The Health Innovators

Risk Assessment in Research and Development (R&D)

Health tech apps are rising and falling as developers across the spectrum scramble to create, improve, out-do, the current generation of devices. Medical devices are super hot in health care present and future.

To some degree following trends in the industry can give us a glimpse of what is to come. Still, foresight and staying power are tough for all involved in health and tech entrepreneurship and engineering development, R&D.

Nike illustrates well the cut-throat action necessary to keep up or grow today. In December, 2013, Mashable published a list of health tech trends to watch in 2014. One hot category they note is wearable tech such as the Fitbit and Nike Fuelband.

A mere four months ago the wearable devices group; devices that encourage healthy habits–get-healthy apps that track and reward users fitness–were leaders. Today, Techcrunch announces Nike is abandoning the Fuelband. Health tech is progressing so fast, the Fuelband couldn’t keep up and big companies like Nike know when to kill their children. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Many health start-ups end up killing themselves before they ever get to have children (metaphorically again).

Know when to pause and when to stop. By pause I mean do an assessment of the business you are trying to create. Have you met goals so far? Are you on target? Do you even know what your goals and target are? These are simple examples of many critical questions. The answers lie in the experience each team member brings to the table, and in how well the team follows success trails, trails that no doubt include a few failures.

When to stop is a much harder call. We all know the Nike company walks in big shoes. More than that,  everyone knows that Nike has been around for a long time. Long enough, monitoring trends and competition, to know when to stop and move on to R&D new ideas in which they can compete.

Update from Techcrunch: Nike isn’t abandoning Fuelband, new color options coming soon.

Funding innovation and the entrepreneur

Do you watch Shark Tank on your flat-screen? It’s a great look into the minds of venture capitalists and the budding new business. As you know, not all of them succeed with the Sharks, yet some do, and often the producers give us a view of these businesses one year later–after the VC Shark has helped them out. What a wonderful feeling that must be. Of course, that’s not how it happens for most people. Even for the winners on Shark Tank who get funded it’s a tough road ahead of them to make their baby idea a real, marketable reality. As a three-time entrepreneur myself, I relate to the new idea as a baby. Fragile and new, the parents overwhelmed with how to care for it and help it grow. It’s a lifetime commitment.

Some entrepreneurs are so excited about the conception of their idea, they want to move to quickly from baby to toddler. Often, that’s when good ideas go bad. There is a mourning period for the team. Then they ask, what did we do wrong? They review the plans, reams of  paper create a visual of how it will work, learning about patents and the arduous process to becoming patented. Money is not easy to come by these days. We all know that. I believe in the old saying, you get what you pay for. There are some things that do not lend themselves to full value in cutting corners. Attorneys know this; especially patent attorneys. Yet, what’s the starry-eyed entrepreneur supposed to do? The drive to succeed is greater than the need to eat, it seems. Good ol’ Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, it’s always there. Ramen Noodles; remember cooking those in a hot-pot at college? Ah, the good old days. Back to funding and the starry-eyed entrepreneur, there are levels of help available. It’s all the money the founder has, maybe added to a co-founder or two, and if that’s not enough, there are the parentals who did so well saving all of their lives, and made oodles of money back in the ninety’s, now it’s their investment into retirement. Or is it? Above the parental level, the starry-eyed entrepreneur happens to see Shark Tank and learns about Venture Capitalists. On the same level but seeming far more generous and gentle, the Angels. It’s just an illusion. The starry-eyed entrepreneur has entered reality shark tank and their baby idea is put to the test. Will it thrive? Or will it fail to thrive? There is more work to do, is how it usually goes. There is so much homework to do it truly is at times, overwhelming. Where to being? The answer; at the very beginning. For more information and a great opportunity to meet a panel of VCs, RSVP to http://www.healthinno.org/upcoming.html.

RSVP Today for the Google Glass blast with the Health Innovators!

The Health Innovators are very excited to host an evening of discussion about Google Glass. We have four fab speakers who will introduce the audience to:

  •  Glass in the Operating Room;
  • specialties developed as a result of Google Glass;
  • optimization of patient visits through Google Glass;
  • how Google Glass is transforming health education;
  • the challenges health professionals face in use of Google Glass, such as dealing with personal health information (PHI), HIPAA, and integration into electronic medical records (EMR).

Please join us for refreshments and to welcome the presenters who have first hand experience of Google Glass and where it fits in healthcare, how it will change healthcare. Who doesn’t have questions about Google Glass?

