Sleep apnea currently affects 1 billion individuals globally, and 80% of cases go undiagnosed. When left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of a multitude of other health issues, such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and depression. In a typical sleep study, a number of different vital signs are tracked—heart rate, oxygen level, breathing, brain waves, movement, and more. As a result, large amounts of data are being collected, monitored, and stored. Sleep clinicians often spend hours analyzing this data—which not only takes time away from patient care, but also increases the already high backlog of sleep test orders.
The founders of EnsoDataTM recognized an opportunity to improve this process in real-time and gather insights on vital signs by empowering sleep clinicians with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to help them score studies more quickly. EnsoData’s product, EnsoSleepTM, uses the cloud to accurately score sleep studies in minutes so that sleep center clinicians can spend more time with patients and less time with computers.
Figure 1: Summary of EnsoData Insights from 11/1/19-12/1/19
As a cloud-native company, EnsoData can scale up and down in real-time and process tens of thousands of studies a month. EnsoData began its cloud journey with a popular public cloud, but after 4 years decided to switch to Google Cloud Platform (GCP). On GCP, the team feels less confined and more productive. EnsoData uses Google Transfer Service to transfer large amounts of data quickly and efficiently between clouds, and querying tools such as BigQuery and BigTable.
The EnsoData team also leverages Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) to help with autoscaling on EnsoSleep. Using GKE, the team can automatically spin up a node to process each study in parallel—and do so while ensuring compliance to HIPAA standards. This is especially important to maintain a consistent and fast scoring turnaround time, as most sleep studies EnsoSleep processes are ready for scoring early in the morning, requiring massive processing power but only for a short period of time.
After partnering with another security and compliance company on its previous cloud platform, EnsoData switched to partner with ClearDATA. According to EnsoData Chief Technology Officer Nick Glattard, ClearDATA provides a great deal of flexibility in working with the GCP console natively. Glattard states, “by partnering with ClearDATA, EnsoData gets the best of both worlds—full control over our production infrastructure with all the benefits of built-in HIPAA compliance and security oversight”.
From a security and compliance perspective, Glattard states, “the most difficult part about being a startup in healthcare is the regulation and all the hurdles you have to clear. It’s not just about delivering an amazing customer experience and moving faster than bigger players, you have to do this while maintaining the stringent security and regulatory requirements that exist in healthcare”. The company has gone through a number of cybersecurity evaluations and was especially concerned with maintaining the same level of security that they had on the first cloud platform when they were transitioning to GCP.
The EnsoData team is able to access the cloud more natively than before, crunch and manage large amounts of data more quickly and utilize querying tools more efficiently—all to create a scalable, HIPAA-compliant cloud solution.
Glattard believes that having a great culture of compliance is critical when running a healthcare startup, as well as making sure that you have a great platform to work off of that provides necessary security and compliance features but safeguards you while you’re developing. The EnsoData team leverages ClearDATA Automated Safeguards for GKE and finds a great deal of value in the ClearDATA Compliance Dashboard providing features such as audit logging, image hardening, and vulnerability scanning and antivirus.
EnsoData Impact & Future Plans
By partnering with ClearDATA on GCP, EnsoData can focus on building for scale without worrying about their compliance posture.
In the future, EnsoData aims to broaden its vital sign analysis offerings and make it available real-time at the bedside, where although vitals are recorded in high resolution, hospitals do not have the resources to monitor for warning signs and a vast majority of this information-rich data is discarded after only a few days. EnsoData sees an enormous opportunity to relieve the burden of manual analysis with their artificial intelligence platform—freeing up clinician time and improving patient outcomes. “We want to help provide clinicians with a holistic understanding of what's happening with patients in real time by giving them the ability to interpret more data than any person could on their own,” Glattard states.