© Orbit Health GmbH

About Orbit Health

  • Founders: Patty Lee, Franz Pfister
  • Founded in: 2021, Munich, Germanyunich, Germany
  • Employees: 9
  • Money raised: 4 million seed from EIT Health, BII, and MT
  • Ultimate goal: To empower patients and improve the lives of people affected by chronic diseases through novel digital health solutions.

Healthcare that is truly centered on patients – that’s the goal of German start-up Orbit Health. Using artificial intelligence, they monitor Parkinson’s patients via a smart watch which provide doctors the necessary insights and enable them to treat the patient with an effectively personalized care. Founder Patty Lee explains.

Twee telefoonsurfaces op grijze achtergrond
© Orbit Health GmbH

How did you come up with it?

“My Co-founder Franz Pfister is a medical doctor and was treating Parkinson’s patients. He was frustrated because he did not get a good picture of the patient. In 2016, he experimented with artificial intelligence. This gave birth to Neptune. Our company is called Orbit Health, because we convinced that when it comes to good healthcare, the patient is at the center. Just as planets go around in an orbit, a circle around the sun, so, too, does our care revolve around the patient. This is why our app is called Neptune, after the planet.”

Also interesting: New studies on drug to treat Parkinson’s disease

How does it work? 

“The patient wears a smartwatch and downloads the Neptune app on the mobile phone. That smartwatch collects data about the patient, such as their heart rate, the number of steps, or their sleep patterns. The raw data is processed by our artificial intelligence. The processed data is then sent to the doctor treating the patient as an overview. They are able to give better advice that way.”

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Why is that needed? 

“Many chronically ill people only have a few minutes to discuss their situation with their doctor. In that amount of time, it is difficult to assess exactly what a patient needs. Long-term monitoring of people with Parkinson’s is very useful because a chronic disease like Parkinson’s lasts twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Lots of factors are involved over the course of the disease and each person is different. Continuous and objective monitoring can enable early intervention and personalized care. This can help improve patient outcomes and quality of life.”

What are some of the obstacles that you are facing?

“The most difficult thing is that healthcare is not yet made for this kind of solution. A doctor often gets paid to see a patient when a patient is sick, whereas Neptune ensures that patients are better monitored and get the right treatment therefore less likely to get sick. It’s really a shift in the system. I believe digital health can really help in chronic disease management offering continuous and objective insights that are otherwise unavailable to enable early intervention and precision medicine.   

But, we need to align incentives. Instead of incentivising healthcare providers to treat a sick patient, there should be greater focus on ensuring doctors can perform more frequent monitoring and personalize treatment, and be fairly compensated for these efforts.”

Would you like to read more stories about start-ups? You can find the previous instalments in this series here.

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