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50 Smartest Companies Of The Year 2018

Advancing the Field of Electrocardiology: HeartSciences, a Boutique Medical Device Company, Develops Heart Disease Detection Algorithms

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MyoVista® Technology holds great promise to transform early detection of heart disease through the first of a kind Wavelet ECG (wavECG™) Device: Mark Hilz

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and currently affects an estimated 28.4 million Americans. According to a report published by the American Heart Association, in 2016, the economic burden of cardiovascular diseases (category of heart and blood vessel diseases) to talled $555 billion and is projected to reach $1 trillion by 2035. 

Compelled by these statistics, researchers are exploring how artificial intelligence could turn the tide and reduce incidences of heart disease.

In view of the above-mentioned concern, we are delighted to present HeartSciences –An innovative medical device company.

The company combines current research and understanding of heart disease along with the latest advances in wavelet signal processing and artificial intelligence to develop breakthrough technology for the early detection of heart disease. HeartSciences is dedicated to the development of accurate, affordable cardiac testing tools for the early detection of heart disease.

To date, the company has invested more than $30M in research and development in an effort to fundamentally improve the sensitivity of an electrocardiograph (ECG/EKG) for the early detection of heart disease.

HeartSciences (formerly known as Heart Test Laboratories) was established in 2008 and is headquartered in Southlake, Texas.

Interview Excerpt: Mark Hilz, CEO/President

What is your company’s mission? Why did you choose your segment of the healthcare market?  

HeartSciences mission is to enable accurate, affordable screening for the early detection of heart disease through innovation in the field of electrocardiography. Heart Disease remains the number one cause of death on a global scale.  Even today, over 50 percent of people find out they have heart disease through an adverse event such as angina, heart attack or death. Current ECG technology has limited capabilities to detect underlying structural and ischemic heart disease especially when presented without symptoms. We believe we can close this diagnostic gap by improving the effectiveness of the most ubiquitous front-line tool for detecting heart disease (the ECG) by enhancing ECG capabilities through the application of advanced technologies. Achieving our mission will reduce healthcare costs by detecting and treating patients prior to an adverse event and improving care-pathway efficiencies by reducing expensive testing for patients that currently undergo unnecessary expensive testing due to the lack of effective front-line testing.

Tell us about your first product that was recently launched.

The MyoVista wavECG Device is a first-to-market 12-lead resting electrocardiograph that combines the use of advanced signal processing and artificial intelligence to detect cardiac dysfunction when heart disease is present. Dysfunction during the heart’s relaxation phase rather than the contraction phase is a key early feature of heart disease. Patented informatics enable healthcare providers to identify patients with relaxation abnormalities possibly related to early signs of heart disease rather than just the conventional voltage-based information found in ECG’s today. In addition to proprietary informatics, the MyoVista device offers full 12-lead resting ECG capabilities including the Glasgow Algorithm, one of the world’s most respected interpretive algorithms. The device has a 15.6-inch high-resolution touchscreen display and incorporates many features commonly associated with a tablet device requiring minimal user training with no change in clinical workflow. The MyoVista wavECG device has received CE certification and is being commercialized but is not currently available for commercial sale or distribution in the United States.

What challenges have you faced in your initial limited market release? What can your peers learn from it?

Understanding each stakeholder’s roles, responsibilities, and needs is the single most important objective towards building market adoption with disruptive innovation.

We are spending a lot of time listening to physicians, clinicians and collecting input from various healthcare organizations. The limited market release period allows us to understand and address those needs to ensure commercial success. The MyoVista wavECG Device was launched with software upgrade capabilities. This allows us to refine our user interface, improve how we display our informatics and add the relevant EMR/EHR integration capabilities that will allow the MyoVista wavECG Device to migrate into the mainstream market.

What are the key advantages of your organization?

Every member of the HeartSciences team believes in our mission and understands that if we achieve commercial success, it will save lives.  When you have a common goal and mission that is well understood and that all members are truly committed to achieving, it creates an environment where everyone is striving to achieve the goal for reasons beyond the normal considerations. The executives and team members adopt these values as their perspective when applying efforts to every project. Operating at this level of understanding and perspective keeps focus on our larger goals.

Perhaps the most important advice I can provide is to surround yourself with a passionate group of talented people who aren’t afraid to argue their opinions. By checking your own ego at the front door and fostering that in your culture, you will ultimately make better and more informed decisions.

Employees need to feel they have an outlet for sharing their observations and ideas. How does this idea come to life at HeartSciences?

We are a small team and our office culture is innovative and energetic, and everyone periodically rolls up their sleeves to help co-workers when needed, regardless of their titles. We are looking for employees who share a similar sense of purpose as it is imperative to surround yourself with motivated team members. Having teams that you can rely on allows you to maximize your time, your efforts and your quality output.

Do you have any new products ready to be/getting ready to be rolled out into the market?

We are preparing to roll-out multiple software enhancements later this year including transitioning from our current algorithm to an improved algorithm that was developed using artificial intelligence.

Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

We are changing long established paradigms – policies, and are focused on educating the healthcare community that the ECG of the past will not be the ECG of the future. After a couple of years, if it is generally understood that ECGs of the future must have capabilities like the MyoVista wavECG Device, we will have achieved an enormous goal. 

The Brains Behind The Operation: A Brief Background

Mark Hilz, CEO/President: Mark Hilz has over 30 years of experience as a President/CEO of multiple successful start-up companies and has a successful track record with new technologies. Before joining HeartSciences, Mark served as CEO of INX – a technology infrastructure consulting company that he founded as a start-up subsidiary for a public company. It grew to $400 million in revenue with 15 offices, 2,000 customers, and 500 employees. The company was a NASDAQ listed company and was successfully sold to a private equity group in December 2011. Prior to that, Mr Hilz founded and ran as CEO, a technology logistics outsourcing firm that grew to over $160 million in revenue with 1,100 employees in an eight-year span and was successful in taking the company public in an IPO as a NASDAQ listed company.

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Andrew Simpson, Chairman: Andrew has extensive experience running and growing companies, as well as fundraising and M&A. Prior to joining HeartSciences, Andrew was the Group CEO of Peel Holdings, a large private company that controls over $15 billion of assets. He successfully achieved the strategic restructuring of the group by strengthening and creating new management teams; introduced key partners in several divisions involving $3 billion of investment; and successfully managed $5 billion of debt funding across multiple facilities. His tenure saw material asset growth and an increase in liquid assets by $1 billion. Prior to that, Andrew was Group Commercial Director and divisional CEO for a large UK listed company which grew to $500 million in revenue and saw its stock quadruple in value during his involvement. Mr Simpson spent eight years working as an Investment Banker with Rothschild, generally focusing on growth businesses, and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse.

“MyoVista wavECG Technology provides healthcare providers with new information related to the detection of structural and ischemic heart disease.”

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