Junto Profile: PsoHappy

Caring for patients with chronic conditions is challenging for a multitude of reasons. The lack of a sustained, cure-all treatment makes chronic conditions taxing for both patients and clinicians alike. While many people understand the physical turmoil component of a chronic condition, the emotional turmoil is far more difficult to qualify, and quantify. Located in Copenhagen, Denmark, LEO Innovation Lab, founded by LEO Pharmaceuticals, looks to understand chronic skin conditions in totality, not just in their physical manifestation. In tandem with other pharmaceutical companies looking to move ‘beyond the pill’, LEO Innovation Lab designs holistic digital-tech solutions that provide patient care in ways medications can not.

In order to effectively address unanswered patient needs, LEO Innovation Lab needed to hear from patients themselves. Through their digital application, PsoHappy, LEO Innovation Lab surveys patients with chronic skin conditions to understand the mental impact of such conditions, such as psoriasis. Using this data, LEO Innovation Lab has generated two World Psoriasis Happiness Reports, which quantify the mental impact of chronic skin conditions. The reports generated startling statistics as to the true global costs that chronic conditions inflict on society. We spoke with Catalina Cernica, Director of the PsoHappy project at LEO Innovation Lab, to understand the accomplishments of PsoHappy, the findings of the latest World Psoriasis Happiness Report, and where LEO Innovation Lab is looking to grow their digital health platform.

Read More
Patient Protection in the Era of the Doctorpreneur

The term “doctorpreneur” has been coined by the media to refer to the ambitious group of doctors who are disrupting the healthcare industry with innovation solutions to pervasive problems. Over the years, the medical community has earned its place in the startup world, proving that it’s not just computer scientists and engineers who can innovate in the 21st century. In the past 20 years, the number of joint MD-MBA programs in the United States has grown from just 6 programs to more than 70. Even those without an MBA degree are finding the allure of the business and tech world intriguing and have sidelined their professional medical practices to pursue healthcare business ventures.

The concept of having doctors design health tech solutions for fellow clinicians makes perfect sense on many levels. No one has better insight into the needs of clinicians and patients than medical professionals themselves, as they are the individuals who regularly experience the challenges these solutions seek to overcome. The perspective that doctors hold in regards to the inner workings of the healthcare system is one which even an experienced business professional is unlikely to ever gain.

While the success of the physician-founded startup is promising, it also introduces new challenges to patient protection. This new frontier introduces greater complexity to questions surrounding physicians involvement with business endeavors, and specifically, how doctors balance corporate financial and advisory roles alongside their role as unbiased care providers.

Read More
Junto Profile: Ride Health

When we think “quality of care”, we typically think of the safety and efficacy of services provided inside of the hospital. We evaluate hospitals and other institutions of care based on their ability to tend to patients’ needs once they step through the doors of a medical building. But what if a patient doesn’t have the resources to arrive at the hospital to begin with?

Rural populations, senior citizens, and children face the challenge of procuring a ride to their appointment, greatly jeopardizing their health and wellness. If vulnerable groups are unable to access care due to transportation barriers, the “quality of care” they would receive inside the hospital is irrelevant. 

According to the American Hospital Association, 3.6 million people are unable to access care services due to transportation issues. For senior citizens, lack of transportation is the third most common cause of missed medical appointments. 

Enter Ride Health, a digital platform partnering with medical centers such as Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center, to provide ride-scheduling services for patients who would otherwise lack transportation. Ride Health was founded in 2016 by Imran Cronk and Suman Khetpal and is focused on using on-demand ride technology to help connect together patients, providers, insurers, and drivers as a means of overcoming transportation barriers. The HIPPAA-compliant, web-based, user-friendly interface allows medical staff to schedule patients with both on-demand ride services, and non-emergency medical transportation, in advance of appointments.

Read More
Junto Profile: MindCotine

According to the CDC, adult Americans have decreased their smoking habits from 20.9% in 2005, to 15.5% in 2016. However, cigarette smoking continues to be the leading cause of death among preventable diseases in the United States. An estimated 37.8 million Americans still smoke, resulting in 480,000 deaths every year. Public Health professionals continue to assess the efficacy of health initiatives targeted at breaking cigarette addiction; however, no one strategy has emerged as a clear solution.

Classic smoking intervention models such as the Truth Campaign and the CDC’s various national campaigns have been able to make dents into the number of smokers in the U.S., but few technology focused interventions have risen through the ranks.

