The U.S. Department of Education announced Osso VR as the winner in the EdSim Challenge, which called for virtual reality, video game developer, and educational technology communities to submit concepts for immersive simulations that will prepare students for a globally competitive workforce and spur an ecosystem of virtual and augmented reality technology in education.
Five finalists were selected out of 249 submissions. Each finalist received $50,000 in cash as well as in-kind prizes from Oculus and Samsung, and refined their submissions during the Virtual Accelerator phase. Finalists presented playable prototypes to the judges at Demo Day on September 18, 2017, where a live audience joined the Challenge judges at the Department Of Education to see the five finalists compete for the $430,000 grand prize. The winner was recommended by a panel of judges with expertise in education, gaming, workforce development, emerging technology, and venture capital.
Osso VR is a hands-on surgical training platform that enables users to practice cutting-edge techniques through realistic, hands-on simulations, bridging the gap between career exploration and career preparation. They won $430,000 in cash and additional in-kind prizes from IBM and Microsoft.
Learn more about each of the five finalists’ simulations here.
Learn more about Osso VR at the 2017 MedTech Impact Expo & Conference in Las Vegas, December 14-15, where Justin Barad, Founder & CEO of Osso VR and editor of medgadget.com will moderate a panel session, New Realities in Medicine – Exploring the Virtual and Augmented Horizon. Other speakers in the session include Arshya Vahabzadeh, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Brainpower, Matthew Stoudt, CEO of AppliedVR, Carrie Shaw, CEO of Embodied Labs, and Osamah Choudhry, CEO at MediVis. LEARN MORE.
In 2012, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicated about half of all adults (117 million people at the time) had one or more chronic health conditions. By 2014, seven of the top 10 causes of death were chronic diseases, with heart disease and cancer accounting for nearly 46% of all deaths each year. The costliest (86% of the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual health care expenditures) chronic health problems like heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis, are among the most prevalent, and continue to be on the rise. Considering lack of exercise or physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption is linked to most of these diseases – they also are the most preventable and reversible. However, compliance in lifestyle change, monitoring and medication management of chronic disease has proven to be a great challenge for clinicians and patients alike. Thanks to innovations and advancements in technology, this is becoming more accessible and convenient for both patient and clinician.
One innovator now offers a solution that supports patient follow up, development of treatments and the ongoing need for study into these conditions, the Byteflies Exploration Kit and data platform. Byteflies, a Belgian-American wearable health start-up, has introduced high precision wearable sensors and a data platform that remotely tracks patient vital signs, from blood flow (PPG) to electro-dermal activity (EDA), electrocardiogram (ECG), motion, respiration, and electromyogram (EMG). The platform is based on insights gained through practical use cases and decades of experience in healthcare and technology applications, and uses extend beyond heart rate measurement.
“When it comes to monitoring health, wearables have incredible potential. However, a wristband that counts steps and measures heart rate just won’t cut it when you’re developing solutions for Parkinson’s disease, pulmonary and cardiovascular conditions, hypertension, or epilepsy,” explains Hans Danneels, CEO and co-founder of Byteflies. “You need to be able to measure raw, accurate data – the kind of data collected in hospitals.” Their technology is currently used by universities and pharmaceutical companies for detection of epileptic seizures, blood pressure trends, balance, and fatigue.
Advancements and innovations in wearable devices like Byteflies wearable monitors and data platform, smart clothing and footwear to monitor activity and vitals, apps for patient reporting and communication, smart contact lenses monitoring glucose levels, and ingestibles to monitor medicine levels and conditions such as glucose level in diabetics, will help the industry take a much-needed turn to better management, monitoring and prevention. Convenience and ease-of-use for patients has shown promise with increased compliance, allowing physicians to take a more proactive approach in monitoring and treatment. While wearables won’t solve the chronic disease concerns, and not all patients will understand or be willing to comply, it signals the beginning of a shift and not just a trend. Availability is increasing, costs are declining and medtech for both physicians and patients is more widely accessible – all a progress in helping clinicians offer more effective care for their patients.
Education and information in medical technology for clinicians, healthcare execs and ACO’s is critical in the ever-changing field of medicine. Get valuable insight, learn from industry leaders and connect with fellow medical professionals on technology and better patient care, all while exploring the latest innovations in medtech at the 2017 MedTech Impact Expo & Conference in Las Vegas, December 14-15, 2017. Learn more.
