Hemi announced our Series A investment in Heroic Faith, the only AI-powered real-time auscultation monitor in the world that supports critical care medical practitioners. Hemi has been dedicated to support innovative, rising technology that will reform the healthcare industry. Fushun Hsu, CEO of Heroic Faith, spoke with Hemi about his perspectives and outlook on the development of medical technology.
Q&A: Heroic Faith CEO, Fushun Hsu, on Being at the Forefront of Lifesaving Technology
“In the ICU, we do everything to save lives, fast and reactively. I have to react quickly to the situation, but sometimes the outcome may not be as satisfying. As I transition to startup, we’re proactively creating support for life-endangering situations before they happen.”
Heroic Faith is developing the world’s first vital sign sensors for pulmonary and cardiovascular systems, in a hope to enhance the prognosis of intubation patients. What inspired the invention?
There are three scenarios that drove us, in the intensive care unit (ICU), in the operation room, and in a community-based care setting. In the ICU, there is a risk of over-management where inexperienced staff may jump to intubate a patient when conditions like bronchospasm occur. In the operating room, deaths from apnea result from poor respiratory monitoring. Respiratory monitoring in a community-care setting focuses on chronic cardiovascular diseases like COPD, asthma, and heart failure. Respiratory monitoring is definitely a crucial part when it comes to the setting of telemedicine. We want to break the time and space barrier and revolutionize auscultation by providing continuous breathing sounds recording and analysis in a real-time manner.
Heroic Faith recently demonstrated its latest artificial intelligence (AI) combined with respiratory monitoring, and met with the former staff of the FDA and the military. How will this major accomplishment impact the company?
We already had positive feedback from the Taiwan Society of Anesthesiologists on our products in terms of respiratory monitoring. In the pursuit of setting foot on the US market, we definitely welcome positive support and relations with big organizations. It gives us confidence now that we are starting trials using out prototype products with real patients in the hospital.
Medical device innovations for critical care units are still nascent. How do you think the industry will evolve in the next 3–5 years?
I think It will move more toward “less invasive” or “non-invasive” ways, like using auscultation or infra-red technology to evaluate patients. Therefore, critical care will be able to be provided in a less sophisticated setting, not only in a confined unit.
You have over a decade of experience working in ICUs as a physician. What’s your experience transitioning from clinical practice to a startup?
In the ICU, we do everything to save lives, fast and reactively. I have to react quickly to the situation, but sometimes the outcome may not be as satisfying. As I transition to startup, we’re proactively creating support for life-endangering situations before they happen.
The company was recently presented at TechCrunch and is listed as one of the key startups in Taiwan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. How did you lead the team to achieve such global recognition?
We started small and humble with very limited resources. All our equipment and monitors were stored in our meeting room. We even used an adjustable hospital bed that we had for demonstrations as a desk. Starting like this, we had to be open-minded and work together at a productive pace. A lot of good ideas actually came from the tiny environment.
Your ideal is “saving lives through innovation.” Leading a company that’s at the forefront of bringing new medical devices to critical care units, what’s the impact you’re trying to create in the long-term?
What we are doing is incorporating more advanced technology into the field of patient care.
We want cardiopulmonary diseases, such as acute attacks of asthma and COPD, pulmonary edema, congestive heart failure, to be detected earlier, properly managed, and the fatal cascade thus avoided. Our innovation with AI technology is an effort to combat the limitations of time and space in the intensive care unit.
What is your personal mission that led you to join Heroic Faith as CEO?
At Heroic Faith, I have the chance to save more than just one life at a time. This is made possible with adequate respiratory monitoring. According to the research from the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), with close ventilation monitoring, there is a 17% reduction in the mortality rate when performing procedures under non-intubated deep sedation/general anesthesia.
What makes you excited to go to work every day?
I am excited to work with my colleagues from different medical and technological backgrounds. It’s a challenge to sit between two people speaking different “languages,” but there is also something very rewarding when we get positive feedback from the hospitals we work with.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I am a wine lover and connoisseur. I study wines, write academic reviews on them, and host events regularly.
What’s your favorite memory working with Hemi?
When I was first introduced to Fergus, I tried to recruit him. He simply replied, “How about Hemi as an investor? That way, you will get both my help and the money?” When I met Amy, she struck me as a visionary, someone who sees the long-term value, not just the current price of things.