Dr. Mahek Sartori

Dr. Mahek Sartori

Dr. Mahek Shah is a former business and finance banking professional now active in redesigning the healthcare experience. He has lived and studied abroad where he examined United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), Spain’s European Union (EU), integration, and effects on the global economy.

Andrew Sartori

Andrew Sartori

As a proud Google Glass owner and high-tech expert within Healthcare industry, Andrew Sartori previously enrolled and completed as a participant in the last Boston/Cambridge class of Healthbox—an accelerator that advance technology, redefine change, and grow companies in healthcare by driving action in collaboration between inventors, entrepreneurs, and the healthcare industry. In addition, he is the founder of CASAGEM, the startup company, known as the eHarmony for Homecare. CASAGEM provides a platform that includes mobile tools for caregivers through in-home care coordination and documentation accuracy, assessments in homecare and nursing, data visualization and analytics. This includes a list of front-end features, such as a barcode scanner and a native GPS app.

Darren Tseng will also present his experience and skills in Cloud Health Technologies. As an innovative, conceptual designer and relentless entrepreneur, Darren Tseng seeks to leverage and combine wearable computing platforms

Darren Tseng

Darren Tseng

Sony Salzman

Sony Salzman

in the industries of finance and healthcare delivery. Formerly responsible for market research at OpenView Venture Partners and now a consultant at CloudHealth Technologies, Darren is a Founder of Zimension Inc. – an emotional response-modeling platform for financial traders.

Sony Salzman, managing editor of MedTech in Boston will present about
emerging trends in healthcare innovation on Google Glass. Ms.
Salzman is a science journalist delivering high quality coverage of
the newest technological advances to MedTech Boston readers. See more information at www.healthinno.org.

Google Glass, it’s cool and emerging innovation

Glass, as it’s known, is still in the early stages of the product life cycle. The truth is, no one knows exactly how great Google glass reach will grow in terms of value and ability—yet. This is especially true in health care.

Google has plenty of competition in the Glass arena. Samsung, Sony, Apple, all the big dogs in technology are creating or introducing copycat products appealing more to the masses in price point. In my opinion, the most interesting part of this new wave of Glass is its impact on society. It’s clear the novelty is exciting, and different.

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Without realizing it, we are learning where we need to make adjustments. Naturally, glass wearers are recording videos and seamlessly taking pictures like never before. This leads, naturally, to the question of where and under what circumstances are Glass allowed. It seems we as a society are again challenging boundaries  previously unknown, like in movie theaters, where the Glass is not welcome for the obvious reasons of video. Unlike the smart phone, Glass sits fashionably above the right eye. The reach for this media is not obvious. It’s working, recording, with no hand effort on people who are unsuspecting and unaware. Imagine that the person, three people behind you in the grocery store line is wearing a Glass and recording the transactions, recording the people waiting, what they are doing while they wait, the mother who stoops down to speak to her little girl. Personally, I find this a bit creepy.

Creepy or not, like most, I am eager to try this technology. I want to see clearly through glass. It is a new dimension for enlightenment. Developers are working on a line of Glass for prescription eye wear. Right now, being a new innovation, the Glass is different from normal eye glasses. By the time I get them, my prescription glasses that I am wearing now, may have glass ability.

What do you think, is it creepy or cool? Are you aware someone may truly be watching you via Google Glass or another brand? How many songs have run through your head on this subject? Here’s a few of my funny Glass thoughts. I hope you enjoy these videos, and let me know if they keep playing in your head. You’re welcome!

I can see clearly now (Johnny Nash, YouTube)

Hold your head up (Argent, YouTube)

When will I see you again (The Three Degrees, YouTube)

Is Google Glass the new frontier in health innovation?

Google Glass Exploration Edition. Photo credit: Wikipedia.org

Google Glass Exploration Edition. Photo credit: Wikipedia.org

Have you been fortunate enough to experience Google glass? I have yet to see Google Glass in person. It’s not Google glasses, it is singular, glass. It seems that Google has done to glass what Steve Jobs did with Apple.

Apple, of course, is in step with Google as a competitor, with iGlass. It’s true, Google iGlass. I can only hope that Apple brings iGlass in at a lower price point. At $1500 for Google glass, it could be a while before most of us actually own it. That’s just my opinion. When you want something bad enough, you will find a way to get it.

Google Glass is a computer mounted above the right eye. It contains a microphone and bluetooth capabilities. Image credit: Antonio Zugaldia as seen in Medical News Today, January 2014.