Innovative technologies are entering the medical field at a fast and furious rate – they’re quickly changing the care patients receive and will ultimately affect the health of our nation and the cost and administration of healthcare. This December, two powerful health care industry events will co-locate to provide clinicians, healthcare providers and ACO’s insight and solutions on industry-altering innovations including Sensoria Health’s smart clothing, that will continue to change the way medicine is practiced and evolve into better solutions for diagnosis, treatment, lifestyle change and prevention. The 25th Annual American Academy of Anti-Aging’s World Congress, and the 2017 MedTech Impact Expo & Conference, held alongside each other at the Venetian/Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas, will feature complementing CME and non-CME education, inspiring world-renowned and accredited industry-leaders, and thousands of products and services. The format sets the stage for effective discussions as to how emerging technologies can and will affect all levels of patient care.
Kicking off both events with a Keynote address on Thursday morning, self-described futurist, inventor, and notorious hacker Pablos Holman will discuss “Inventing the Future of Food,” covering the revolutionary shift in the way food is prepared through the advent of 3-D printing. Thursday afternoon, David Rhew, CMO and Head of Healthcare and Fitness at Samsung Electronics of America, will address the MedTech Impact audience, detailing how innovative digital technologies like wearables, IoT sensors, patient monitors and more are helping to improve costs, increase engagement and improve outcomes across the healthcare process. And finally, Robyn Farmanfarmaian, Angel Investor & Vice President with Invicta Medical and Vice President of Actavalon will close the last day of the conference focusing on how accelerating technologies are empowering the healthcare consumer and allowing patients to be in control of their own health.
Each speaker is a thought leader in the redefining of medicine, and their keynote sessions will inspire attending clinicians, healthcare execs and ACO’s to commit and contribute to a new century of wellness and longevity through the advent and implementation of new technological advances – all of course contributing to the improvement of patient care.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an older adult is treated for falls in emergency rooms across the country every 11 seconds. Every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall. Stats show more than 800,000 65-or-older Americans suffer from falls each year, not only leading to hospitalizations and further safety concerns, but increasing healthcare costs for individuals and institutions alike. With the 65+ population expected to rise from 46 million today, to 98 million plus by 2060, the safety concern isn’t going to go away and costs are sure to increase.
The rise of concerns, costs, and recent developments in sensors and smart clothing have inspired two leaders from seemingly very different markets to work together on an innovative solution for not only treatment, but prevention. Sensoria, a leader in smart garments and wearable technologies, and Genesis Rehab Services (GRS), a subsidiary of Genesis Healthcare, a recognized enterprise provider in post-acute care, debuted the fruits of their collaboration at the 11th Annual Health 2.0 Conference earlier this month in Santa Clara, California.
Sensoria Health Powered by Genesis, featuring body sensors embedded in clothing such as socks and shoes or attached to other clothing as a stand-alone device, will allow clinicians and nurses to monitor a patient’s healthcare needs at home, in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities. From the rehab process after a fall, to pre-emptive detections of situations that could lead to a life-threatening injury, monitoring clinicians can provide real-time communication with caregivers.
Innovative technologies are entering the medical field at a fast and furious rate – they’re quickly changing the care patients receive and will ultimately affect the health of our nation and the cost and administration of healthcare. This December, two powerful health care industry events will co-locate to provide clinicians, healthcare providers and ACO’s insight and solutions on industry-altering innovations including Sensoria Health’s smart clothing, that will continue to change the way medicine is practiced and evolve into better solutions for diagnosis, treatment, lifestyle change and prevention. The 25th Annual American Academy of Anti-Aging’s World Congress, and the 2017 MedTech Impact Expo & Conference, held alongside each other December 14-15, 2017 at the Venetian/Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas, will feature complementing CME and non-CME education, inspiring world-renowned and accredited industry-leaders, thousands of products and services, and sets the stage for effective discussions as to how emerging technologies can and will affect all levels of patient care. For more information, visit www.medtechimpact.com.
Journalists attending AdvaMed’s 2017 The MedTech Conference were treated to a behind the scenes look at Flex’s Silicon Valley Innovation Center. Flex, (formally Flextronics) a $25B global electronics manufacturer with 200,000 employees globally, has been utilizing their expertise contract manufacturing across dozens of industries, to apply the lessons learned and fast paths to innovation that are accelerating product development.
