Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful experiences in a woman’s life. As serene as it is, it is also one of the most complicated and inconvenient processes that women go through. Other than the emotional highs and lows, there are physical complexities that trouble expecting mothers.
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the expecting mothers even more worried for the life that was growing inside them. Making trips to the hospital for prenatal care was an added concern for the expecting mothers due to the fear of the virus, because they had to visit hospitals for prenatal care that made them more susceptible to the virus. Studies suggested that pregnant women were at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, and it also increased chances of them giving preterm birth.
This problem had to be addressed with an effective solution and Nuvo Cares had just the right one – providing its clients with virtual healthcare for the tender processes of pregnancy and childbirth.
Nuvo Cares has been recognized with several awards and recognitions viz., Digital Health Awards – GOLD – Connected Digital Health/Telehealth/Remote Patient Monitoring (2021), MedTech Innovator Showcase (Participant; 2021), and CB Insights Digital Health 150 (2020).
In the following interview, Founder and CEO, Oren Oz shares the story of how, through Nuvo Cares, he and his team commenced on the journey of making pregnancy more manageable for women.
Following are the highlights of the interview:
Please brief our audience about Nuvo Cares, its mission, and the key aspects of its stronghold within the women’s health solutions niche.
Nuvo is an innovative medtech company committed to advancing pregnancy care with new technology, tools, and practices that better serve expectant mothers and their healthcare providers. Our goal is to ultimately improve maternal-fetal health outcomes through our comprehensive care system, INVU™ by Nuvo, an FDA-cleared, patent-protected, and prescription-initiated remote pregnancy monitoring platform.
INVU is FDA-cleared to remotely obtain accurate maternal and fetal heart rates (2020) and maternal uterine activity (2021). It combines proprietary hardware for data collection, innovative cloud-based software for computational power, and AI tools to optimize the pregnancy care experience on a global scale.
Tell us more about the solutions that give your company a distinctive edge to stand out from the competition?
A few key points separate INVU from the competitive set. First, INVU by Nuvo Cares was designed through a consumer-centric lens, in that it embraces mom as the point of care and has data travel across her home, the hospital and the workplace. Second, INVU provides a unique combination of the highest medical grade data accuracy in a self-applied form factor, enabling high quality virtual visits. Last, through the eyes of a founder who is a data scientist, Nuvo has a unique perspective that the ability to capture, compute and leverage the power of big data/AI tools will create an “X” factor in truly revolutionizing pregnancy care delivery.
We see the opportunity to pioneer a new discipline in pregnancy population health management through the power of our proprietary data platform.
Oren, please brief us about your professional journey, and the impact that you have made through your role at Nuvo Cares.
I founded Nuvo Group after my wife’s third pregnancy became high-risk, causing us to experience outdated pregnancy care practices such as in-office tests, multiple times a week. During this time, an inaccurate CTG reading nearly resulted in an emergency C-section. The pregnancy ultimately ended with an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, but the frequent trips to the hospital and scare of the false positive stayed with me.
Our experience also made me realize the burden that women were faced with—they had to constantly travel to medical appointments just because they needed to be hooked up to a machine that plugged into a wall. I knew there had to be a way to free them from the wall and the worry, and from there, Nuvo was born.
These are all reasons why Nuvo embraces the emotional component of pregnancy, focusing on a mom-centric model while also ensuring that the clinical goals of prenatal care remain a priority.
As a seasoned business leader what is your opinion on the effects of the pandemic on the healthcare sector, and what were the challenges that your company came across?
Broadly, COVID-19 changed the trajectory of telehealth, taking it from an unmet need to an acute global need overnight. The more people were restricted by the pandemic, the more empowered they became to take control of their own health—and more than ever before, they wanted digital solutions that enabled them to do so.
We received our first FDA 510(k) clearance for INVU in March 2020, right around the time that the world seemed to come to a screeching halt and the demand for remote solutions began to soar. As a result, we were challenged to swiftly scale our business to fulfill our promise, support our clients and execute our production remotely.
As we quickly mobilized to try to meet the new demand, we wanted to ensure we were giving expectant moms the tools they needed and wanted to get through this unprecedented time, so we conducted a survey of 500 new and expectant moms. What we found was that they were eager for versatility and solutions that would allow them to seek care outside of the doctor’s office.
Specifically, 71% reported being ‘really worried’ about exposure to COVID-19 as a direct result of in-person prenatal visits, and 77% said they would prefer to do some of their prenatal visits remotely as long as their doctor could provide the same level of care as in-person visits.
Knowing this, throughout the pandemic, we worked harder than ever to take our company to the next level, including our supplemental FDA 510(k) clearance in 2021, the expansion of our board of directors, and our growing ledger of commercial partnerships. The pandemic challenged our team in a way we had never been challenged before, and I am so proud of everything that we did to rise to the occasion.
With continuous development in technologies such as AI and ML, what is your prediction about the future of the women’s health solutions niche?
I would have to argue that women’s health solution is actually a pretty broad term, so I’m going to focus on Nuvo’s niche, which we call ‘life creation’—the 1,000-day journey from fertility to 12 months post-partum. In this area, I see technologies like AI and ML helping us improve outcomes. By fully optimizing these technologies, we can create better access to better care, and we can do so more efficiently.
In other words, there is less cost to the healthcare system and better results. These technologies also help us increase access and provide better care to the underserved. Data is a great equalizer. As long as we continue to build the right AI to pre-asses/capture preconditions, we can continue to work to eliminate some of the social determinants/factors of health through more fact-based decision-making.
What would be your advice to the entrepreneurs and healthcare enthusiasts aspiring to venture into women’s health solutions market?
Healthcare is a business, and you need to intimately understand your customers and how to best serve their needs. What’s unique about healthcare is that there are multiple stakeholders to consider and address. Patients want ease of use, access, solutions that fit their lifestyle, etc. In this era of consumerization, it’s critical to have a patient-centric approach. At the same time, payers and healthcare systems want solutions that provide quality care but are also cost-effective.
To truly create impact and succeed, you need to constantly ask yourself how you can provide better care while also being more efficient and delighting your patients with a better experience.
How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2021?
Nuvo has pioneered the development of a unique platform for remote pregnancy monitoring and management, as made evident by the many patents/patents pending that protect our full system of sensors, wearables, and data processing tools/algorithms. During 2021 and beyond, we plan to continue to advance this platform by using data and AI to develop more personalized and predictive care pathways.
The INVU platform is imminently scalable through its ability to provide ‘standard of care anywhere’ or location agnostically. We plan to scale our commercial footprint by continuing to add provider sites and add payers who can extend the benefits of INVU to their members and employer populations.