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Creating an AI-based Fetal and Maternal Telehealth Solution

A “For Women by Women” company, Marani (ex Odonata) Health partnered with HTEC — a pioneer in dry-electrode utilization, AI-based ECG device technology — to develop a wearable telehealth product that helps women and their clinicians monitor key vital parameters of the fetus and mother during pregnancy, labor and delivery.

Challenge

Every day, approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Since 1990, C-sections have increased from around 6% of all births to 21%. The US is among 8 countries in the world where maternal mortality and morbidity is increasing, despite $50 billion being spent annually on prenatal and postpartum care.

All around the world, outdated and inconvenient prenatal care technology has been used for more than 60 years. The majority of monitoring devices in hospitals are Doppler ultrasound technologies from the 1960s (CTG – cardiotocography), which are bulky and hard-wired, technically demanding for caregivers, require multiple patient visits, and don’t provide precise vital information that can be used for machine learning or fetal outcome prediction.

Women with high risk pregnancies, as well as those who live in rural and poverty-stricken areas, are facing the biggest challenges in receiving the care they need. This, coupled with the recent pandemic outbreak, means that every visit to the OB/GYN could presents a threat to future moms and their babies.

Solution

Marani Health (ex Odonata) was founded by a serial entrepreneur and an army veteran with a rich background in the Medtech industry. Ann Holder is driven by the mission to empower women by giving them access to vital information about their own and their baby’s health during pregnancy.

Read more about Ann Holder and the Marani story in our interview »

Marani  partnered with one of the best diagnostic cardiologists in the world, Dr Paul Friedman, the Chairman of Cardiology at the Mayo Clinic.  Dr. Friedman is an innovator in utilizing machine learning techniques to identify changes in ECG signals identifying dangerous changes that can be detrimental to patients.

Looking to create a wearable ECG device, Odonata discovered Orbital Research, the company behind the first FDA-approved dry electrode sensors, and HTEC — one of the first companies in the world to implement Orbital’s dry electrodes in an AI-powered telehealth solution.

When Marani and HTEC partnered to develop a complete telehealth solution, HTEC conducted extensive research on prenatal monitoring, exploring  options for ECG and EMG analog frontends and other components that would enable all the great telemonitoring features in the product.

Our Hardware-Firmware team was working on making the first version of a printed circuit board, while the Machine Learning team developed a fetal ECG extraction algorithm. As the first board provided really good results in data collection during our extensive testing sessions, it is proof that we are on the road to building an amazing product, which will not only provide a lasting impact on the healthcare system, but most importantly on future moms and their babies.

To date, our team has delivered 3 different hardware versions, with the final one being tested as we speak! In the meantime, software has been built to enable a full telehealth experience. Connection to the device was established, backend services were set up for data collection and data processing, the fetal heart rate estimation algorithm is now successfully running on AWS and screening results are provided back on mobile.


HTEC has developed hardware, firmware and software with the algorithms for fetal ECG and uterine activity detection. Marani’s innovative telehealth solution provides high-quality, clean, AI-processed data, which flows back to mobile phones in real time, and provides physicians with key fetal and maternal parameters to better manage their patients in a remote setting.

Success

After clinical trust is established and the product is endorsed by hospitals and the FDA, it can reach a wider consumer market to help mothers track their and their babies health at home and notify their doctor through the Marani web platform. Marani is working to reduce the growing global healthcare challenge of measuring and predicting fetal distress, and reduce unnecessary C-sections, as well as improving fetal and maternal outcomes.


We are eager to offer clinicians a non-invasive, cost-effective solution to better manage their patients by giving them more frequent data in a more convenient setting.