Flex’s “Sketch to Scale” comes to life in their innovation center and robotics lab. From conception and design to prototyping and advanced engineering, Flex’s Innovation Center is where the majority of today’s “smart home” and “connected health” technology is designed and manufactured.
“We make everything for everybody,” said John Carlson, President of Flex Health Solutions. Highlights from the tour included flexible circuitry, printed on a stretchable material, that could (potentially) be used to monitor skin biometrics, a sweat sensor that is able to read blood glucose levels from sweat, and an advanced robotics lab that allows Flex to streamline the R&D, design and manufacturing process for their clients.
The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), an independent non-profit organization that works to improve health care quality, has given its patient-centered medical home ‘a makeover’ in order to “reduce documentation burdens, lower costs, and facilitate quality improvements.”
The NCQA’s move marks a growing effort spearheaded by the healthcare industry’s leadership organizations in response to new technologies, uncertainty surrounding reimbursements, and heightened reporting requirements. The organization’s recent announcement of a comprehensive overhaul will enact changes that aim to create “a much more user-friendly version of the popular practice transformation framework that avoids the pain points of previous iterations of the program,” said Michael S. Barr, MD, Executive Vice President of the Quality Measurement and Research Group at NCQA.
Due to a host of complaints from physicians and providers regarding the ‘unduly onerous’ recognition process, the NCQA wishes to reduce or eliminate costs, lower documentation burdens, and streamline some of the aspects of the recognition process that were devaluing patient care. A marked change is the abolition of distinctions between Level 1, 2, and 3; providers are now recognized or working towards recognition. The NCQA and healthcare industry realizes that ‘all-or-nothing measurements’ are not the optimal, most effective way to encourage innovation and improvement.
Moreover, the NCQA has replaced the three-year recertification cycle with annual check-ins, so that providers are not required to go through the entire recognition process again. Yearly meetings are designed to ensure that recognized practices are primarily focused on a high level of patient-centered care, and continuously improving. Each practice will also be assigned an NCQA representative, who can assist them in moving throughout the process, and also confirm and certify that the practice has met the necessary requirements.
Barr hopes that the revamped PCMH recognition process will help providers move towards a more efficient, effective way to deliver care, but admits that they will need more than yearly check-ins to succeed in an increasingly data-driven world. He urged stakeholders that it is time to “optimize electronic health records (EHRs), so that we can really align them with what we need to do to improve patient care.” Barr further clarifies that EHRs should be redesigned in order to effectively communicate the patients’ stories, and simultaneously equip providers with the necessary data to make informed, personalized, and effective choices with the patient and caregivers.
While research has long confirmed the strong correlation between exercise and psychological health, a recent study utilizing cellphone data to track activities and moods has confirmed that people who move are overall more content than people who sit.
While previous epidemiological studies have found that people who are active are less prone to depression and anxiety than sedentary people, the majority of these studies solely focused on negative moods. They generally relied on people recalling how they had felt, in addition to how much they had moved or sat in the previous weeks—with little concrete, tangible data to support their recollections.
The new study used a different approach, focusing on correlations between movement and the most positive emotion: happiness. The researchers also looked at what people reported about their respective activities, comparing it with objective measures of movement.
In doing this, the team first developed a special app for Android phones: advertised as helping people understand the ways in which lifestyles choices—like physical activity—might affect moods. As the app sent random requests throughout the day, during which people were asked to enter estimations of their current moods in addition to an assessment regarding their satisfaction with life in general, they also answered additional questions about whether they had been sitting, standing, walking, running, lying down, etc.
The app also asked about the users’ moods at that moment, simultaneously gathering data from the activity monitor built into almost every smartphone available today. Essentially, it checked whether someone’s recall of his/her movement tallied with the numbers from the activity monitor. Overall, the information provided by users and the activity monitors’ data was almost exactly the same.
People using the app also reported greater levels of happiness when they had been moving in the past quarter-hour, rather than when they had been sedentary—although often, they were not engaging in rigorous, strenuous activity. Researchers also found that people who moved more frequently tended to convey greater life satisfaction than those who spent most time in a chair.
The results suggest that people who are generally more active are generally happier, and in the moments during which they are active, they are also happier. While the study does not establish causation, the findings incontrovertibly indicate that if you get up and move often, you are more likely to feel cheerful than if you do not.