Google Glass is a computer mounted above the right eye. It contains a microphone and bluetooth capabilities. Image credit: Antonio Zugaldia as seen in Medical News Today, January 2014.

Google glass responds to voice recognition. If you were wearing the device now, you might say “ok glass, take a picture” and it’s done. Record videos hands free on command. Ask for directions while driving, walking, anywhere. Google glass not only does things; video, pictures, directions, it also knows a vast amount of knowledge. I’m going to guess that Google Glass is more intelligent than Siri. Nothing against Siri, I like her very much. Although, my feelings may change with the tech.

Aside from the entertainment value and instant gratification that we all have come to depend on with technology, Google Glass is said to be the future of healthcare. To date, the Google Glass dance card shows two debuts in surgical procedures to overwhelming reviews.

I hope Google Glass finds its way into hospitals everywhere. No longer will the surgeon need to take eyes off you during surgery to look up or down, or turn their heads, Google Glass saves the day.

Enabling the Disabled

Perhaps adaptive devices are a lackluster subject. I’ll give you that for now. However, to my mind comes the memories of working as a nurse’s assistant and seeing first hand the need for assistive technology. In most cases I had to learn how to put on and take off items like prosthetic limbs, so I could help my patient. I know adaptive devices make life better for many people in various stages of life for a multitude of reasons.

Technology today is to the point where if any of us should lose the ability to walk, reach, hear or talk, we will still be able to communicate thanks to researchers and scientists, physical therapists, device manufacturers, device engineers, device dealers, hospital purchasers, insurance payers. I cannot think of any sensory or motor skill that if lost, cannot be helped by adaptive technology. Prosthetic limbs liberate wheel chair bound amputees to such a degree that it is hard to tell who is wearing a prosthetic.

Prosthetic devices are adaptive devices. Hearing aids are adaptive devices, false teeth are adaptive devices. Is a pacemaker an adaptive device? Well, it does improve life, it does sustain life, one does need to adjust lifestyle for it and adjust emotionally to it. In my opinion, yes, even pacemakers are an adaptive device.

Take a moment to think about all the people in your life. Everyone has their struggles. However, the disabled have double struggles. Please register today in support of the Health Innovators presentation and collaborative discussion on enabling technology. It’s Feb 18 and possibly it’s two hours that could change your life, or enlighten you in some way.

We hope you take away the awesomeness of innovative technology. We hope you realize anything is possible when people get together and collaborate with a purpose. See you on the 18th? https://febhealthinnovators.eventbrite.com

The Health Innovators, creating better healthcare through innovation and collaboration, brings you Patient Talkback.   PTB2014logo

Are you a satisfied patient?

PTB2014logo Patient Talkback is a simple smartphone application. If you have not seen it yet, you will soon. It’s a conversation waiting to happen between you and your physician.

The Health Innovators out of Cambridge, Massachusetts have developed the product and it’s ready to roll. Patient Talkback in its basic form is free. Here’s how it goes:

One day soon, you may need to see your physician for a health issue. You will make an appointment–and that’s where you begin to think about patient satisfaction. Specifically, your satisfaction.

Upon arrival for your appointment, ask the friendly staff person who checks you in, if you could scan their QR code for Patient Talkback. Think for a moment; was she friendly? If her brow furrows and she doesn’t know of what you speak, tell her it’s the best tool around for measuring satisfaction since Mick Jagger.

Meanwhile, the Health Innovators will be checking in, to offer the information the medical office should know about Patient Talkback.

It’s as easy as signing up and receiving a link in their email box. Even better, it’s free for them too in the basic form. Who would want advanced? Hospitals, maybe. They could function on the basic, but you know hospitals have different needs. The Health Innovators are ready to accommodate those special needs.

For you, it’s as easy as scanning the QR code that downloads the app immediately. You only have to scan once, unless you change medical practices. There is a QR code for everyone with Patient Talkback, and it’s free.

Where else should you ask for the QR code? Dentists, nursing facilities, labs, long term care, rehabilitation, mental health, any category of health–ask for the code.

Patient Talkback is your voice. It’s your control about what happens to you and your body. Plus, it’s something each member of the family can have. Well, as long as they have a smartphone and providers that really do listen and care.

Patient TalkBack, Adaptive Technology, and so much more

The Health Innovators are preparing for the February 18 event, Advances in Adaptive Technology. We have a full evening of presenters for amazing technology that enhances the lives of thousands every year. It’s a look behind the scenes at what happens when technology makes it to the front end with client usage.

