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.

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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.

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Junto Views From the Summit: Part 1

On June 14th, Junto held its 2018 Summer Summit at Cornell Tech’s newly opened campus on Roosevelt Island. Summits are invite-only events that bring together over 50 senior executives, representing nearly 40 organizations, for a day of knowledge sharing, networking, and collaborative project development. Our Summits reflect our view that many of the problems faced in the healthcare industry today will only be solved by breaking down organizational silos and working with complementary partners.

At each Summit, we ask community members who are doing innovative work within their organizations to share their expertise, with the goal of inspiring, teaching, and cross-collaborating with others in our community. Our speakers share their insights  and “how-to” stories; these discussions have proven helpful to industry veterans as well as recent entrants.

Our first speakers at this year’s Summer Summit were Dr. Dodi Meyer and Isaac Kastenbaum from New York-Presbyterian, who shared their experience designing, co-developing, and implementing a comprehensive screening system for social determinants of health (SDOH). They identified 4 key takeaways of their new screening initiative, based on the challenges they faced along the way.

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Junto Profile: Awair

Wearable fitness devices were the first health technology products that truly made me consider whether health tech had the ability to make a big splash into the average, consumer goods marketplace. With fitness devices, you did not have to have a particular illness or set of health needs to find use for them, which is rare in the health tech world. While their merits may still be debated, it was still nonetheless remarkable that all the sudden one day everyone was monitoring their steps on their wrists.

Ronald Ro and his team at Awair have developed a consumer-facing healthcare product that, similar to the wearable fitness device, may soon be found in the hands of individuals all across the country.  Awair is a sleek device that monitors the quality of air in a room and then provides recommendations to create a healthier home environment. This device is moving beyond simply monitoring the health of one's body and is instead taking into account the large impact that the environment plays on health outcomes. The premise behind Awair is that you should not only be worrying about air quality once you are suffering from the adverse consequences of pollution, chemicals, or dust. Instead, you should be working to stabilize your environment and prevent these adverse consequences from ever arising. 

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Junto Profile: EpiBone

What if everything you needed to recover from an injury or illness was already residing within your own body? Nina Tandon and her team at EpiBone are trying to make this idea a reality with their mission to harness the body's healing power and develop a new method of skeletal repair. The EpiBone team has figured out how to harness the power of a bioreactor to mimic the conditions found in the human body which enable bone growth. In just three weeks, they are able to build a personalized bone graft out of adult stem cells that is ready for implantation. 

With a PhD in tissue engineering and an Executive MBA in healthcare entrepreneurship from Columbia University, Nina has been making waves in both the academic and commercial world with her revolutionary bone growth process. Fast Company named her as one of the top 100 creative people in business and she also is a TED Senior Fellow. In 2017, Nina was also named as a Finalist in Heritage Healthcare's Annual Innovation Awards. 

Currently, EpiBone is on track to begin their first human clinical trials this year with a plan of going to market in 2023 if all goes well. We caught up with Nina to learn more about what it has been like to grow her company in New York City and how EpiBone has been received within the medical community.

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Emerging Surgical Technology: The Problem & The Solution for Improving Outcomes

A guest post by Dr. Justin Barad, the Founder & CEO of Osso VR: I have been astonished by the pace and number of recent advances in our ability to treat disease and injury.  Many of these advances often come in the form of new technologies.  Amazing innovations in the fields of endoscopy, catheterization, robotics, imaging, navigation, 3D printing and more allow us to do things that were previously not believed to be possible.  What we also did not foresee though are the complications that have come with them.  In general, these new technologies are far more complicated than simpler techniques from the past. But the real challenge is not simply that technology is more complex; it’s that these solutions are being released into a system of medical training that has not changed in over a century, and unfortunately, is beginning to fail us. This problem, or training gap, is only increasing over time, and ironically, technology is also one of the only ways to address it.

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Rhythms of Health

A guest post by HealthRhythms CEO, Tanzeem Choudhury: Listen carefully.....Can you hear the clock ticking inside each cell in your body? Probably not, but our health actually revolves around the many clocks inside of us and how well they are aligned with one another. In fact, the most recent Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to three scientists who studied our circadian roughly 24-hour) rhythms precisely because they understood how central these rhythms are to our health. 

Much of healthcare and, surprisingly even digital approaches to healthcare are ignorant of how critical our body’s clock or clocks are to the optimal timing of medication, surgery, chemotherapy and a host of other interventions. Nor, is there clear recognition of the role of that the  timing  of sleep, meals, activity, rest and a host of other behaviors play in determining the course of the chronic medical conditions that account for the majority of disease burden in the developed world.

At HealthRhythms we are taking a scientifically validated approach to improving the mental and physical wellbeing of all individuals by leveraging the passive sensing capabilities of commercial smartphones to identify behavioral health patterns and to further demonstrate the importance of physiological and behavioral rhythms and their role across disease.

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No, Your Doctor Won't be Replaced by a Robot

A guest post by MDCalc Founder & CEO, Joe Habboushe: AI has been taking over medical tasks for 50+ years – improving, not replacing, doctor’s ability to care. Recently, several large tech companies have tried to sell AI as something new: a mysterious black box that can “sniff out” diagnoses and treatments and eventually replace docs. Beyond their inability to explain how they’re planning to develop such technology - beyond a general hand waving around “big data” - they also seem to ignore that artificial intelligence has been changing medicine for decades. It has not replaced doctors. In fact, we are actually currently experiencing a physician shortage. However, AI has been beneficial on other fronts with its ability to increase the quality and quantity of care we provide.

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Junto Profile: Neopenda

Very few digital health companies decide to develop products for low-income and low-resource settings. Founders Teresa Cauvel and Sona Shah decided to step up to this challenge with the development of their company Neopenda that is focused on designing a wearable device  to monitor infant's vital signs in developing countries. 

Originally starting their product development at Columbia University in 2015, Tesesa and Sona soon joined the Relevant Health Accelerator in Rockville, Maryland and began building a name for themselves, Today, their company has been featured by the likes of Forbes, Deloitte, Global Citizen, and Cisco. We caught up with Teresa to learn more about what led to Neopenda's founding and where the company hopes to be heading by the end of this year.

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