Israel’s Montfort, a medical startup, has introduced its real-time, remote neurological monitor. The company’s board includes Peter LeWitt, professor of neurology at Detroit’s Wayne State University School of Medicine and director of Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders program at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital.
The solution, called EncephaLog, is cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and used at Henry Ford Health System. It uses smartphone technology, big data, and artificial intelligence to conduct digital neurological tests for patients with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, and for patients with post-COVID-19 symptoms, some of which are similar to those observed in neurological conditions.
“About 1 billion people around the world suffer from neurological and psychiatric disorders,” says Ziv Yekutieli, co-founder and CEO of Montfort. “Diagnostics and treatment are based upon short and infrequent clinical visits, thus limiting patients’ quality of care and increasing treatment costs – about $800 billion in the U.S. alone.”
EncephaLog is a mobile app that provides a digital version for standard neurological tests. Traditionally, patients have two choices for neurological evaluation: a physician conducts a test in a clinic, which is subjective and not quantitative, or the patient is sent to a special laboratory, which increases evaluation costs and delays the time for obtaining results.
Because not many patients have the opportunity to be evaluated in a lab, few are properly evaluated, delaying detection and diagnostics, according to the app creators.
The app is designed to bring lab-quality testing to physicians in any clinic. Patients can also use the app to test themselves during their regular activities, as evaluating a patient one time in a lab is not representative of patients’ well-being in their daily lives. Physicians have access to patients’ data through the app.
The app comes in two versions: an app to be used in a clinical setting, and a home version for patients. The solution is designed to make clinical research simpler, diagnostics faster, and ongoing treatment more efficient.
In recent months, Montfort has seen a growing demand around the world for its EncephaLog solution, which is used by hospitals, medical corporations, and research institutes.
“Before the pandemic, remote checkups were already gaining traction, (and) COVID-19 lockdown made them inevitable,” Yekutieli says. “Moreover, many countries are starting to reimburse remote monitoring costs, which adds a strong economic incentive for tele-medicine. Our app allows standard neurological examination to be conducted anytime, anywhere, by using a standard smartphone.
“For reasons that are not fully understood at this stage, the coronavirus is associated with several neurological symptoms that may have long lasting effect,” Yekutieli says. “Our platform now offers a post-COVID-19 test protocol which covers relevant motor and cognitive functions.”
During the past six months, Montfort has provided Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre in Brazil with a remote patient monitoring platform for monitoring hundreds of health professionals infected with COVID-19.
Yekutieli, who has a doctorate degree, is an electric engineer and brain scientist with more than 20 years of experience linking between the disciplines. Dima Gershman, chief technology officer and information systems engineering expert, is the other co-founder.