Published on Oct 28, 2020

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING] JOHN WHYTE: You're watching Coronavirus in Context. I'm Dr. John Whyte, Chief Medical Officer at WebMD. You know many of us are wearing sensors, trackers. And there's a lot of data that talks about maybe these wearables can tell us earlier on in the testing if we have COVID. So to help answer some of these questions, I've asked Dr. Vincent Vercamer, he is the head of health and innovation at Withings, based in Paris, France.

Bonjour, Dr. Vercamer. How are you today?

VINCENT VERCAMER: Thank you. Hello, John. And thank you for the invite.

JOHN WHYTE: Let's talk about the role of wearables, the role sensors, trackers, patients collecting their own information. You've all been very big in blood pressure monitoring, but also temperature. What's the role of wearables in terms of detecting COVID earlier than perhaps someone who may be developing symptoms or even testing?

VINCENT VERCAMER: The way of wearables, as we think, or imagine, at Withings, is that they are connected health objects that are clinically evaluated and that are used in real life, in everyday life of the users that could be a patient or maybe a future patient. And with these kind of data collection of their vitals in real life, then we are able to first observe, and then in the second step predict some exacerbation of some changes in the basal state of someone who is healthy. And then a few days after, he's not healthy anymore.

JOHN WHYTE: So what has your data been showing you? If I'm using some wearables, what should I be looking at?

VINCENT VERCAMER: So you can do it on yourself. And also, you can try first to spot some trends. So if you have always the same night traits, then if you have an increase of these traits, then it might be a clue that you have some kind of disease or infection. Or maybe you drink a bit much last night--

JOHN WHYTE: I did not.


And then you can use this data to help give some input. Now, you know, with many of us not able to go to the doctor, there's really been an acceleration of what we're calling this DIY-- this do-it-yourself approach to health care. And not just telemedicine, but also trying to collect more data on ourselves. And then looking at it. Is that what you see the future of health care in? And I also want to ask you and make it a two part question-- is it different in Europe in terms of how people are embracing these trends, wearables, do-it-yourself, than it is in the United States?

VINCENT VERCAMER: Yes, so it's different in Europe and in the United States. But for example, in the US, we had this partnership with the Boston Children's Hospital. So during the pandemic, at the beginning of the pandemic we used our health spot chatbot to push the coronavirus set of diagnostic questionnaire designed with the Boston Children's Hospital to US users. Then at the end of the questionnaires, they get some recommendation-- maybe you should call a doctor, or maybe you should go to the hospital, or maybe you should just continuing monitoring yourself, but there is nothing that is alarming us at the moment. So that's a step in what you mentioned.

JOHN WHYTE: What do you think is the future of wearables, and sensors, and trackers?

VINCENT VERCAMER: The future of wearables and sensors is to collect data in real life, and outside the office of a doctor, where we spent a very short amount of time per year, while we are sleeping every night, during around eight hours in our beds. So we can collect real world data and build some kind of diagnostics based on these trends that we can observe in total transparency of the everyday life.

JOHN WHYTE: So this is really how we're going to move into real world evidence as we talk about the use of data to influence clinical trials, drug development, as well as diagnostic management. It seems very much that you're talking about including physician and other health professionals in interpreting the data.

VINCENT VERCAMER: So for example, it's a way to detect under diagnosed conditions, such as a sleep apnea or atrial fibrillation or the hypertension that you don't have any symptoms, sometimes with headaches. But with a connected else subjects, then you can give objective data to the physician when you are going to the office for a checkup.

JOHN WHYTE: Tell us what devices you use.

VINCENT VERCAMER: So I use the ScanWatch, which is the last watch that we've launched this month. It's a watch with the SpO2 and the saturation-- oxygen saturation and ECG. One of my favorite devices is the sleep analyzer, because you put it under the mattress and every morning you get up and you have your breathing-- breathing rate outright and also your risk of sleep apnea.

JOHN WHYTE: I put it under the mattress, as opposed to wear it on my arm? Why under the mattress?

VINCENT VERCAMER: Yeah, because it's-- you don't need to charge it. You don't have to. So it's automatically synchronized data using your WiFi. So you don't even have to think I need to use my own device or I need to wear my watch. I just-- you just sleep. And in the morning, you get the data of your night.

JOHN WHYTE: Now, tell us what's happening in Europe with COVID. Particularly, you're in France. We're seeing an increase in the number of cases. Tell us the latest in terms of how it's being managed in Europe, and particularly, in France.

VINCENT VERCAMER: So in Europe, we are-- we have several clinical trials that are running somewhere down in the APHP hospital. So it's one of the biggest group of hospital-- public hospital in Paris. And we also recently launched a study with LMU Klinikum. So it's a unique hospital-- one of the biggest hospitals in Europe.

They are doing a randomized controlled trial with 300 people that are COVID positive. And they just go home for usual standard of care. And the other 300 people get a ScanWatch for monitoring themselves. And they also have a phone number where they can call at any moment and they get a physician from the hospital. And that's so-- so we are trying to find what is the right moment for these people that are not-- they don't need hospitalization, but the physicians and the doctors want to find the perfect moment for if they need hospitalization. So not too late and not too early.

JOHN WHYTE: Well, Vincent I want to thank you for taking the time today to provide your insights about the role of wearables, how we use that data, you know, in consultation, you know, with our physicians, as well as how they're going to continue to have an impact in how we address this kind of DIY approach in health care. So thank you for taking the time today.

VINCENT VERCAMER: Thank you for the invitation.

JOHN WHYTE: And I want to thank our viewers for watching Coronavirus in Context. I'm Dr. John Whyte.