While hospitals are currently using a technology invented in 1916 to administer oxygen to patients, the Quebec company OxyNov wants to conquer the world with its smart device FreeO2. It is already approved in Canada and Europe, and an application with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States has just been filed.
Oxygen, widely used in hospitals, is vital for many patients. While the level of oxygen in the blood fluctuates a lot in the patient depending on their medical situation and level of activity, it must always be maintained at an optimal level to protect vital organs. This is called the oxygen saturation level in the blood. However, the technique currently used is far from continuous monitoring.
“In internal protocols in hospitals, medical professionals are asked to measure the level of oxygen saturation in the blood every two hours, but in reality, with the shortage of staff and the overload of work, we can often see eight hours elapse between two measurements,” notes Jasmin Lavoie, respiratory therapist and vice-president, business development, at OxyNov.
In addition, everything is done by hand and we have no data about what happens between two measures.
With FreeO2, the level of oxygen saturation in the blood is continuously measured using a sensor on the finger, and the quantity given to the patient is adjusted accordingly using an algorithm. Everything is done without manual intervention, thus freeing up staff, while the shortage is glaring. The device, equipped with an alarm in the event of a problem, also records all the patient’s data.
It’s as if we went directly from the phone to the iPhone 14: it’s a breakthrough technology.
Patrice Allibert, president of OxyNov
An impact measured in reality
While one of the priorities of the Government of Quebec is to reduce the length of stays in hospitals, FreeO2 has proven itself. Over the past two years, the Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec (IUCPQ), affiliated with Laval University, has created a technology showcase with 30 FreeO devices2. No less than 1,000 patients in the emergency room, in the COVID-19 unit and in pulmonology have been treated with the device. As a result, their length of stay was reduced by 30%, resulting in savings of over $2 million.
The device ensures that the patient always receives the optimal amount of oxygen, which gives a more stable treatment, so their recovery can be faster.
Jasmin Lavoie, respiratory therapist and vice-president, business development, OxyNov
The device was approved by Health Canada in 2019, but it wasn’t until 2021 that marketing efforts began. OxyNov expects to get a response from the FDA in the coming months. The technology was created by the two doctors and researchers, Erwan L’Her and François Lellouche, who founded OxyNov in 2009.