Success At All Costs?

I touched on this briefly in my New Year’s post.

What saddened me when I dug deeper into medical startups in 2016 was that, quite often, success was seen as something to achieve at all costs, with no respect for customers, colleagues, or the wider community.

Even if a brand has a carefully constructed facade, it will all fall apart behind the scenes if you don’t genuinely care.

Coming from the similarly ruthless world of physician training, I found it very disappointing, especially when startups and the entrepreneurial world are trying to attract more clinicians.

Most clinicians are attracted to healthcare because of the caring aspect. They genuinely want to help make a great contribution to people’s lives, through direct patient-clinician contact.

That compassion and vulnerability can be misused by unscrupulous individuals and companies, and even with a strong Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, the WHY behind the company can be lost.

Is any industry safe from this?

No.

But it’s up to us, the individuals, to keep our values in mind, and live them.

For real.

Are you living your Mission Statement?

Best Reads This Week, September Edition

We’ve been quiet for awhile! Hello again :)

It’s great to be back!

We’ve got a lot happening at The Medical Startup- thankyou for bearing with our site facelift as it happens.

For now, entertain yourselves with a roundup of some great articles we’ve enjoyed from around the Web this week.

  • Beth Comstock’s a CEO- and an introvert. Tips and strategies at Girlboss.com.

  • Clinical trials are underway for novel early-stage cancer screening through a simple blood test. (The article’s from January but still relevant!)

  • Our friends at Lysn have been listed as one of the top 5 Mental Health social enterprises in tech to watch, along with other inspiring startups. Check out the full list at Social Change Central.

What are some articles and resources you’ve enjoyed recently? Share your finds below!

Melbourne startup Nebula Health Raises $250,000 in Seed Funding For Best Perioperative Patient Care

First published June 6, 2017

What makes patients’ lives easier?

Having clear, up to date communication with their doctor and treating team.

The problem is, time pressures and administrative structures in most hospitals and clinics make this difficult both for patients and clinicians.

Australian surgeons Dr Paul Paddle and Dr Chandrashan Perera have created a solution for this. Nebula Health delivers smartphone reminders and advice via app directly from the surgeon to the patient, improving the quality of pre-operative care, post-op recovery and long-term health of their patients, in an easy-to-use and efficient manner.

 

Nebulahealth1.jpeg

Nebula Health’s new patient-focused app will help patients prepare for and recover well from surgery, with clear instructions tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Photo courtesy of Nebula Health.

As Chief Medical Officer Dr Paddle explains, “The concept for this app was borne out of my own experience and frustration. As a practicing ENT surgeon, I strive to check in on my patients at every step, before and after their surgery. However, in the time-pressured realities of medical practice today, it’s often not possible. With this app, my patients receive personalised directions every step of the way. In return, I receive real-time notifications of their compliance. As a result, my patients have more confidence in my abilities, are more satisfied and have better health outcomes.”

Frustration with the limits of current best patient care are what drive startups formed by doctors, nurses and other clinicians. Perioperative medicine is a standout opportunity for healthtech innovation, given the enormous breadth of surgical patients and cases, spanning from neonatal to paediatrics and adult surgery, and the non-surgical complications that can occur (such as cardiac events) amidst the high turnover of operative cases. A precision medicine solution like Nebula’s app could potentially also help those patients on waiting lists who are anxious about surgery or wanting advice in between appointments.

 

MAP launch 2016.jpeg

Melbourne Accelerator Launch Party 2016. Photo: The Medical Startup

Since completing their time with the Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP), Nebula have visited Silicon Valley with the other MAP graduates and iterated the initial concept of their product into a helpful perioperative app. What was the journey like as a clinician and startup founder? “We tested thirty (surgical) patients using a prototype. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and it encouraged us to develop this concept into a market-ready product.” explains Dr Chandrashan Perera , Nebula’s CEO. “Patient testimonials from this trial turned six surgeons into early customers. From this traction, we were able to close our seed round. This funding will allow us to grow the team and scale our services to more patients.” Indeed, at least two more medical doctors have joined Nebula‘s team, and Nebula’s vision has impressed angel investors including Rod Lyle, a board member of ASX-listed medical technology company Pro Medicus.

It’s been exciting following Nebula Health’srapid journey from the Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP).  Other medical successes include compatriots CNSDose, a pharmacogenetics company who are now part of the Texas Medical Center’s Innovation Accelerator, and other graduates of the MAP program.

