Last year I was introduced to Hoana at the American Association of Critical Care Nurses in Orlando. Scott Christensen explained their innovative sensing technology – aiming to improve patient safety and reduce failures to rescue, Hoana has developed sensor technology that allows them to monitor patient vital signs through the mattress of the patient's bed. The Hoana system is based on a sensor pad, the system measures heart and respiratory rate and notes when the patient gets out of bed. Called the Star Trek sickbay by some, this futuristic system could be deployed in every patient bed to provide continuous monitoring in order to detect when a patient's condition deteriorates to facilitate earlier (and more effective) clinical interventions.

In a press release today, they announce closing their latest round of funding:

Medical device maker Hoana Medical closes $10.2M, in an over-subscribed
Series C round led by Global Venture Capital (GVC) of Tokyo and other
institutional and private investors. Funds raised will support sales
and marketing of Hoana's first product, LG1(TM) Intelligent Medical
Vigilance System(TM), designed specifically for the medical-surgical
areas of the hospital (also referred to as the general care floor). The
LG1 (1) improves patient safety by providing persistent measurement of
vital signs and detecting “bed exit,” without touching the patient — a
major innovation in patient care, and (2) improves hospital economics
by augmenting patient vigilance of the nursing staff, to provide early
identification and persistent notification of patients in distress that
need help.

Started in 2002, Hoana has raised over $17.5M through three rounds of
financing, plus acquired clinical contracts from the DOD/VA for nearly
$12M. Already reporting income for CY2005 of $2.5M, Hoana expects to
start sales of its FDA approved technology in the first quarter of
2006, and is currently in negotiations with several U.S. health systems
about commercial adoption.

Hoana's value proposition is based on increasing patient safety and avoiding some percentage of patient deaths that fall into the category of “failure to rescue.” There are some statistics about unobserved codes and failure to rescue that go beyond the rough numbers mentioned in their press release and other publicity – perhaps they have better data they pull out for prospective buyers. You can read more about failure to rescue here.

There's also the back half of their solution that doesn't get much mention, alarm notification. All the sensors in the world are worth little if alarms are missed due to alarm fatigue or some other common alarm notification design limitation.