The Innovation of the Year award at the recent Mira Awards went to Neurava, the makers of wearables for epilepsy sufferers. Their devices monitor seizures and track bio-signals related to risk of sudden, unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). The Indianapolis-based tech nonprofit TechPoint bestows the annual awards to honor the best tech that the state of Indiana has to offer. The fact that one of its top prizes went to the creators of wearables speaks to the importance of remote patient monitoring and digital healthcare as a whole.
SUDEP is a fatal complication that could affect about one-third of people with epilepsy, which is close to around 1 million people in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 3.4 million people in the United States have epilepsy, and about 30% of these adults also suffer from mental health conditions including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and severe depression. The CDC estimates that about 1 in 1,000 epilepsy sufferers dies from SUDEP each year, bringing the number of annual deaths in the U.S. to around 3,000. Globally, the World Health Organization estimates that around 50 million people have epilepsy, making it one of the most common neurological diseases on the planet.
Developed with research done at Purdue University, Neurava’s wearable monitors a number of biomarkers. If an abnormality that’s commonly associated with SUDEP is detected, the device sends a wireless signal to a caregiver. While the wearer sleeps, the monitor is able to detect seizures and alert the person, possibly preventing a fatal incident or just offering the user peace of mind. All the data that the monitor collects also is sent wirelessly to the patient’s physician to aid in treatment and disease management.
This isn’t the first kudos for Neurava; the startup won the first-ever Elevate Ventures Regional Pitch Competition, placed second in the 2020 Purdue Business Model Competition, and ranked 54 out of 440 in the worldwide 2021 Rice Business Plan Competition. Neurava also won the National Pediatric Device Consortium’s National Pediatric Device Prize.
Sharing the spotlight with Neurava, there was another notable healthcare tech winner at the 2022 TechPoint Mira Awards. The digital medication platform RxLightning was crowned Startup of the Year and took home the Tech Product of the Year award for its RxLightning Specialty Enrollment Platform. These two winners bring to light the ever-increasing importance and recognition of digital solutions to serious healthcare issues.