Remote healthcare offerings a hit for RedZinc across Europe
An innovative platform that has the potential to ease hospital overcrowding is ripe for EIIS investment
Digital and tele-health innovations came under the spotlight during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the subsequent rapid development of these solutions most definitely had a positive effect on healthcare in Ireland. Despite this, our healthcare system remains under immense strain.
There is a high trolley count of patients without beds and the race is on to find new and improved solutions to treat the patient quickly and well, while easing the pressure on our hospitals, doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers.
Currently raising EIIS funds for its expansion plans, RedZinc has developed an innovative platform that allows hospitals to release certain patients early and continue to monitor them at home, in theory going some way to solving our overcrowding issues.
“The big issue facing the HSE right now is congestion: there are simply not enough beds for the number of patients attending hospitals,” says Donal Morris, chief executive and founder of RedZinc. “We’re developing the ‘Home Hospital’ platform, so if a doctor wants to send a patient home early, what we would call ‘Early Supported Discharge’, they can wear sensors that allow the nurses to monitor them remotely.
“This is a huge initiative in Europe right now, that the patient’s own bed can be the hospital bed. The NHS in the UK is planning to develop 30-40 home hospital beds for every 100,000 population. In Ireland that’s about 2,000 beds, so it’s a huge opportunity to help ease the congestion in Irish hospitals.”
RedZinc specialises in wearable video cameras for connected paramedics and a remote doctor can see an emergency patient remotely, for example immediately after a car crash, and support the paramedic with diagnosis and treatment.
RedZinc specialises in the BlueEye web portal to manage real-time video streaming and remote access for healthcare use in facilities such as outpatients clinics, as well as in other industries.
BlueEye is suitable for clinicians, emergency doctors, paramedics and other healthcare workers, allowing them to deliver fast, high-quality remote care to patients, which results in better patient outcomes, increased efficiencies and reduced operational costs.
RedZinc’s first medical product offering was for the emergency services, as Morris explains. “We have two angles to our technology: the first one is the emergency services, which we developed with the help of funding from the Horizon Research Program in conjunction with many emergency services across Europe.
The idea is that a paramedic or a nurse can wear our video camera, which sends back a stream to a remote location so they can get help and advice from a senior paramedic or a senior doctor. This can accelerate treatment for high-risk patients or to help treat at the scene.
“We are unique in the ambulance market. There are some companies that produce virtual reality glasses but these don’t really suit paramedics and it reduces their vision.”
This type of remote healthcare was then put to a slightly different use in 2020. “When the pandemic arrived, we quickly developed our technology as a platform for outpatient clinics,” he said.
“Often the doctor just has to talk to the patient rather than them having to physically come into the hospital or clinic, so our platform allowed those healthcare professionals to consult with those patients over video.”
RedZinc experienced success with both offerings, and is confident that the home hospital technology will bring the company to a whole new level of success. “There are different companies offering home hospital platforms but it’s a huge market and our platform has many advantages over our competitors.
For instance, we have an open platform, it’s easy to use and adapt and we use remote monitoring sensors. This puts us in a really strong position in this market.”
Not surprisingly, there is plenty of interest from investors in the company so far – which has led to RedZinc opening a second round of EIIS funding.
“Our product is in with the HSE since the start of the pandemic, and we’ve invested about €4.3 million in the product in the last few years. We raised funds before through Spark CrowdFunding in 2021 and, thanks to that, we have been able to build quite a large sales pipeline across Europe.
“We’re now talking to various investors across Europe, and the European Investment Bank is interested in coming in with us for a subsequent and significant investment round. We thought we’d open a round again as it’s a great opportunity for Irish people to invest and get a tax break.”
The opportunity for investors, says Morris, is huge. “It’s a chance for investors to come in at a very attractive price – and we’re a business that is looking to scale and take advantage of the opportunity that we see.
“There are 2.3 million hospital beds in Europe, and using the figures projected by the NHS, there will be about 175,000 home hospital beds over the next five years. It’s a huge market and we’re ready for it. We already have a base in Spain, and we also operate in Scandinavia, Ireland and Portugal.
“This time we’re looking for about €500,000 and at the moment, about half of that is committed. The technology is already built, so we’ll use the funds for sales and marketing activities in the various markets in Europe.”
Why it’s in the news: Developing a ‘home hospital’ platform with the ability to ease congestion in hospitals