Nashville company gains FDA approval for new ventilator
Photo courtesy Enexor Health Systems
A Tennessee healthcare company has developed a state-of-the-art ventilator specifically designed for use in the COVID pandemic. Enexor Health Systems, based in suburban Nashville, built a design team under the guidance of Vanderbilt University physician Dr. Bill Walsh, a pioneer in ventilator technology.
The new device provides multiple modes of mechanical ventilation that COVID-19 patients need, according to a company release. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted an emergency authorization and the company will start supplying hospitals immediately.
The new ventilator, dubbed X-VENT, uses a piston-driven, computer-powered air system, which represents an advance over current “bag valve mask” resuscitator ventilators. The ventilator doesn’t need calibrating, so it can be stored at length. The X-VENT is also significantly less expensive than older ventilators.
"The X-VENT is a sophisticated, complex, state-of the-art ventilator,” Walsh said. “The engineers did an amazing job keeping it simple, easy to use and inexpensive. It is exactly what the physicians of the world need to support their patients through acute respiratory failure."
Work for a startup with a noble mission
How would you like to work for a company whose sole purpose is to improve the quality of life and health outcomes for people who are chronically ill? A company where you will find yourself working side by side with the best tech professionals out there?
Hive Networks is a mission-driven software company whose sole purpose is to improve outcomes for patients by connecting them, their caregivers, clinicians, and researchers via a data-sharing learning platform.
That mission is an important one. According to a parent of a patient involved in one of Hive Networks largest Learning Health Networks, “The doctor was my world, with Hive Networks, the world is now my doctor.”
Though Hive is a new company, it’s already experiencing the need to spread and scale their technology. “We want ‘players’ who are used to working with other top performers with minimal direction. Players who can trust senior management. Players who are truly committed to our mission,” says CincyTech Executive in Residence and Hive CEO John Bostick.
If you want to be a part of a fast-paced, challenging, and exciting work environment and think you have the talent to help Hive Networks with their mission, take a look at their current job openings.
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COVID-19 support tech for veterans
Engineers at the University of Louisville have rolled out an automated messaging service for veterans who are seeking advice and information about COVID-19. The service, a collaboration between UofL and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, has two goals: making sure veterans have the best possible information, whether they are symptomatic or not, and reducing stress on VA facilities around the country by anticipating common questions patients have.
The texting service, called Annie, works like a decision tree, beginning with simple yes/no questions and responding according to how the patient answers. Each day, Annie checks in with veterans who’ve opted in to the service to see how they’re doing. Depending on their answers, Annie engages them in conversation and recommends a course of action. The service was in development before COVID-19 struck, and engineers quickly responded by creating a specific version of the tool.
A survey of users suggests Annie is popular and likely to prevent unnecessary calls to VA facilities, some of which have been overwhelmed during the pandemic. “The potential impact of virtual tools on health care is incredible,” said Jason Saleem, assistant professor at UofL. “Especially with the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, a tool like this can give patients reassurance while preventing unnecessary calls and office visits.”
Startup simplifies hiring office cleaners
Booking commercial cleaning services has gotten easier, thanks to Minneapolis startup OneDesk. The company, part of the current BETA cohort, was launched in March by Thiel fellow Daniel Ternyak and Roman Peysakhovich, whose family has been providing janitorial services for 30 years.
The pair developed a “walk-through app” that streamlines the process of hiring a cleaning service at a fair price. OneDesk went to market a few weeks prior to the arrival of COVID-19 in the region and now offers its service in 17 US cities.
Ternyak, who returned to Minnesota following a brief stint in San Francisco, praised the benefits of the Midwest for young companies. “There’s a great startup ecosystem here. There’s a really strong possibility of growth in cities like Minneapolis, where there’s also a good quality of life and amazing talent.”
Tech that helps sports fans to cheer virtually
In the era of COVID-19, sports leagues worldwide are making plans to play games in empty stadiums. While it will be great to follow our favorite teams again, a key component of the games will be missing: the roar of the fans. A tech startup wants to solve that problem with virtual applause—and virtual raspberries.
But this isn’t just canned noise, like the corny canned laughter of TV sitcoms of yesteryear. The company, Champ Trax, has created an app called Hear Me Cheer. When fans watching the game from home allow the app to access their devices’ microphones, Hear Me Cheer captures and aggregates all that fan noise into a single audio stream and beams it into the background of the game in real time. Proprietary algorithms weigh each household and balance the broadcasts to create a fan roar that is similar to the sounds of actual fans in the stands.
ESPN used Hear Me Cheer during the NFL draft in April and Champ Trax hopes to bring it to NFL stadiums like Kansas City’s Arrowhead stadium this fall. Oh, and if you’re worried that some of your F-bombs and other salient observations about players, coaches, and refs might follow you for the rest of your life, rest easy. Hear Me Cheer data is deleted as soon as it’s broadcast.
HKC Hemp Co. sees 600% increase in sales
Kansas City startup and BetaBlox graduate KC Hemp Co., which was named Overland Park’s best new business in 2018, closed its brick-and-mortar storefront in March because of the pandemic—a move that has paid off big time. Switching to an ecommerce sales model, with free shipping and limited same-day or next-day delivery, has boosted sales significantly. Significant as in a 600% increase, according to Startland News.
One aspect of the business has always been a focus on educating customers about the products the company sells. And despite closing the physical shop, that focus has remained strong. Co-founders Heather and Kyle Steppe make deliveries themselves and encourage customers to ask questions (from a safe distance). The couple is also working on a blog, videos, and a podcast.
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