Currently, Nebula Health are looking for more surgeons in hospitals and clinics who are interested in their software. For a demo or more information, please contact Li (at) nebulahealth.com.

Congratulations and best wishes to the team!

Singapore Stanford Biodesign Paid Fellowship Open for Applications

First published April 17, 2017

 

If you’ve ever wanted to experience medical innovation in Asia, this opportunity is for you.

The Singapore Stanford Biodesign Fellowship gives clinicians, engineers, developers, designers, and other aspiring healthcare innovators the opportunity to be immersed in a healthcare innovation project for a year. A unique program that unites diverse career pathways, the SSB Fellowship comprises five months at Stanford in America; immersion and project rollout in a Singaporean hospital; and a three-week clinical immersion in another Asian hospital outside of Singapore. Similar to the original Stanford Biodesign Fellowship, a stipend is included for the program’s duration.

Members of the Singapore-Stanford Biodesign Fellowship team. Pic courtesy of SSB.

The clinical theme for the year is selected by SSB’s Board members, challenging participants to develop valuable experience in areas outside their usual training. New ideas are stimulated when an orthopaedic trainee is given an obstetrics focus for the program; similarly, we believe strongly in thinking outside the box to generate better medical solutions.

Some of the program’s previous fellows have gone on to commercialise their projects and been listed on Forbes’ “30 under 30.” There is an option to extend the program for a further period of time after the initial year.

Entries close 2nd May 2017. Preference is given to Singaporean citizens and permanent residents; however, it’s worth a shot if you’re passionate about healthcare and medical technology in Asia. For more information, please visit ssbiodesign.org.

To hear about other programs and opportunities, sign up for our mailing list

The Virtual Ward Round Is Here: Highlights from Day 2 HiNZ, Successes and Failures in Telehealth, and the Global Telehealth conferences

First published November 2, 2016

We’ve been very inspired from the talks and positive atmosphere at HiNZ, SFT and the Global Telehealth conferences this week. New Zealand is a country that deserves a lot more credit for their innovation in medicine and global healthcare. Here are some of today’s highlights:

1) Virtual Ward Rounds and Consults help patients and clinicians alike feel supported and at ease with care. Dr Eddie Tan, nephrologist from Waikato Hospital, spoke about the “hub and spokes” model of care that Waikato Hospital and its satellite rural hospitals and clinics run. With hundreds of kilometres between sites, Dr Tan and his colleagues are on planes at least every fortnight for clinics that may last just a few hours before returning back to Waikato. This is problematic when rural patient emergencies develop; however, Telemedicine with videoconferencing to the satellite clinics has helped the Renal team conduct assessments, minus the hours and dollars spent on travel (and minus hours of patient/family stress). It has also prevented unnecessary hospital presentations, and brought critical patients to hospital sooner.

Eddie Tan Hinz.jpg

Dr Eddie Tan, kidney specialist at Waikato Hospital NZ discussing Telehealth in Renal failure. Pic: The Medical Startup

Dr Tan’s colleague, Waikato District Health Board (DHB) renal nurse Jenny presented her research paper on how palliative care decisions were made easier with telehealth’s videoconferencing capabilities. This meant that difficult and time-critical family and patient conversations could be had in the comfort of the patient’s home, without wasting precious time in the potential final days of life arranging hours or even days of transport for the same consultation.

Dialysis ward rounds also help Dr Tan assess end-stage renal patients who may deteriorate very rapidly and become fluid overloaded.

Similarly, Rehabilitation ward rounds by telemedicine has helped patients in a rehabilitation ward feel happy and secure with their care. Registered Nurse and PhD candidate Sophie Gerrits’ research has so far found that rehab patients and staff at Thames Hospital, Waikato DHB New Zealand, are happy with the consults, and the elderly patients have adapted well to the new technology. The Ward Registrar goes from bed to bed with a telecart, and the Rehabilitation Physician or Geriatrician video-calls weekly in from the tertiary hospital, in addition to their usual weekly face-to-face visit.

 

Staff appreciated having a second chance during the week to ask questions and raise issues that had arisen in the days since the last visit. The main issue to overcome was “patient jitters” at not knowing what to expect from a video consult and what was expected of them. This reinforces the need to counsel patients prior to a consult; that they can speak, behave and ask questions just as they would if the clinician was in the room with them.

