11 Health launches sensor and app for monitoring waste buildup in ostomy bags

Ostom-i Alert monitor--Courtesy of 11 Health

The U.K.'s 11 Health just launched the first ever app for remote monitoring of ostomy pouches so that patients and caregivers are aware when the external pouch is filling up with bodily waste.

The Ostom-i Alert monitors clips to the outside of most ostomy pouches and communicates with Apple and Android smartphones via Bluetooth. Patients can use it to set alarms that go off when the pouch is getting full.

The app and sensor gives caregivers remote access to output data, meaning they do have to measure it manually. "From a clinical perspective, what the Ostom-i does is every time there is a change of movement in the pouch caused by output, it plots the change of movement and converts that into volume. It plots that volume over a time and allows clinicians to remotely monitor volume output. The data is automatically captured and stored in the cloud, enabling physicians to have secure, remote access. Alternatively, the patient can choose to have that output data automatically sent via email to the clinician's email," said device inventor and president Michael Seres in an interview on the company website.

He founded 11 Health in the hospital while diagnosed with Crohn's disease. Following 20 operations and intestinal failure, he became the 11th person in UK to have a small bowel transplant, the company says in a release.

"This is where part of the intestine is brought to the outside of your body and your bodily waste is collected in a pouch known as an ostomy pouch. You lose control of the very thing you take for granted. On top of that, everyone wants access to output data and the only way of doing this is manually emptying into a jug. There had to be an alternative," he wrote in an essay for MedCity News.

"Over the next few months I hacked together a prototype ostomy sensor. It was solely designed to help me manage my condition, but then I realized that it could help other patients like me. 11Health was born and suddenly I found myself as an entrepreneur. For me, the difference was that I wanted to develop a product to help others; the financial gain was a by-product," he continued.

The Ostom-i earned a 510(k) clearance from the FDA in October 2014, and is also approved in the UK. 11 Health says the device is available via a variety of insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid.

MedCity News reports that the ostomy bag market is expected to be worth $2.8 billion in 2018, up from $2.1 billion in 2011. They are used to collect the bodily waste of patients with a stoma, or a surgically created opening that connects an internal cavity or organ to the outside environment.

11 Health aims to make the Ostom-i the standard of care for such patients following colon, rectal and gastrointestinal surgeries.

- read the release
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