Cardiotocography (CTG) is one of the important examinations that pregnant women should do. Since recently, it can be done at home, without a tedious trip to the hospital. We are talking with Eugeniusz Formaniuk from Carebits – polish-based global producer of mobile CTG examination devices.
Would you mind starting with a couple of word about yourself?
Hello! I am the managing director of the Carebits brand. For over 15 years, I have been working in the telecommunication and telemedicine branch. What’s more, I have vast experience in international commerce of, among many other, food and chemicals.
We produce telemedical devices and software monitoring health parameters during pregnancy.
The Sigmafon is our flagship product. This digital, fully wireless cardiotocograph weighing mere 200 grams is, and it’s worth emphasizing, integrated with a computer analysis system. In addition, we offer medical service as the Carebits brand.
I can imagine that not everyone knows what CTG examination is. Could you explain it shortly?
The cardiotocographic (CTG) examination checks the fetus heart, movement and uterine muscle activities. The test helps to detect life-threatening risks like hypoxia and abnormal heartbeat.
Mobile CTG devices – are they a novelty?
CTG itself is known for 60 years already. We introduce an advantage of unprecedented quality of signal extraction, recordings deep analysis system and state-of-the-art, lightweight, digital CTG apparatus. That is why our solution is second to none in the world.
Who should do CTG tests?
Foremost, high-risk patient group (for example, COVID-19, intrauterine growth restriction, diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension and others), and all others would like to be under 24/7 professional medical care. What’s interesting, we have saved the most babies during physiologically normal pregnancies.
You are saving children! I must say, it sounds complicated. Would you mind elaborating?
Right away! When the patient receives our CTG device, all she has to do is download the Carebits application. It is available on both Google Play and the Appstore. The login and password are sent by e-mail during registration.
Then, the pregnant woman uses the belts to fasten the device on her belly, turn on the Carebits application on her smartphone and press START. After 30 minutes, the recording is automatically sent to analysis. Additionally, within a dozen or so minutes, the patient will receive the verification done by the medical staff of the Carebits Monitoring Center.
It’s actually that simple! And why is it better to do a CTG test at home?
The most important thing is the safety of the patient and her baby. And also the systematic conduct of tests, because only after subsequent examinations we can trace trends and get a complete picture on their basis. Therefore, self-examination of the fetal welfare at home allows for peaceful, undisturbed sessions and enable patient to repeat the recording whenever necessary, without commuting, queues, etc.
How often should CTG tests be performed?
In the case of physiological pregnancies, twice a week is enough. In contrast, in the case of at-risk pregnancies, the patient should follow the doctor’s recommendations conducting the pregnancy, i.e. sometimes even several times a day.
Does the excess of information and over-zealous obtaining it have a negative effect on a pregnant woman?
Yes, of course. Pregnancy is a special period, and one should exercise moderation in self-interpretation of real or imaginary symptoms. When something is worrying, we recommend that you immediately consult your doctor or the nearest available specialist.
Therefore, we pay special attention to the form and content of the information provided. It must be as specific and unambiguous as possible. Thanks to this, the patients are calmer and feel that they are under the care of our Carebits Monitoring Center professionals.
I understand. How does the information flow between device, specialists and patient?
After the recording is finished, it goes to the analysis and then to the interpreter’s doctor. Finally, once thoroughly analyzed and verified, it is sent to the supervising doctor and then to the patient herself.
And where are the SMS in this process?
We use bulk SMS messaging to send information and recommendations of the medical staff between the Carebits Monitoring Center and the doctor conducting the pregnancy and the patient.
Where did you come up with the idea of using text messages for this purpose?
It is the easiest, fast and a perfect way to communicate instantly.
We value quality, solidity and reliability. Furthermore, we operate globally! SMSAPI is the partner we rely on who responds promptly to our needs.
Let’s move on to the current situation in Poland and the world. Has the pandemic influenced the popularity of the mobile CTG test?
For obvious reasons, yes. Pregnant women who care about health and safety are looking for this type of solutions. Of course, the device for the remote examination should meet the highest technical standards, be user-friendly and straightforward.
Has the recent media coverage of pregnancy influenced the interest in CTG research?
That’s right, and we’ve seen a steep increase in interest. I want to add that we operate not only in Poland. The Carebits system is also available in the UK, Australia, Colombia, Kenya, Ukraine, Georgia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Israel.
In the last 2 months, we received inquiries from 18 countries. As a result, and thanks to grants from PAIH (Polish Investment and Trade Agency), we are getting ready to enter the markets in the USA, Canada and India.
Do you also rely on text messages outside Poland?
Yes, and we also use SMSAPI services abroad. It is the simplest and fastest way of communication between our Telemedicine Center, the patient or doctor everywhere in the world.
And the system works the same way?
The system works exactly the same as in Poland – the patient receives results by logging in to her panel or through the Carebits application.
So what is the biggest challenge in entering foreign markets?
As always, the biggest challenge is financing, certification and adaptation to legal conditions in a given country. In addition, we are dealing with sensitive data, and recent travel restrictions have also been an obstacle.
For example, for this reason, in Colombia, we operate under the patronage of the President and together with the American company UnitedHealth Group, which provides medical services in the country through a Colombian subsidiary.
Thank you very much for the interview!
Thank you and best regards to all readers.