May 30, 2022
Vitestro, a medical robotics company based in The Netherlands, has announced an advanced autonomous blood drawing device that combines artificial intelligence, ultrasound imaging and robotics. The device is designed to empower patients to be self-efficacious in the full blood collection procedure, and is expected to be introduced in 2024.
The Vitestro system combines AI-based, ultrasound-guided 3D reconstruction with robotic needle insertion, ensuring accurate and secure blood collection, the company said. The venipuncture technology is adaptable to patients aged 16 and older, as well as those with comorbidities and puncture difficulty. The company said beginning in 2023, it will initiate clinical studies for regulatory approval in Europe.
Vitestro said that the clinical laboratory is the driving force in healthcare, with accuracy and timeliness key to approximately 70% of medical decisions made by physicians. Blood collection (phlebotomoy) is the most common invasive medical procedure that is performed billions of times per year globally. Yet the role for blood collection is also burdened by the scarcity of skilled workers, Vitestor said.
The system standardizes the handling of the blood sample while the blood is collected, and it allows for the complete automation of the pre-analytical phase. Vitestro said this has the potential to reduce high blood test error rates, caused mainly by manual variability. In clinical studies, the system performed 1,500 automated blood draws in more than 1,000 patients.
“The mounting shortage of healthcare personnel is imminent,” said Toon Overbeeke, the co-founder and CEO of Vitestro. “The pandemic has further led to loss of workforce, causing a bleak outlook for hospital output around the globe, and leading to reduced access and continuity of care. That’s why revolutionary automation like our blood drawing device is inevitable to solve the industry’s biggest problem.”
Vitestro said initially it plans to implement the device in outpatient phlebotomy departments, with patients given the option to choose between the device or a standard method. In its previous clinical trials, the company said patients of all ages showed a high degree of openness, enthusiasm, and willingness to adopt the innovation. A trained healthcare professional is also able to supervise several devices, managing multiple patients simultaneously, which can allow hospitals and clinical laboratories to address workforce shortages or free up staff to deploy them in other needed areas.
“We have spent nearly five years on the development of this breakthrough medical device,” said Overbeeke. “All relevant disciplines are represented in our dedicated, specialized team of 35 people. To prepare for production and commercialization, the team will double in size in the next two years. We have clear momentum in the market and will be the first to bring autonomous technology to European hospitals.
For more details on the company and its system, visit the Vitestro website here.