Posts in Junto Profile
Junto Health: Akiri

Data privacy and security is one of the largest challenges facing the healthcare industry. Medical records sell for $1000 on the dark web. Healthcare organizations spend thousands of dollars thwarting ransomeware attacks, and paying for the damages of successful attacks. In 2016, 88% of ransomeware attacks were in the healthcare industry, making healthcare the primary target of such attacks. The efficacy of patient care, and patient safety, are both compromised when data remains unprotected. Healthcare IT professionals have to take many time-consuming and expensive measure to protect patient data.

Enter Akiri. Akiri is combines a private network and an open platform to securely share data. Only subscribers inside of the created network can share data within the network, ensure that data is protected. Akiri serves patients, providers, physicians, pharma, developers, and papers alike, preventing fraudulent uses of personal health information.

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Junto Profile: Healx

Of late, we have seen Artificial Intelligence (AI) transform the healthcare landscape in ways previously unimaginable. Many believe that AI has the capability to increase both the efficiency and the accuracy of the healthcare industry. Many startups have already explored how AI can be applied to various facets of medical treatment, ranging from pathology, to medical imaging, to genomics, to vision assistance. AI has also been used to help healthcare companies organize and manage their operations.

Under the leadership of Tim Guilliams, Healx is introducing AI to an special group of patients in need of treatment: those with rare diseases. Through their novel AI platform Healnet, Healx uses AI to match patients with the most appropriate treatment. Rare diseases are often difficult to manage, as their associated symptoms and other intricacies can be difficult to track. Furthermore, many rare diseases currently do not have appropriate medications for treatment, so funding and direction for drug discovery is still needed . Aligning the priorities of Pharma and rare disease patients can be challenging, as rare disease treatment medications may not generate the same revenue as ‘blockbuster’ medications. With rare disease patients in mind, Healx looks to revolutionize the way medical professionals diagnose and treat rare diseases so everyone, no matter what ills them, receives the care they deserve. We spoke with CEO Tim Guilliams to learn more about what Healx has accomplished, and what they are looking to do next.

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Junto Profile: Nicotrax

We all know how difficult it is to quit smoking. Whether we have learned through mass media campaigns, watching friends or family members battle addiction, or battled addiction ourselves, the health consequences of smoking are not unknown. Sixteen million people in the United States live with smoking-related diseases. However, despite the public perception of smoking as dangerous and harmful, 34.3 million people in the United States still smoke.

A major reason that many people continue to smoke is because quitting is incredibly difficult. Only 4-7% of people who attempt to quit smoking are able to do so once-and-for-all. Many Americans have spent decades formulating this addictive habit, and despite their doctors’ warnings, various treatment programs, and their family’s pleadings, they simply cannot stop.

Enter Nicotrax. Nicotrax uses digital technology to optimize the efficacy of smoking therapeutics. Using Artificial Intelligence, Nicotrax personalizes treatment plans for smokers, allowing them to quit faster and more cost-effectively. At the frontier of digital health, Nicotrax gives smokers hope that quitting is possible.

We spoke with the Kyle Linton, CEO of Nicotax, to learn more about Nicotrax’s innovative approach to therapeutics for those who smoke.

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Junto Profile: TextUp

For those of us who do not provide direct care to customers, clients, or patients, it is easy to forget how demanding service-based roles can be. Providing personalized, around-the-clock attention is physically and emotionally exhausting. Initial communication, and necessary follow-ups, are both time-consuming and difficult to track as they accumulate in voicemail and email inboxes. Social workers, physicians, therapists, and teachers know that their job rarely consists of a standard 8-hour workday. Even when these professionals are technically “off-the-clock”, they still maintain open communication channels with those they serve. Managing these communication channels, while still respecting time away from work, is a pervasive challenge in service-based industries.

TextUp, a software platform for care providers, streamlines and manages essential communications for those responsible for personalized care. Founded by a team of social workers, Text Up uses technology to monitor text and call communications for service providers. Social work agencies, schools, medical care providers, and therapist offices have all marveled at the ease of communicating internally and externally through Text Up’s platform.

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Junto Profile: genneve

There are 34 commonly recognized symptoms of menopause. This extensive list of symptoms range from irritability, to panic disorder, to gum problems, to electric shock sensation. Many of these symptoms mirror those of life-threatening diseases and disorders. And yet, while menopause is emotionally and physically taxing, it a completely safe and normal biological process that all women undergo. The management of penomause symptoms introduces a challenge both for women, and their care practitioners. With such a wide range of symptoms, how do clinicians effectively manage and assess menopause? How do care practitioners support menopausal women, and how do these women support themselves? Furthermore, how can women and clinicians understand if their symptoms are cause for medical attention?

Enter genneve, a female-founded health tech startup looking to provide peri- and menopausal women with the resources they need as they live through menopause. Through their telehealth services and extensive library of podcasts, genneve matches women to expert care and advice as they look to understand their menopausal health. We listened to Jill Angelo, former Microsoft Executive and CEO/founder of genneve, describe her journey founding a women’s health startup, as she navigated the male-dominated venture capital and technology spaces.

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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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