2) Telestroke Improves Door-to-Needle Time in New Zealand

Yesterday, Dr Chris Bladin of the Victorian Telestroke Program discussed the very promising findings from the Victorian Telestroke Program research in rural hospitals, with hopes to expand to other Australian hospitals. Today, New Zealand Neurologist Dr Anna Ranta showed that since Telestroke has piloted from 3rd June in the Capital and Coast DHB, door-to-needle median time has reduced from 80 minutes down to 54. With cerebral ischaemia being a critical matter of seconds, this is a significant early finding, and along with other positive outcomes, will hopefully help push for a Telestroke rollout in other DHBs.

 

GTC 4 nations hinz.jpeg

1,100 delegates attending HiNZ this week. HiNZ Awards Dinner at Shed10, Auckland, sponsored by Microsoft. Pic: The Medical Startup

3) The finalists for the Sysmex Award for Health Informatics at the University of Auckland have promising ideas for mobile health applications. The winner, Daniel Surkalim, was announced tonight at the HiNZ Awards dinner. By creating visually appealing, simplistic views of patient data, his project, GRID(Graphical Relational Integrated Database) will help solve the clinician bugbear of “too much data, not enough sense” that occurs in many existing EMRs (electronic medical records). The other finalists deserve commendation for their work; Frances Toohey with Dr.Doctor for clinicians and patients to track eReferrals, and Kyle Frank’s MedScript to facilitate e-prescribing solutions for patients and doctors.

4) Tele-ophthalmology in India aims to cut waiting lists for a population short of ophthalmologists. Dr Sheila John of Chennai, India has done extensive work with diabetic retinopathy and machine learning, and inspired us with her dream to help rural villages be screened for diabetic retinopathy accurately and safely without a long waiting period for an eye specialist. Dr John quotes 60 million people in India as suffering from diabetes, with nearly 20% experiencing diabetic retinopathy, a cause of blindness if left untreated.

 

GTC 4 nations hinz.jpeg

Speakers from four different nations closing the Global Telehealth conference today; L-R: Global Telehealth co-chair Dr Kendall Ho of Canada; Dr Karen Day of NZ; Dr Laticha Walters, South Africa; and Dr Sheila John, India. Pic: The Medical Startup

With four events running this week, it’s impossible to catch all sessions at once. Watch the conference on demand, even after this week, with a Virtual Ticket, including one year’s worth of membership with HiNZand HIMSS Asia-Pacificamong other benefits. We thank HiNZ for providing media access to the conferences and truly enjoyed the experience.  

Highlights from HiNZ, Successes and Failures in Telehealth, and the Global Telehealth Conference Day 1

First published November 1, 2016

We’re Tweeting live from #HiNZ2016 in Auckland this week. Follow us on Twitter @themedstartup and @journalmtm, the Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine. We’re also on Instagram @themedicalstartup.
Virtual tickets with HiNZ membership are still available at
hinz.org.nz. 

What were some of today’s highlights?

1.Experiencing the Maori welcome ceremony. It was incredible seeing the haka and other traditional ceremonies performed to commence the event. Kia Ora!

 

kia ora welcome hinz.jpeg

Pic: The Medical Startup

2.Learning about New Zealand’s healthcare system. New Zealand’s DHBs (District Health Boards) manage the various hospital regions in the country of two islands, supported by the national Ministry of Health (MoH). With a large rural and regional population, their DHBs have managed to put together various digital health solutions to overcome the geographical, cultural and at times, linguistic barriers that occur. (We’ve written about what Australians are doing with telehealth here, and Dr Gregory Sam’s telepsychiatry service here.)

3. Discovering what sensor wearables can do for the elderly.
Professor Marjorie Skubic of the University of Missouri’s Computer and Electrical Engineering Department, has carried out extensive research into sensor wearables, inspired by her own journey to help her parents feel safe yet independent while living a considerable distance away from her. Gait analysis using Microsoft Kinect depth cameras; sensor mats in beds that measure respiration and heart rate; and other sensors embedded in the home environment are all part of her research, giving hope for the elderly to feel supported and independent while their children can continue work.

marjorie skubic wearables falls hinz.jpeg

Prof Marjorie Skubic discusses Eldertech at HiNZ2016. Pic: The Medical Startup

4. Experts acknowledging that technology is a means to a human-centred solution for healthcare. As Lord Nigel Crisp of the United Kingdom said below during his address:

The Medical Startup@themedstartup

"Healthcare is a human contact sport" - Lord Nigel Crisp quotes his friend at @HINZ_NZ #hinz2016 @nhsdigital

8:12 AM - Nov 1, 2016

See The Medical Startup's other Tweets

Twitter Ads info and privacy

Additionally, Homecare Medical, who won the tender for New Zealand’s National Telehealth Service, understand that citizens don’t expect healthcare to be limited by geographical boundary anymore.