First however, the Health Innovators invite you to explore membership in Toastmasters. Our own Dr. Kal (Kalyan Kalwa, MD) is a Toastmaster President. Toastmasters is all about developing speaking and leadership skills. We would like to know how many supporters in the Greater Boston area would join us in becoming better communicators and public speakers. At this time the dates and place are TBD. Please send an email to info@healthinno.org, subject Toastmasters to show  your interest..

Now, on the subject of health and innovation, Patient Talkback has received a warm welcome in the community. Still, we have a way to go in public and professional reception. PTB, as we have come to call it, will be available for demos on February 18. This smartphone app is easily downloaded by a QR code and ready for consumer use. If you don’t know what a QR code is, or if you have one on your phone, go to the App Store in iPhone or Google Play on Android, download QR Reader. Align the frame on your phone with the code you see here and Patient TalkBack installs. Your feedback is always welcome. We urge you to not only add this feature to your phone, but tell your health care providers about it. As easy as it is, it only helps accountable care if the provider elects to have a PTB dashboard on their system.

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Along with our speakers, Julie Merritt and Jennifer Bartecchi, we will introduce a new segment; 15 minutes of fame. This will feature two start-up companies with 7.5 minutes each to tell you of their work. The presenters for this segment will be Connor Dahlberg, Wesley Ireland and Mohan Venkataramana.

Last but not least today, Karen’s blog on the Health Innovators website is a product of yours truly, Karen. I have made some changes to posting for Health Innovators. I will post only items relevant to them as a group or the subject of health and tech, also relevant. On the other side, KJ Communications will continue as a blog, accepting contracted work, promoting excellence in the written word, health and wellness in general, health and technology, health communication, and whatever else I may feel like sharing. I hope you will like the Health Innovators side and the KJ side equally.

Health Innovators explore adaptive speech innovation

You probably know someone with a disability of one kind or another. On February 10, the Health Innovators will be presenting Advances in Adaptive Technology: giving voice to the speechless with innovation of today.

Boston is a hub of innovation and technology. Some would say Boston is The Hub; no argument here. Do you know that the disabled population is the largest minority on the planet?  It’s true; 18.7 percent of the U.S. population experiences a form of disability. The World Health Organization reports that  approximately one billion people, over the age of 15, live with a disability. Staggering, isn’t it?

A disability can occur at any stage in life. Today however, there are solutions to help the disabled live very able lives, thanks to health care, information technology, and innovation. Twitter, an application created through innovation, has allowed the world to come together in collaboration for the greater good. If you are wondering where to go on Twitter to find innovative  followers, I recommend these to start with:  #HITsm, #hcsm, #healthinno. There are more than I can name here. Apologies to anyone not on Twitter, #getmovingorgetrunover.

Patient TalkBack by the Health Innovators will be on display again at the February event. Patient TalkBack is an app that only requires a smartphone. It is free for now, we welcome feedback on the product and it’s potential for value in reducing costs in health care and improving patient satisfaction with health providers. 

Please save the date of February 10 to attend the Health Innovators event. RSVP at Eventbrite for tickets.

Healthcare listens to Patient TalkBack

Any smart phone can use Patient TalkBackIt is not easy to start a small business. I know that in my own experience and in the experiences of other entrepreneurs. Nobody made it without long days of work and short nights of sleep fretting over every little detail.

Some say businesses started on a shoestring budget won’t thrive. That is conventional old-school thinking. New school thinking–contemporary–is that most anything is possible with hard work, a lot faith in yourself, and great content.

In the revolution and evolution of healthcare, we have changed from a paternalistic society to one with a patient centric view of health care. Everything about the world is what’s in it for me? Sometimes we need be our own self advocates and ask what about me?

So, along comes a new startup with an idea to put patients first. They struggle to make a name for themselves in improving quality of care and patient satisfaction–with the patient in control. It’s the reverse of the old paternalistic approach where, a few decades ago, patient expectations placed the doctor in charge. Patient consumers did as they told and if what the doctor said or did in that visit was not favorable, go home and take two aspirin, per se, the patient accepted that and grumbled about it to the person closest to him.

Now, patients are in control. To reinforce that, the Health Innovators have developed an app called Patient TalkBack. Consider this an invitation to see Patient TalkBack and try it out by going to this link: Patient TalkBack Demo. Anyone can do this demo. Please let the Health Innovators know what your thoughts are after seeing it up close on your smart phone or tablet.975683Test barcode3_orig

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