Grant helps REALTROMINS, RENCI develop medical devices to aid critically ill children

CHAPEL HILL, NC, February 22, 2008 – Keith Kocis, a collaborator with the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), professor of pediatrics, and M.D. in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has received funding for further research and development of a new medical device to revolutionize how critically ill infants and children are monitored and cared for in pediatric intensive care units.

Kocis and his research teams from RENCI and the department of biomedical engineering at UNC Chapel Hill, received a $188,812 grant from the North Carolina Research Competitiveness Fund to create additional medical devices through REALTROMINS (Real Time Risk of Mortality and Instability), a UNC-backed startup company that aims to build next-generation medical devices to help medical teams better monitor and respond to the changing clinical condition of critically ill and hospitalized neonates, infants, children and adolescents.

The grant money will allow REALTROMINS to create two additional medical devices that use their predictive modeling technology. The technology collects patient data from hospital monitors in real time, integrates and analyzes the data, and provides a continuous overall score that quantifies the patient’s risk of mortality.

RENCI works with REALTROMINS to develop and test new algorithms and approaches to collecting and integrating data, and outputting it in a form that is useful for health care providers. RENCI also helps Kocis’s research team evaluate the effectiveness of the new devices so that medical intervention can occur before deterioration progresses. Over time, RENCI and REALTROMINS hope to integrate the devices with the hospital’s other adult critical care units, to better tailor predictions for each patient and provide health care professionals with a command and control perspective across critical care units.

“We are deeply honored to have been selected as one of the first recipients of the Research Competitiveness Grant and to have the chance build upon our initial success,” said Kocis. “The RENCI partnership has given us expertise in data integration and analysis that you don’t often find in a small, newly formed venture. With RENCI as a collaborator, we are well positioned to compete in the biomedical devices sector and, most importantly, to meet the needs of critically ill and hospitalized children, their caregivers, and their families.”

The first REALTROMINS prototype device, created in August 2006 for use with critically ill children, analyzes continuous electrocardiogram data, calculates heart-rate variability and advanced metrics from laboratory data, and quantifies a risk-of-mortality score that is updated every two minutes.

The Research Competitiveness Fund was created by the North Carolina General Assembly last year. The General Assembly allocated $3 million for University-based research efforts that hold strong economic development potential and could also solve important state problems or create new jobs.

REALTROMINS Inc was launched in 2007 and is based in Chapel Hill. For more information, see

RENCI…Catalyst for Innovation
The Renaissance Computing Institute brings together computer and discipline scientists, artists, humanists, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, state leaders and educators for collaborations designed to reshape science, the economy, the state of North Carolina and the world. RENCI leverages its expertise and resources in leading edge computing, networking and data technologies to ignite innovation and find solutions to previously intractable problems. Founded in 2004 as a major collaborative venture of Duke University, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the state of North Carolina, RENCI is a statewide virtual organization.  For more, see