The Medical Startup@themedstartup

"The Virtual world doesn't respect the boundaries of District Health Boards (&other local health systems)" Andrew Slater, Homecare Medical

9:27 AM - Nov 1, 2016

1See The Medical Startup's other Tweets

Twitter Ads info and privacy

This leads into the topic of Precision Medicine Personalised Medicine. As technology evolves, patients will feel more empowered to take control of their healthcare (as they already do by Googling symptoms and performing other forms of accessible research), and clinicians will have to evolve to understand their patients’ perspectives better. Patients will expect medicine doses and timing to be tailored; their leaflets or apps about their conditions will  be personalised; and more forms of personalisation to enable better living.

5. Learning what Clinicians think of Big Data. Big data is important, but what good is it if it’s of no use to you in future? With big data comes big responsibility, and collecting unnecessary data wastes valuable time and resources.

jMTM@journalmtm

"I thought Technology would be v important with all this,but it's actually Change ie.human behaviour-"Prof Chris Bladin @TheFlorey #Hinz2016

8:46 AM - Nov 1, 2016

1See jMTM's other Tweets

Twitter Ads info and privacy

– above quote from Prof Chris Bladin when presenting his journey as a neurologist with the Victorian Telestroke program, which has successfully treated rural and remote patients throughout the state. They’re now looking to expand to other States.

The Medical Startup@themedstartup

"Elective #surgery is a great target for #bigdata but you need #goodquality data"Dr Mark Fletcher #anaesthetics #registrar#hinz2016 #ehealth

11:11 AM - Nov 1, 2016

2See The Medical Startup's other Tweets

Twitter Ads info and privacy

6. Watching the Finalists of the Clinicians’ Challenge, supported by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health. It strikes a chord with us that a national government supports and empowers their clinical staff as innovators, being the ones at the coalface of medicine. Finalists include an Anaesthetic Fellow; a Pharmacist undertaking doctoral studies; a Public Health doctor; and a Junior Doctor working in Dunedin. Stay tuned for further details, as well as updates on last year’s Ophthalmology and Surgical winners.

For more information on HiNZ, visit hinz.org.nz.

Meet Google Impact Challenge Winner Dr William Yan of “Vision At Home”

First published October 24, 2016

 

Update 26 Oct ’16: William’s project has WON the Google Impact Challenge! Thank you to everyone who voted and showed your support for bringing eye testing to remote and mobility-challenged communities. Congratulations William and CERA! 

Dr William Yan and his team at the Centre for Eye Research Australia are finalists in this year’s Google Impact Challenge. Their project, Vision At Home, is an algorithm-based software that accurately tests visual acuity (eyesight) via webcam at home. Vision at Home helps rural, remote and mobility-impaired users access easy-to-use, high-quality testing through feature recognition, particularly in rural areas with little or no access to ophthalmologists. There is scope for Ishihara (colour blindness testing) and visual field testing to be added to this evidence-based software.

Will shared with us his journey from surgical residency to PhD candidate to Google award finalist.

willyan.jpeg

Dr William Yan, Surgical resident and Ophthalmology PhD candidate. Pic courtesy of Will.

What was the inspiration for Vision At Home?

Vision At Home was inspired by the Australian health gap, and how technology has already changed our lives in so many ways. Less than 1% of eye specialists work in remote Australia, but almost all these areas have access to the internet. Time is not on our side to bring changes in infrastructure to remote Australia, given its size and vastness, so telemedicine is a shortcut and means of bridging the gap sooner.

What has been your pathway through medicine so far?

I’m a second year Surgical resident from Melbourne – I knew I wanted to do more after internship and be a bit creative. I’ve always had research supervisors who’ve inspired, challenged and supported me. This year, I spent six months overseas working on several projects together with my PhD. The background to this was always finding interesting topics to start and run short projects on throughout medical school.

