ERT’s Jason Eger and VPG Medical’s Jean-Philippe Couderc dive into the limitless potential and promise of passive health monitoring in the clinical trial industry.

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Podcast Notes:


Introduction [00:50]

We welcome Jean-Phillippe Couderc from VPG Medical as he joins Trial Better to discuss passive health monitoring and VPG Medical’s technology, HealthKam.

What is passive health monitoring? [02:02]

Passive health monitoring, or opportunistic monitoring, embeds sensors into technologies that a patient uses in everyday life – like smartphones, bath mats, and toilet seats. These devices allow for multiple points of data collection and place minimal constraints on the patient’s life. Typical remote monitoring technologies require a patient to take responsiblity of the device, adding a contraint into the patient’s normal activity. For example, a patient using an Apple Watch is responsible for charging the device and remembering to wear it every day. Passive monitoring addresses this challenge.

What are some of the challenges of passive health monitoring?[04:25]

Since passive monitoring technologies don’t disrupt the patient’s lifestyle or require any behavioral changes, you need to ensure the sensors will be used consistently. This requires identification of devices that the patient naturally uses on a daily basis, which may change based on certain demographics or the patient’s routine.

How do we ensure high-quality data from opportunistic monitoring?[06:50]

With regular monitoring, you have more reliable, good quality data (for example, measurements from an ECG electrode making direct contact with the skin.) However, these methods also have shorter monitoring periods with physical constraints. ECG patches can only be used for up to 15 days because the connection between the skin and electrode loses viability.

With passive monitoring, the sensor is far from the patient, so external factors have more of an impact and you have less control over the data quality. However, artificial intelligence algorithms can be used to identify which data is actually valuable. Because passive health monitoring constantly collects data, you have hundreds of measurements; even if 50% of the measurements aren’t usable, you still have enough valid data.

How do patients feel about privacy with passive data collection? [09:03]

Technology today is designed so the patient’s information can be kept private, and there are solutions to avoid sharing PHI. For example, data can be encrypted, or technologies can be designed to collect only information related to the study (and not the patient’s name, address, etc.) Data privacy is changing, and the relationship consumers have with their data is, as well; patients are more comfortable with sharing their data than ever before. In some cases, patients who are terminally ill may be willing to sacrifice their privacy because the potential value of the information collected outweighs their concerns.

What is HealthKam? [11:45]

HealthKam uses the cameras embedded into smart devices to monitor your face and extract information about your pulse. As the quality of these cameras has increased, it has paved the way for passive health monitoring solutions like HealthKam. Each time your heart beats, it effects your blood pressure and causes a subtle change in the color of your facial skin. HealthKam’s unique technology detects these changes and extracts the person’s heart rate without touching them.

How does HealthKam work? [14:16]

HealthKam uses facial recognition to identify the patient, and then passively runs in the background while the patient uses their device. This technology isn’t restricted to smartphones (which patients may only use for short periods of time), but other devices like tablets, which may be used for longer periods, such as the duration of a movie or TV episode.

How will passive health monitoring impact the clinical research industry?[17:00]

Most arguments focus on the burden micropayments can put on sites. It’s yet another technology that sites have to engage in, and it can be difficult to go through the set-up process and train staff. However, sponsors need to consider these things not just with micropayments, but all with technology, so it’s important to take a step back and determine if micropayments can provide a benefit to the trial.

Podcast Transcripts:


Jean-Philippe Couderc is an entrepreneur and scientist with experience in the development of groundbreaking technologies with multiple examples of successful commercialization in the field of cardiac safety. Internationally recognized authority in the development of computerized technologies related to cardiology. Scientific founder and Chief Technology Officer of iCardiac Technologies Inc, a company which was purchased in December 2017 by ERT.

Founder and Director of the Telemetric and Holter ECG warehouse, an initiative developed with the US FDA under a private public partnership and funded by the National Institute of Health. Holding a position of Special Government Employee at the US-FDA until 2015. Characterized by a creative mind leading to translational scientific discoveries which have been highlighted by major media including the Wall Street Journal.

For questions about HealthKam, contact Jean-Philippe Couderc,

Also find more information on HealthKam at VPG Medical.


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