Podimetrics is a company that has developed a special foot temperature monitoring pad that can keep track of a diabetic’s feet to help detect the onset of foot ulcers. The Podimetrics Mat and the rest of the company’s Remote Temperature Monitoring System allow clinicians to receive high resolution temperature scans of the soles of their patients’ feet while giving patients the convenience of doing daily tests in the convenience of the home. We spoke with Dr. Jon Bloom, CEO and Co-Founder of Podimetrics about the company’s technology and how it can help manage diabetic feet and reduce the incidence of ulcers.
Medgadget: Please tell us about the technology behind the Podimetrics Remote Temperature Monitoring System and how it’s different from competing products.
Jon Bloom, Podimetrics: There have been other companies (years ago) that tried to apply thermometry to diabetic foot ulcers (DFU), but they weren’t successful because of adherence issues. This is because the patient was required to take several measurements and evaluate them on his/her own. The Podimetrics Remote Temperature Monitoring System™ solves that problem by making the process easy for the patient and healthcare provider. It consists of a wireless SmartMat™ for the home and a monitoring service that notifies patients and clinicians when signs of inflammation may be developing.
To use the system, a patient stands on the mat for 20 seconds per day at home. Patient data is sent instantly to the cloud, where the Podimetrics system is used to measure the temperature difference between the feet at various locations looking for a possible persistent asymmetry, or “hotspot.” It has been well established that these hotspots strongly correlate with the eventual development of a foot ulcer. If a developing hotspot is detected, the healthcare provider is notified based on their custom protocol. From there an intervention is planned by the physician. Most interventions require a patient to stay off his/her feet while the foot heals itself. If the readout is persistent or more concerning, the patient may visit their doctor to take more aggressive preventative steps.
Medgadget: How did Podimetrics get started and what was the initial “spark” that led to a finished product?
Bloom: The Company was originally formed by five strangers at the very first MIT Hacking Medicine event in October of 2011. Our first focus, which remains today, was to attempt to solve the problem of DFU through prevention as opposed to improved treatment. We explored multiple technologies and form factors for a monitor, attempting to optimize usability for both the patient user and the health care provider. This included pressure-based sensors, sock and shoe form factors, office-based equipment, and multiple others. After extensive testing and multiple prototypes, user feedback was always strongest for a smart mat for daily home use. This, then, became our design.
Medgadget: What kind of patients and physicians is this system intended to be used by?
Bloom: This system is designed to be used by patients with diabetes at risk of DFU. We received clearance by the FDA in Oct. 2015 for use by patients at risk for inflammatory foot conditions. Relevant physicians are any clinicians that manage patients with diabetic foot disease, e.g., podiatrists or vascular surgeons.
Medgadget: Please tell us about the latest study in Diabetes Care involving your product and what it means for the management of the disease.
Bloom: Data published in the July issue of Diabetes Care demonstrated that the Podimetrics SmartMat™ detected as many as 97% of developing nontraumatic plantar foot ulcers on average five weeks before they presented clinically. Importantly, 86% of patients used the mat at least three times per week and 88% of respondents reported it being easy-to-use, suggesting that patients readily accept this practical, new monitoring technology. We are most impressed by the adherence data, as this is critical to successful implementation, efficacy within a population, and adoption by health plans and physicians.
Medgadget: What about compliance and usability? How easy is it to use the Podimetrics system?
Bloom: The system is is designed to be easy-to-use both for patients and healthcare providers.
A patient stands on the mat for 20 seconds a day at home, which is the same level of commitment required to weigh oneself. In terms of ease-of-use, this contrasts greatly with previous devices which require a patient to manually take six individual readings on each foot, compare them to one another, and call the doctor if there was a persistent, elevated asymmetry for two consecutive days.
Our system is easy-to-use for healthcare providers as we tailor our solution to meet the needs of each specific care environment via close collaboration. Once a patient uses the mat, the data is sent instantly to the cloud. Our systems present an easy-to-use service for receiving notifications and analyzing the thermograms for possible signs of inflammation, appearing as localized, persistent temperature asymmetries between the feet that are otherwise undetectable by the patient or clinician’s eyes. It has been well established that this asymmetry (or “hotspots”) strongly correlate with the eventual development of a foot ulcer.
Medgadget: How do you see the future of your company and are there other technologies you’re investigating?
Bloom: We are currently focused on continuing our clinical program and generating data for our system. We’re ramping up our manufacturing capabilities so we can meet demand for the product. In terms of the future we aren’t closing doors on anything including potential partnerships, etc. Our goal is to maximize the opportunity and help patients.
Link: Podimetrics homepage…