I founded ENvizion with my partner Shay Tsuker in 2017 as a privately-held Israeli medical device company, starting with a real passion to improve patient outcomes across the continuum of care. We have focused extensively on the development of advanced, personalized navigation technology for enteral feeding tubes placement.
Our solution utilizes a GPS-like system that enables clinicians to navigate the feeding tube safely past the lungs into the small intestine, the optimal place for nutrition absorption. The ENvue system utilizes multiple sensors and known anatomical landmarks to generate a 3D map of the patient’s body without any need of an X-ray.
I believe quick, confident, and effective action in medical procedures, particularly in the midst of a global pandemic, is a top healthcare priority. In September 2019, we received FDA clearance to deliver exactly that through our ENvue enteral feeding tube solution, and just 12 months later, we signed a nationwide agreement with one of the largest private hospital networks in the U.S., providing feeding-tube-placement navigation devices nationwide.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
As entrepreneurs in the medical device field, part of what we continuously do is identify clinical issues that need to be addressed. Around the world, more than 30 million feeding tubes are placed each year, in hospitalized patients that need nutrition support, often by nurses using traditional blind insertion techniques.
Placing the tube with no guidance (blindly, via the nose) can lead to 4-5% chance of lung misplacement resulting in 1.3 million patients that will suffer from a collapsed lung or fatal consequences, yet these losses have slowly become the accepted collateral of high-risk ICU procedures. Immediate nutrition is also particularly crucial for patients who are mechanically ventilated in an ICU, post major surgery or born prematurely.
All are at risk of a significant deterioration in their medical condition if they do not receive adequate nutrition through a feeding tube. A 2019 study by NCBI found a majority of nutritionally high-risk patients failed to receive adequate calories and subsequently developed malnutrition. We began recognizing the critical need for early feeding in the small bowel as the best way to combat this.
Since medical errors in hospitals were cited as the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the BMJ, the issue of effective enteral feeding protocols has become a point of increasing concern in recent years, particularly in treating ICU patients. With this in mind, the potential to significantly improve risky feeding protocols was too large to ignore, especially with the knowledge that human error in medicine can be fatal.
It’s been way too long since anyone truly innovated the enteral feeding tube process, and we realized addressing that challenge could literally save lives while reducing the financial burden on medical institutions. Recognizing the critical need of lowering the risk of tube misplacement, our team at ENvizion applied our expertise in electromagnetic navigation and enteral feeding to develop the ENvue system. This solution combines an accurate body map, smart feeding tubes with built-in sensors, and continuous visual guidance tools to assist clinicians.
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How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
The current pandemic has accelerated the demand for safe feeding protocols, as the number of patients requiring enteral feeding grew as a result of COVID-19. For us, this was game time. This was our chance to use the technology we built to help save lives in a time of crisis.
As a result, hospitals are increasingly recognizing the need for ensuring nutrition quickly and effectively. We’ve experienced a 30-40 percent rise in demand for feeding tubes from our connected hospitals since the onset of the pandemic. This type of backs-against-the-wall scenario has really helped set our solution apart.
What can we hope to see from ENvizion in the future?
As we continue to navigate our way through the pandemic and beyond, our aim at ENvizion is to further expand our reach into the U.S and open new markets in Europe. We already have agreements in place with private medical networks across the states. With the success of ENvue navigation system, we are also currently developing feeding tubes specific for young children and toddlers that helps us extend our net to more potential patients.