The firm Withings, French leader in e-health, announces this Wednesday joining the Digital Alliance against the Covid-19 and unveils several initiatives to help research and hospitals.
At the end of spring, the French Withings should have quietly launched on the market its new connected watch, the ScanWatch, three times awarded at the CES in Las Vegas in January 2020. And it is certain, it was going to be a hit, with its ability to perform an electrocardiogram (ECG) in a few seconds and its measurement of the oxygen saturation level in the blood (SpO2) capable of identifying possible sleep apnea during the night. A world first! Even Apple’s latest watch, yet a connected health rolls, doesn’t have this feature. The timing was perfect, the launch scheduled, the tests carried out successfully. Only one last validation was missing, in the process of being obtained.
Alas, this beautiful program took to the water a month ago, when France, after China and Italy, began to hold its breath under the assaults of the Covid -19. And the president of Withings wondered, like all of us, what was falling on his head. With the added rage of knowing that within a few months, one of its products, as simple as a watch worn on the wrist, could perhaps have helped to save lives:
“When you are a business owner and you have 230 people in charge, this crisis is a source of stress, you must not hide it. But we can’t help it. So very quickly, we wondered how to orient our work, how our expertise in the field of health would be able to help fight against this virus. We were all motivated to act! ” confides to “the Obs” Eric Carreel. Founding President of Withings also admits being contacted daily by hospitals and public bodies “ to find emergency solutions “.
The Withings temporal “thermo” offered to hospitals
Result, this Wednesday, the specialist in connected health objects announces, in addition to offering thermometers to hospitals, a series of initiatives to contribute, on its scale, to the fight against Covid 19. First step, capital: unite strengths to other players by joining the Digital Alliance against Covid 19 and providing it with financial, scientific and technological support. Composed of digital companies or large groups (AG2R La Mondiale, the Postal Insurance Bank, the Johnson & Johnson laboratory, etc.), this consortium is at the origin of a general public information website maladiecoronavirus.fr, based on an algorithm developed by the Institut Pasteur and the AP-HP. This questionnaire will thus be accessible from Monday on the Withings Health Mate application in chatbot version.
Identify Covid-19 “weak signals” using connected devices
Concerning the ScanWatch, capable of measuring the rate of oxygen saturation, an essential measurement within the framework of this disease, Eric Carreel affirms ” working hard “ with the various regulatory bodies to make it available as quickly as possible and affirms today that the first units will be offered to be used for patient follow-up programs, in collaboration with hospital stakeholders. He explains :
“ There is an overwhelming need to know when to ask a patient to go to the hospital. We must manage to moderate calls that are too late and for that, we must manage the data that we can collect in advance. “
Another lever operated by Withings: helping to identify weak signs that are precursors of the disease and its complications via various research programs, including the epidemiological study carried out by the Institut Pasteur using the questionnaire from the Digital Alliance . Because variations in heart rate and nocturnal respiratory disturbances could be warning signs of the disease or concomitant to its evolution. Hence the interest in collecting data “in real life”. Anonymized data, specifies Eric Carreel, that Withings, thanks to its various connected devices (scales, thermometers, watches, blood pressure monitors and above all, its recent Sleep analyzer) is able to provide.
The visionary boss of this SME, based in Issy-les-Moulineaux, has always been convinced that connected health objects, thanks to long-term patient monitoring and long-term monitoring, are one of the keys to tomorrow. Americans from Apple to Microsoft have understood this for a long time. This tragic episode is likely to prove him right.