To be honest, I haven’t always known I wanted to do ophthalmology but I have always had an interest in eyes. My vision was saved by ophthalmologists growing up but there were so many different specialties in medicine that I wanted to try for myself before deciding on a career. I spent time at the Royal Eye and Ear Hospital, Melbourne in my final year of medical school, which was a real highlight. I really enjoyed my experience and seeing the impact of the work. I’ve met a lot of really inspiring, humble clinicians and innovators in ophthalmology – it’s a culture I really like.

How has your research helped you and your team create a healthcare program with global impact?

Being enrolled as a postgraduate research student opens up a lot of doors and opportunities. For starters, it positions you to have close relationships with outstanding academics and leaders, and to be involved with creative discussions, ideas exchanges, and to learn about how the gears turn outside of clinical medicine. Additionally, you’re eligible for support from the University in the form of grants, workshops, exchanges and project seed funding.

How have your mentors and supervisors helped you along the way? 

Through hearing what people are working on at CERA,what they’ve achieved and some of the big questions being asked. It’s been a privilege working with Prof. Mingguang He from Melbourne University, and Prof. Robert Chang from Stanford as part of the Vision at Home team, who’ve become my mentors and role models.

How long has it taken from idea to now to form Vision At Home?

Vision at Home has taken nearly two years to translate. Right now we are on the cusp of delivering it to Australian communities as a tool to improve access and establish a national vision screening program/platform. In 3 years, with Google’s support we will reach 100,000 people through Australian homes, clinics, hospitals and schools and over 500,000 people in developing countries where 90% of the world’s vision impaired reside. To get this project into the hands of everyone who needs it, we need support and votes! We’re giving people a tool to save sight, and empowering them to see tomorrow.

To vote for Will and CERA’s project, visit Australia’s Google Impact Challenge website by clicking the banner below.  

googleprize2.jpeg

Innovations for Aged Care and Senior Citizens at the Digital Health Show

First published April 19, 2016

 

The Digital Health Show Conference and Workshophad some standout projects aimed at improving the lives of the elderly and more vulnerable in our communities. Innovation for our ageing population will help integrate our society’s communities, improving wellbeing across all age groups. Here are some highlights:

 

1) A/Prof Valerie Gay and Dr Peter Leijdekkers of UTS showed how their community model, Le Bon Samaritain, links elderly residents in the community with “Good Samaritan” neighbours who are alerted via smartphone app if the resident is in distress, via a Red, Yellow and Green light system. Using “tech to empower communities,” this will help engage neighbours with often isolated members of the community. From our experiences working primarily with the elderly, we’ve seen many preventable hospital admissions occur during heatwaves, floods and falls, and feel that systems like these will help improve safety in our communities.

2) Philip Goebel, Physiotherapist and co-founder of Quanticare technologies, demonstrated the Footprints sensor, that attaches to a user’s walking frame and analyses gait during everyday use. The Internet of Things Innovation World Cup Winner at Barcelona, Philip created Footprints in response to the feeling that “our healthcare system is very reactive; focusing on fall detection, rather than indicator of cause.” Footprints uses an optical sensor which analyses gait via spatio-temporal gait metrics. The data generated can assist with prescribing mobility aids and falls risk management.

 

3) The ePAT (Pain Assessment Tool) for Dementia uses facial recognition software assess pain accurately in dementia sufferers, who often cannot verbalise their pain. Founded by Professor Jeff Hughes, former head of Pharmacy at Curtin University, he described how, by using the inbuilt cameras on smart devices, ePAT can assess facial pain cues at the point of pain onset, as well as non-facial pain cues. The benefits for dementia sufferers and their carers, will extend to more accurate pain management in hospitals and the community, and is being looked into with pre-verbal children.

4) Eureka ConnectionA/Prof Helen Hasan, Information Systems specialist from the University of Wollongong, hosted a workshop discussing Eureka Connection’s vision for bringing computers and smart devices to senior citizens. Starting with the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Helen’s passion for bringing tech literacy to seniors through home visits, community centre stations and education was reflected in the videos of seniors who were awed at sending their first email, receiving their first Skype call, and joining their first Facebook community group during a seasonal flood. As the elderly are at more risk of injury and isolation, tech education to encourage connectivity and social integration helps their wellness and physical health. Giving advice on how to set up a computer or smart device; selecting the right device for their needs, making it user-friendly by, for example, enabling large text; and helping them to reload credit and find hotspots are just some of the things this ambitious project hopes to achieve.


What are your thoughts on these projects for seniors? Comment below.

The Medical Startup attended the Digital Health Show 2016 on a courtesy pass. See our other highlights from the Digital Health Show here.