Entremo is an innovative startup developing medical monitoring systems to replace manual processes with smart digital solutions. The company is actually a spinoff started by a young team of six innovators who delivered a winning idea at this year’s #EUvsVirus Hackathon. We talked to them about their story and future plans!
Congratulations on winning the Health and Life category at the European Commission’s #EUvsVirus hackathon! What was your winning project?
Entremo: Thank you! As Team Discover, we built the prototype of a wearable device system that greatly simplifies and accelerates medical monitoring. Healthcare workers including nurses and doctors spend a lot of their time checking up on patients one at a time. Not only is this an effort-intensive manual process, but it also involves physical contact which in a pandemic raises the risks of infection.
Using our product, important vital signs of patients may be monitored remotely in real-time. Data is transmitted to a central server where dashboards allow medical staff to simply access and monitor the most important parameters about the condition of multiple patients. This means that our product enables nurses to check up on 100 patients in the time it now takes to check up on just one – all this remotely, with automated alerts and notifications about deteriorating cases.
No one on the Entremo team has a medical background. How did the idea of this MedTech product come about?
E: Our main goal was to come up with an idea that actually made a difference, something that really helped during this COVID-19 pandemic. It all started when we took part in a variety of pandemic-related contests back in April 2020. We talked to a lot of doctors and other medical professionals to understand their problems and to see if we could create some kind of digital solution to support their needs.
We found that while there were existing solutions for monitoring the vital signs of patients in intensive care units, these were heavy and expensive systems that needed expert training to operate. For the sub-ICU level, there didn’t seem to be an affordable, scalable, and easy-to-operate solution to patient monitoring. As the COVID case count increased, this became a pressing and exponentially growing problem for healthcare practitioners.
This wasn’t the Entremo team’s first hackathon. What was your experience like at the #EUvsVirus event?
E: That’s right, we’ve taken part in over 15 hackathons in the past 4 years now. We’re a group of young engineers studying across Europe, so we rarely get to meet in person. In addition to being great events in terms of professional development, hackathons also give us a chance to hang out and get creative with our friends!
The #EUvsVirus hackathon started on a Friday afternoon with us brainstorming ideas and talking to doctors. We knew instantly that we’d be developing some sort of hardware, so we spent much of the day acquiring all the necessary sensors, microcontrollers, etc. Two long nights and lots of hard work followed, and by Sunday, we had a prototype of our 3D-printed glasses with sensors.
Your story didn’t end there. What’s happened since winning the Hackathon?
E: We founded our startup company Entremo to further develop our product, which has since been refined into a watch-like wearable device.
Intland Software’s support is invaluable in helping us rise to the challenge of delivering a marketable piece of medical technology. Admittedly, we were a little naive when we founded our company: since our background is in engineering rather than healthcare, we didn't have a clear view of the challenges of regulatory compliance or product certification processes…
Intland not only offered us free access to Retina, they also provided consulting on questions of compliance, and have helped us gain transparency in managing product documentation with the tool. We’re still in the process of moving all of our development processes into Intland Retina, but we already know that it’s going to save us so much headache when preparing for compliance audits! Our goal now is to get our product in front of a notified body as soon as possible, and Intland Retina will help us a great deal in getting there.
What aspects of Entremo’s success are you the most proud of?
E: As a team of young engineers, we were competing against almost a thousand projects at the Hackathon – some of which were existing startup companies! Soon after our win, we got a chance to take part in EIT Health and GE Healthcare’s incubation program named Health Venture Lab. As part of the EIT Digital Innovation Activity program, we’re now working with 4 partner organizations: ELTE, ELTE-Soft, Mohanet, and InnoTractor.
We’re happy to be part of this healthcare network and we’ve learned a lot about starting pilot projects, building relations with hospitals, certification and marketing, and so on. We’re in touch with a number of hospitals and healthcare professionals, and we’re now hoping we’ll be able to start pilot projects in Hungarian hospitals by December 2020. Getting there in such a short period of time would be a source of great pride for us.
Finally, the fact that we were able to start Entremo as an operational startup company is very exciting! Back at the time of the Hackathon, it was just the six of us getting together to develop something new and useful. By now, we have over 20 people active on the project, and we’re building a company that has every chance of being hugely successful. Entremo is now looking for investors in order to be able to continue our project next year. The feedback we’ll get on our pilot projects will help us finalize the product’s development. After that, it’s time for certification and manufacturing to begin!