When we came across biomedical engineer-turned-CEO, Nicolas Rosencovich, and his innovative solution to breaking cigarette addiction: MindCotine we were intrigued to learn more about the vision he had for integrating smoking cessation principles with the technology advancements. MindCotine uses virtual reality technology to help break cigarette smoking addiction. For $50, those battling cigarette addiction can purchase a kit, which combines virtual reality and Mindfulness-based Exposure Therapy, to help cigarette smokers gain insight and learn hope to cope with nicotine addiction. While virtual reality may not be the ideal solution for every user and population segmentation, the design principles and global approach that Nicolas has taken with his company most definitely provides a unique perspective about the potential for cutting-edge technology to be integrated with classic therapeutic and psychological principles.

Read More
Junto Profile: Henry Health

In the United States, 1 in 5 adults have a mental health condition, but 56% of these individuals are not currently receiving appropriate treatment. African Americans have been seen to be 20% more likely than Caucasian Americans to report experiencing significant psychological distress, however they use mental health services at only ½ the rate of their white counterparts.

Henry Health was founded in 2017 and has set the goal of adding 10 years to the life expectancy of black men within the next 25 years through mental health awareness, treatment, and destigmatization. Filled with ambition, drive, and passion, the Henry Health team stands out as a health technology company that is aiming to improve the lives of at-risk individuals and potentially help turn the tide on startling downward trends in life expectancy rates and health outcomes seen amongst African Americans throughout the country. 

We recently interviewed their founder, Kevin Dedner, so we could hear more about the work that Henry Health is doing and their newly launched telehealth platform.

Read More
Junto Profile: Hoy Health

The United Nations has estimated that over the next 40 years, just about 2 million individuals will move every year from a poorer nation to one that is developed. About half of these individuals are expected to arrive in the United States.

While the data clearly illustrates that it is time to update our notion of what an American should look and sounds like, the United States government continues to struggle to address basic ethical and moral issues regarding immigration and globalization. Luckily, everyday citizens are taking it upon themselves to positively shape their communities in response to the changing demographic trends to become more inclusive and culturally sensitive.

This is beginning to change however, thanks to entrepreneurs such as Mario Anglada, who has stepped forward to help provide better representation and access to services for the Spanish-speaking population within both the confines of our country’s borders and abroad. Just last year, Mario founded Hoy Health, a comprehensive platform that is focused on providing access to bilingual English and Spanish speaking healthcare professionals as well as affordable medication. At Hoy Health they, “understand that care that is out of reach due to language difficulty, cultural misunderstandings, economic hardship or inability to connect with the right professional at the right time is not only a detriment to you as a patient but to the USA healthcare system as a whole” and are working to shift the healthcare paradigm within the U.S. so that it better reflects today’s current population demographics needs.

Read More
Amelia EdwardsComment
Addiction in Crisis: What Impact Can Technology Have On The Opioid Epidemic?

For the past three years, I have been living as a transplant from New York City in Somerville, Massachusetts while attending Tufts University. This past Spring, I was once again reminded that one does not always know what happens behind the closed doors of a small town as I sat in one of public health courses watching Runnin', a new documentary about the devastating impact of the opioid crisis. Directed by Alex Hogan, a journalist at STAT, this film explores how the opioid crisis has affected and tore apart Hogan’s hometown community of Somerville. While he was covering the opioid beat for STAT News, Hogan began to contemplate about how he could illustrate how widespread the crisis was and the impact it was having on friends and family members of those who were addicted.

Read More
Junto Profile: Spry Health

In the United States in 2014, chronic conditions accounted for 7 of the top 10 major deaths. Nearly 93% of all Medicare costs are on treatment for chronic health conditions like heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis. An estimated 195 million Americans live with a chronic disease but healthcare institutions have yet to find an effective solution for care.

That’s where Spry Health comes in. Founded in 2013 by Pierre-Jean “PJ” Cobut and Elad Ferber, the startup has created a wearable device, called “The Loop,” that updates doctors on their chronically ill patient’s health status. The logic behind the device is simple: if doctors can get updated continuously on their patient’s health data, they can prevent some emergencies. Spry Health recently won the MedTech Breakthrough award for Best Biometric Sensor Solution. 

We interviewed Pierre-Jean Cobut last week to discuss wearables, the state of chronic health care provision currently, and what to expect from this relatively new company in the next year.

Read More
Junto Views From The Summit: Part 2

Dr. Swiernik and Haddad have been working together on integrating digital solutions into Kaiser Permanente’s network. At the Summit, they spoke about the three big lessons they learned to avoid future failures in the healthcare business and 4 key questions to ask yourself on the road to organizational improvement.

Dr. Swiernik and Haddad defined failures as “ideas in action that do not work. They may teach you something, but they will not get you closer to your goal.” Their thesis: failure is a natural part of experimentation, and while it is important to learn from failure, you should strive to fail less over time in order to remain close to your overall goals.

Read More