2020 is the year where COVID-19 pandemic has spread across the entire global community; patients with heart disease have a much higher risk of infection and mortality rate. Living within our fast-paced modern society; the ability to have regular scans done at the comfort of one’s own home still possesses a great challenge, whether for the patient, an elderly family member or even a newborn baby. QT Medical Inc. is a medical device startup incorporated in 2013. With cutting-edge innovative technologies, QT Medical aims to establish high-quality 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) available to everyone. “QT ECG,” the first product of QT Medical, is the world’s most compact 12-lead ECG system. With its simplicity, convenient of use, user friendly interface of mobile technology, QT ECG itself is able to bring hospital-quality 12-lead ECG into peoples' homes. It is optimized for high risk patients whom just had coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI, i.e. coronary stent). It is also designed for home-use by patients with chronic heart failure and arrhythmias.
During the interview, QT Medical Taiwan Branch team, Mr. Peter Chang (General Manager) and Mr. Jackal Chen (Senior Vice General Manager of R&D Department) demonstrated that QT Medical itself has managed to integrate all of the electrodes and cables required for a medical grade ECG test into an integrated single piece electrode strip which can then be positioned onto patients' chest area. Mr. Chang further explained that this is expected to increase the accuracy and consistency of ECG results for infants as there have been many challenges presented by using a normal medical-grade ECG, with a small compact ECG like QT Medical's, new parents will also be in control of the environment when their child is being scanned. When showcasing the QT Medical ECG to me and my colleague, Mr. Chang illustrated that “traditionally you have to first attach the electrode to the patient and then clip on the cables connecting to the electrodes, which is approximately a 20 step process. But with this compact ECG, we have integrated everything so all you have to do is peel off the electrode strip and place it onto the patient. Turning the process of 20 steps down to 4." Overall, QT ECG is digital, wireless, and mobile friendly. It is smaller than a deck of cards, fits in the shirt pocket, and works with iOS and Android devices. More notably, QT Medical's patented proprietary electrodes can save up to 70% time in ECG procedures and greatly reduce errors related to electrode misplacement of and cable connections. In a clinical trial, QT Medical team has discovered that over 95% of patients with no training, and no prior experience with ECG, could conduct a full 12-lead ECG test after reading simple instructions. This revolutionary system will enable patients with heart disease to do timely high quality 12-lead ECG tests at the convenience and comfort of their homes.
A bridge between Taiwan and the United States, QT Medical’s founder and CEO, Dr. Ruey-Kang Chang chose to establish its R&D team within the island. Mr. Peter Chang explains that “due to Dr. Chang's background with Taiwan and the United States, he also envisioned that Taiwan’s strong and foundational electronics ecosystem boasts a similar skill level as that of the U.S.” Taiwan, an island that has a foundational and complete industrial background in developing consumer electronics; merged with Taiwan's strong suit and supported by Taiwan's R&D team with a competent understanding of the regulatory requirements that goes into establishing a medical device, the R&D team was able to focus on “functions, features, and satisfying customers.” Mr. Chang also further stated that QT Medical has once again reached another major milestone by receiving its CE Mark on its flagship product, PCA 500. In addition, QT Medical has also received ISO 13485 certification as a manufacturer of high-quality medical devices by conforming to strict guidelines and high standard QMS practices. In addition, due to the pandemic of COVID-19, QT Medical has also launched “Xpress ECG,” an online order mail delivery service, where the physicians place the order, and QT Medical sends the ECG kit which includes everything the patients will need to complete the test in the comfort of their own homes. Xpress ECG service was launched in the first week of June 2020, and many cardiologists, electrophysiologists and primary care physicians have registered to use the service. Using Xpress ECG can minimize the potential risk of exposure in these critical patients. Using PCA 500 in clinics also helps to reduce the risk of disease transmission between patients from contaminated ECG leadwires and electrodes.
Thus, as many startups have faced its challenges of truly finding the right market for its products or its applications within the rapid modern societies. It was the same for QT Medical. When asked about how did QT Medical team penetrated the competitive smart-medical market, Mr. Chang answered “within the medical field, it is harder for doctors to change their practice right way, that is because they are require to change their stand operating procedure (SOP), however QT Medical itself also discovered and found success in some unlikely markets. Such as there is a high-demand from airline industries for innovative medical equipment which can be utilized by flight attendants during critical medical emergencies in the air. Despite having setbacks from the Pandemic of COVID-19, many major airlines have reached out to QT Medical for further orders or cooperation in the near future. Anxious to enter the hospitals and clinics markets, QT Medical continues to strive forward and stay innovative. Even with the FDA approval, QT Medical has also planned to acquire TFDA here within Taiwan. In addition, QT Medical is currently in the process of developing “QT Pro,” a defibrillator proof, medical grade ECG device, which can be utilized in the emergency room (ER) and on an ambulance. The device itself can be quickly attached to one's body using the QT electrode strip and a defibrillator can then be used between scans without the need for removal.