Posts in Junto Profile
Junto Profile: Lyra Health

According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental or neurological disorder in their life.

Additionally, mental health-related issues prevail as the leading cause of poor health and disability across the globe, impacting more than 450 million people. Clearly, there is an imminent need for widespread mental health services- across the globe. This need introduces an opportunity for the digital health world to design technologies for mental health and therapies.

Many people do not realize how difficult it is to find the right mental health professional. In her piece “How to Find the Right Therapist”, New York Times author Marissa Miller explains that seeking out a therapist is like “dating”, and that a fabulous therapist for one individual is not effective match for another individual. Miller recounts her process of asking for recommendations from friends, only to find that her friend’s recommendations did not suit her needs. Miller explains that it took her three years to find the correct mental health professional for herself.

What if technology could be used to increase the speed and efficacy of therapist matching to help people like Miller? Lyra Health does just that. Headquartered in Burlingame, California, Lyra Health uses a digital match-making process to match individuals to the right kind of treatment, and the correct professional for their specific needs. We spoke with Amelia Gilbert, Director of Partnerships at Lyra Health, to understand how Lyra is using technology to increase the efficacy of mental health care.

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Junto Profile: MirrorMe3D

From cosmetic surgery, to breast reduction, to post-trauma facial reconstruction, surgery in the United States is widely prevalent in the United States. In 2002, the American College of Surgeons calculated that the average American will undergo 9.2 surgeries in their lifetime. Despite this prevalence, the complications of ill-performed surgical procedures still remain a pressing issue. 3% of hospitalized patients who received surgical procedures experience adverse complications. These complications range from steep drops in blood pressure, hemorrhaging, wound infection, and many more deadly consequences.

MirrorMe3D, based in New York, creates full-color, patient-specific 3-D soft-tissue models, useful for modeling surgical procedures. Using .mtl files from high-quality 3-D cameras, engineers at MirrorMe3D perfect and cut exact replicas of surgical processes. By creating intensely precise templates made of flesh-like soft tissue material, surgeons can conduct complex and intricate surgeries with greater accuracy, diminishing the overall rate of surgeon error. Additionally, by providing patients with 3-D models of their surgical procedures, patients can visualize their procedure before it happens, providing a piece of mind. Patients and surgeons alike have provided positive feedback on MirrorMe3D’s innovate approach to surgical modeling, contributing to higher patient satisfaction and safety. We spoke with Jordan Mills, CEO at MirrorMe3D, to understand how MirrorMe3D has improved surgical procedures thus far, and the impact that MirrorMe3D’s soft-tissue 3D modeling has for the future of surgery.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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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