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SyncThink, Inc.: Reimagining Neurological Care through XR

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Over the past five years, healthcare has been among the fastest-growing adopters of extended reality (XR) technology, as the list of use cases has exploded during this period. Currently, more than one-third of healthcare organizations utilize XR technology across patient care verticals. This has fueled extraordinary future growth potential highlighting enterprise XR in healthcare within an estimated $4+B market. While XR-based medical education, surgery, and therapeutic alternatives figure to play prominent roles in improving patient care, neurological care has been described by many as a clinical area exceptionally well-positioned for breakthroughs in delivering benefits from innovations utilizing XR.

While acute and chronic neurological conditions continue to rise in numbers amongst children, adults, and aging seniors, there remain limited diagnostic and therapeutic options for clinicians and patients. Due to the many unknowns surrounding the prognosis of many neurological conditions and the persistent failures of CNS drug trials to deliver effective medications, many providers are resigned to rely on subjective patient information when making a diagnosis and charting an appropriate course of treatment. This market need drove Dr. Jamshid Ghajar, MD, Ph.D., Stanford Neurosurgeon, and SyncThink founder, to develop EYE-SYNC. The EYE-SYNC technology is the first XR-based digital health platform to provide objective data to identify the type and severity of various neurological impairments.

Dr. Ghajar developed the EYE-SYNC technology over a ten-year period while working with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to offer a rapid, field deployable, and easy-to-use technology to assess mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in soldiers. During numerous trials with the U.S. Army, he utilized a novel Head Mounted Display (HMD) fit with eye-tracking cameras and emitters to objectively quantify impairments related to TBI. These discoveries became validated biomarkers for several common neurological impairments and diseases through extensive additional studies. In 2016, the EYE-SYNC technology received its first FDA clearance to analyze, view, and record eye movements in support of identifying visual impairments.

“EYE-SYNC provides a unique window into the brain by providing key metrics in the measurement of attention,” said Dr. Ghajar. “Our brain uses our eyes to pay attention to the world around us, and when impaired, EYE-SYNC captures changes in our eye movements suggestive of various medical conditions requiring treatment. It is an essential tool for advancing the future of precision neurological care.”

Today, EYE-SYNC has evolved into a sophisticated eye-tracking software and analytics platform. Utilizing a customized Virtual Reality (VR) form factor enabled with high fidelity, research-grade sensors, and a connected handheld tablet, clinicians can determine and create the precise assessment protocol needed for a suspected neurological condition. Once the testing battery has been established, the patient is asked to interact with a stimulus inside the HMD. During a series of 60-second assessments, eye gaze positions are recorded by the cameras, and numerous eye gaze positions relative to the stimulus are measured and analyzed with proprietary algorithms in order to determine the position error variability and any abnormal movements that may be consistent with a specific neurological impairment. Once this quantification method occurs, the results are immediately displayed on the clinician tablet for viewing and interpretation through a detailed clinical report. This information can then be used by the clinician to arrive at a diagnosis and initiate the correct treatment approach to mitigate against patients identified deficits.

Neurology, sports medicine, primary care, optometry, and physical therapy clinicians currently utilize EYE-SYNC across the lifespan, from the assessment of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), concussion in adults and athletes, and in the assessment and monitoring of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases.


The EYE-SYNC technology is the first XR-based digital health platform to provide objective data to identify the type and severity of various neurological impairments

While these conditions have been historically diagnosed by the patient-reported symptoms, clinicians are now able to utilize objective data and metrics to support diagnostic decision making, monitor the pace of improvement and overall effectiveness of therapies, and better understand the effects of disease progression. “It’s the new brain health vital sign,” says Microsoft CMO David Rhew, MD.

The EYE-SYNC platform also provides additional functionality beyond eye-tracking capabilities. Most clinicians also utilize EYE-SYNC as a Brain Health Electronic Medical Record (EMR), equipped with native clinical workflows that facilitate comprehensive patient data collection. Standardized clinical forms, questionnaires, and other neurological assessment inventories are embedded within the EYE-SYNC platform to digitize the standard diagnostic workup that most providers managing neurological conditions rely on. This creates a streamlined approach which can be seamlessly integrated into patient interactions. “EYE-SYNC technology has improved my workflow by helping me come to a more accurate diagnosis in a shorter period of time,” said Mohammed Ahmed, MD founder of Kaizen Brain Center, which is revolutionizing brain diagnostics and treatment with cutting-edge biotechnology. “Now I have an objective measurement. I can look at and know where to hone down my clinical evaluation.” This data, in aggregate and combined with robust eye tracking measures, establishes a feedback mechanism for the provider in which cloud-based, computational, and machine learning technology inform them more specifically about the patient’s disposition. This analysis model can be trained as more data is captured or can be exported to another database through a modern API.

In the past three years, the need for rapid, accurate and reliable digital health technologies and the clear value demonstrated by EYE-SYNC has only served to further its clinical adoption. Currently, SyncThink maintains over 3,200 clinical users worldwide, over 100,000 patient assessment records, and the largest eye tracking database in the world. As such, EYE-SYNC users span prominent customers across healthcare systems, physicians, professional & collegiate sports teams, and the military. While many clinicians have benefitted from implementing objective data into their decision making, patients have also benefitted from increased access to EYE-SYNC. A clear, quantified diagnosis, with a corresponding treatment plan and prognosis, has allowed patients to remain motivated through treatment while observing objective improvement in their results over time. This reinforces the effectiveness of the care plan. With the lifetime cost of care for most neurological conditions over $1 billion in the US, payers are also enthusiastic about EYE-SYNC’s early and effective Point of Care intervention. This, coupled with customers’ reported reimbursement, demonstrates a clear ROI benefit to a provider and an organization.

As the healthcare XR market approaches a rapid growth period, so too does the future of EYE-SYNC. Thanks to the prioritization of sensor development in XR devices in order to enable features like foveated rendering, EYE-SYNC will be able to leverage these sensors in an off the shelf capacity, making it more hardware-agnostic in 2021. This will allow its software and analytics platform to migrate to more advanced VR hardware and select Mixed Reality (MR) HMDs. In doing so, SyncThink will expand its diagnostic and therapeutic clinical offerings, creating a broader reach into other neurological impairments and to a larger population of providers across various areas of the clinical community.

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Top 10 Healthcare AR VR Solution Companies - 2021
SyncThink, Inc

Company
SyncThink, Inc

Headquarters
Palo Alto, CA and Boston, MA

Management
Dr. Jamshid Ghajar, MD, PhD, Founder , SyncThink, Inc

Description
Dr. Jamshid Ghajar, MD, Ph.D., Stanford Neurosurgeon, and SyncThink founder, developed EYE-SYNC. EYE-SYNC provides a unique window into the brain by providing key metrics in the measurement of attention. Today, EYE-SYNC has evolved into a sophisticated eye-tracking software and analytics platform. Utilizing a customized Virtual Reality (VR) form factor enabled with high fidelity, research-grade sensors, and a connected handheld tablet, clinicians can determine and create the precise assessment protocol needed for a suspected neurological condition. Once the testing battery has been established, the patient is asked to interact with a stimulus inside the HMD