Virtual Reality (VR) has been increasingly used to manage pain, trauma, and distress–particularly during painful medical procedures–as investigators hypothesize that VR acts as a nonpharmacologic form of analgesia by exerting “an array of emotional affective, emotion-based cognitive and attentional processes on the body’s intricate pain modulation system.” While originally recognized for its entertainment value, the application has expanded to a number of clinical areas.
A study conducted by Cedars-Sinai using virtual reality therapy, during which participants wore virtual reality goggles to watch calming video content, indicated that VR may be an effective tool in addition to traditional pain management protocols. Moreover, VR gives doctors more options than solely medication or pharmaceuticals.
More recent research tested real world dental procedures, using circumstances that included a cold pressor lab setup and virtual reality headsets. The participants were immersed in two differing environments: a calm beachside walk, and a busy urban situation that was rife with distractions. The calming scene was significantly more effective in terms of improving the ways participants experience and remember pain, during tooth extractions and fillings.
While the data is not unpredictable, the study points to the fact that it is important to discern what types of virtual reality environments are effective in alleviating pain. Perhaps more importantly, future variations may include certain virtual situations that are better at reducing pain in other procedures.
The market of wearable medical technology is one of the most rapidly growing and advancing sectors in the global marketplace, now comprised of devices that have the potential to alter and enhance lifestyle, provide diagnostic and therapeutic support, and aid in injury prevention. With new evolving and transforming models in healthcare, these devices pave the way for new alternatives to traditional ways that practitioners & providers have collected data, performed diagnostic tests, and interacted with patients.
These devices, which once solely focused on one single measurement (the number of steps in a day), now have the capabilities to focus on a variety of bodily measurements: heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, etc. New miniaturized sensors, wireless communication protocols, portability and data transfer abilities, are only a small sampling of the market’s proliferation. Collectively, wireless and wearable medical technologies represent a burgeoning opportunity in healthcare; a 2014 report from Soreon Research linked the emergence of wearables to the beginning of a “deep transformation of the healthcare sector.”
Now valued at approximately $13.2 billion for the year of 2016, the industry of wearable technology is continuing to progress, as healthcare professionals and practitioners are concentrating on the overwhelming need to monitor diseases and aging populations. Due to the advent of new wireless and Bluetooth technologies, a quickly improving infrastructure, and a mounting patient familiarity with wireless devices, the technological advancements are being embraced by the healthcare industry. In order to engineer systems that facilitate the incorporation of wearable medical devices into patients’ and physicians’ daily routines, the marriage of medicine & IT-advancements will continue to develop and strengthen.
One of MedTech Impact’s primary focuses is opening new frontiers of healthcare, while delivering information that helps transition from disease treatment to prevention, in addition to greater personalization of medical care.
All data and scientific literature indicate that poor medication adherence is directly correlated with increased hospitalizations, higher mortality rates, and a number of serious adverse health consequences. Approximately 50% of patients do not take their medications as prescribed, resulting in at least 100,000 preventable deaths per year. In terms of incurred costs, these numbers translate to between $100 billion and $300 billion dollars in spending, burdening the already weakened infrastructure of health care. Dr. Niteesh Choudhry, an internist at Harvard Medical School, describes the problem as “the final cascade of all of science.”
In order to reinforce the importance of taking medications as prescribed, to avoid premature death and preventable hospital admissions, a number of companies have developed wireless “smart” pill bottles: devices linked to the internet, designed to remind people to take their medications. These bottles and caps have the capability to send both email and text message reminders, in addition to notifying a caregiver if someone forgets to take medication.
AdhereTech has thousands of patients, including some diagnosed with HIV and cancer, who have turned to the company’s wireless device. Stein says, “Our system is automatically getting data sent from each and every bottle 24/7.” The bottle is equipped with sensors, which can detect not only when the cap is twisted, but also exactly how much medication is removed. A blue light pulses when it is time to take a pill; a red light flashes with the sound of a chime when a dose is missed, and the patient and/or caregiver receives a phone call or text message.
While a small, pilot study conducted by AdhereTech suggested that the pill bottle increased patient medication adherence by 24%, the system and its software is expensive to produce and maintain. Dr. Kevin Volpp, a physician and health economist who directs the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Health Incentives, is optimistic about pill bottle technologies—yet believes that the high-tech strategy “needs to be paired with social interventions.” A study he designed demonstrated better results for patients who had their pill bottles automatically alert friends, if doses were missed or not taken properly.
Overall, most researchers and clinicians agree that “reminder technology” will be a critical part of the multi-faceted solution to patient medication adherence.