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HelpWear is bringing innovation to heart monitoring

Founded in 2015, HelpWear, external link, opens in new window was one of the Biomedical Zone, opens in new window’s very first companies. Since then they have continued to innovate in the healthcare industry with HeartWatch, a wearable heart monitoring system that provides high quality, affordable, and accessible monitoring. Recently, co-founder Frank Nguyen was the recipient of the Ascend Canada Innovator of the Year Award and the team has also just moved on to the national finals of Pitch@Palace. Find out the story behind the product and what’s next for this exciting Zone Learning company!

What inspired you to start HelpWear?

The HelpWear story starts with our Co-Founder Frank Nguyen, and more importantly his mother Lan Nguyen. Lan has vision problems and is also hard of hearing. One day when Frank got home, he found his mother at the bottom of the stairs with a broken leg. By the time they got to the emergency room, physicians determined that she hadn’t simply slipped and fallen, she also suffered a cardiac event at the top of the stairs. Due to a lack of data from the event occurrence, there was very little that doctors could do in recommending proper treatment.

Frank and his co-founder André quickly learned that this isn’t just an issue for Lan, but for 17 million critical heart patients in North America. This motivated the two to put their skills in engineering and science together to develop the HeartWatch, a wearable heart monitoring solution that provides doctors with high-quality data they need to prescribe treatment.

What are some of your goals with the company?

Currently, HelpWear is dedicated to bringing the HeartWatch to market, and helping improve patient outcomes through high quality, affordable, and accessible monitoring.

How do you think HelpWear can change or disrupt the industry?

The current gold standard of heart monitors are Holter monitors. These devices attach 6-12 wires across a patient’s chest, and can only be worn for 2-3 days. Holter monitors limit patients from performing everyday tasks like showering. With the HeartWatch, patients will be able to wear the device for longer periods of time and doctors can assess a patient’s status remotely with the data being sent from the device back to the clinic.

How have your recent successes (Ascend Canada Innovator of the Year Award, Pitch@Palace etc.) impacted the company?

HelpWear recently brought on Dr. Derek Exner (a renowned cardiologist and the Canadian Research Chair in Cardiovascular Clinical Trials) as our Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Exner’s expertise and years of experience in cardiology and electrophysiology allow HelpWear to include a more advanced clinical perspective on our day-to-day operations.

HelpWear’s Co-Founder & CTO, Frank Nguyen was recently named Ascend Canada’s Innovator of the Year by TD Trust Canada and Ernest & Young. HelpWear also won the Pitch@Palace Regional Pitch competition and will compete in nationals later this month for a chance to meet the Royal Family of England. Both these successes demonstrate the progress HelpWear has made from ideation to developing disruptive technology.

What role has Zone Learning and the Biomedical Zone played in your success?

HelpWear was one of the first companies to be incubated in the Biomedical Zone after graduating from the Ryerson Basecamp program in 2015. Both Zone Learning and the Biomedical Zone were critical in supporting HelpWear through the company’s ideation phase. The Biomedical Zone also connected HelpWear with clinical champions at St. Michael’s Hospital’s Cardiology Department, a connection HelpWear still utilizes today.

Find out more about HelpWear and the HeartWatch on their website, external link, opens in new window.