startUPDATES: New developments for healthcare startups


To advance patient experience and health equity, a team at Northwell Health’s Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital (MEETH) identified an opportunity to reduce language as a barrier to care by improving services linguistic interpretation.

The cumbersome interpreting process required clinicians to access fixed telephones locked behind the nurse’s station, move them to pre-op/post-op patient bays, and provide connectivity. Two-handset devices limited interaction to audio-only interpretation between the patient and a single caregiver.

MEETH learned that any language interpreter application could be quickly and inexpensively added to the hospital’s Equiva-equipped tablets. These devices had been rolled out in 2020, serving primarily to provide in-room entertainment in the 30-bed unit where televisions were not available.

“Having LanguageLine on Equiva tablets has helped us improve patient experience and care delivery,” said Kerry Donohue, MSN, RN, MEETH Patient Experience Manager and Chief Culture Officer. “Our nurses are particularly excited. It’s wonderful for members of the care team to be able to overcome language barriers and communication gaps. I can’t stress how important ease of use is in these situations.

For its US Healthy People 2030 initiative, the US Department of Health and Human Services states that “trained interpreters and bilingual healthcare providers improve patient satisfaction, quality of care and health outcomes for people with a limited command of English. Overall, healthcare organizations need to be more active in developing and using strategies to meet the language and literacy needs of diverse populations.

The full customer success story is available on the Equiva website.


SoundALAsense, a pioneer in the development of SONALA-001 and Sonodynamic Therapy (SDT), a new drug-device combination developed to manage deadly cancers so patients can become survivors, announced clinical, organizational and of growth. It is the only company with SDT in clinical trials.

Clinical Update

SonALAsense is working on two trials to assess the therapeutic potential of SONALA-001 SDT for DIPG and RGBM.

The primary objective of the DIPG Phase 1/2 study is to evaluate the safety and tolerability of ALA SDT and to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) or recommended Phase 2 dose (RP2D) of energy of MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) in combination with SONALA-001 in patients with DIPG. This rare and fatal childhood brain tumor is aggressive and affects the pons or brainstem, which controls many body functions.

Phase 2 trial in rGBM builds on positive proof of concept results of the first clinical phase 0/1 in humans test of SONALA-001 SDT in recurrent high-grade gliomas (rHGG).

Growth Update

Three new established people have joined the SonALAsense team of industry veterans. April Freeman joined the team as Director of Patient Engagement and Advocacy, alongside respected doctors Margaret Dugan and Graeme Woodworth, who recently joined the Scientific Advisory Board.

Funding Update

The company’s growth strategy continues to progress after raising $25 million in funding through successful Series A and B funding rounds and an NCI SBIR grant of approximately $2 million to help fund the DIPG clinical trial.


Behavioral Health Company Sensible Care closed a $13 million Series A funding round. Growth capital firm Volition Capital led the round with participation from Skyline Investors. Founded in 2017, the company provides networked behavioral telehealth care for families and patients of all ages by licensed clinicians.

Sensible Care provides both psychiatric and therapeutic services and accepts most major insurances, including TRICARE, a healthcare program for US service members and their families.

“Our goal is not only to provide patients with on-demand access to mental health services, but to do so with a level of quality that is accompanied by long-term patient-provider relationships, which are the foundation of all practice. traditional,” said Paul. Kim, CEO of Sensible Care. “Having personally encountered the frustrating barriers of accessing quality mental health care, especially for military veterans, my co-founders and I set out to create a solution that maximizes access for patients by pulling leveraging their insurance while delivering value to providers through technology employment.”

To read more, click here.


A new report aimed at assessing the clinical robustness of digital health companies using a more comprehensive definition of clinical rigor and looking at the companies’ public claims finds they still have work to do.

“Clinical robustness and public reporting of claims remains weak across much of the industry. These results highlight a significant opportunity for companies to differentiate themselves and for customers to demand greater validation of the products and services they purchase,” according to the report.

To read the report published in the Journal of Internet Medical Research, Click here.

Image: akindo, Getty Images

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