finally, some more networking. EIT Digital opened the world to us. They enabled us to speak to experts in different markets and helped us to learn and identify how to approach other countries quickly.”

Funding rounds

This statement proves to be quite accurate when looking at Fibricheck’s funding rounds. In 2014, Grants4Apps invested a small sum of around 42.000 euros into the startup. But after having participated in the EIT Digital Challenge in 2016, they closed a much bigger investment round a year later. On May 9th, 2017, FibriCheck raised a €1.4M Series A funding round for further acceleration and internationalization. The leading investors of this latest funding round were LRM investment fund and Volta Ventures, investors who enable startups from the Benelux to grow internationally.

International recognition

Last week on September 7th, Fibricheck won a prestigious award at the biggest cardiological convention in the world, ESC 2017 in Barcelona. For four days, 30.000 cardiologists came together to attend at presentations and pitches. And for the first time in the history of ESC, a lot of attention was given to digital wellbeing. Fibricheck even received an award for being the most promising project in the field. So in short, participating in the EIT Digital Challenge did enable Fibricheck to reach international recognition.

You won an award in the category Digital Wellbeing in the EIT Digital Challenge 2016. How do you expect the sector to evolve?

“Digital wellbeing is growing; we are starting to realize what its impact is in everyday life. We are also beginning to apprehend that digital health is more than having a wearable but that it is focusing on the application. It is what you do with the wearable and what you offer! Concrete solutions are finding its way into the market, and more and more adoption is taking place. There are still considerable challenges, but with the growth and maturation in quality, these solutions will continue the digital (R)EVOLUTION.”

Easy to use

Fibricheck can be installed on any smartphone, making it very easy to use at any time and anywhere. Today, cardiologists, neurologists, and practitioners are actively prescribing Fibricheck to their patients in screening settings, as a unique event tracking tool and for post-treatment care of atrial fibrillation. The application gives patients more insight on their health, but it also is an example of how a proper implementation of digital healthcare products could improve the sector.

EIT Digital Challenge 2017

Fibricheck is another example of how a startup can gain international visibility and recognition through the EIT Digital Challenge. Are you part of a tech scaleup that, like Fibricheck, wants to become a true European player? Do you want to gain international visibility and access to international markets? If the answers to these questions are yes, what are you waiting for? The EIT Digital Challenge 2017 is open for applications.

Scaleups can apply until October 8th, 2017.

 

-“Controlling your entire smart house with Homey: an interview with Stefan Witkamp, co-founder of Athom”, http://siliconcanals.nl/news/startups/controlling-entire-smart-house-homey-interview-stefan-witkamp-co-founder-athom/?preview_id=10889&preview_nonce=3318247b54&post_format=standard&_thumbnail_id=10903&preview=true

-“Secure sharing made easy: an interview with Storro, winner of the EIT Digital Challenge 2015”, http://siliconcanals.nl/news/startups/secure-sharing-made-easy-interview-storro-winner-eit-digital-challenge-2015/

-“EIT Digital Challenge 2017 gives tech scaleups the chance to become a true European player”, http://siliconcanals.nl/events/eit-digital-challenge-2017/

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