Boston is home to many prominent hospitals. Although both hospitals and digital health startups seek to improve healthcare, collaborations between them aren’t always easy. In Boston, however, health systems like Brigham and Women’s, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Boston Children’s Hospital have created processes to connect with digital health startups and facilitate the review and onboarding of proposed pilots and research studies.
Herald Health seeks to help doctors manage electronic medical records more effectively. It sends them push notifications with critical patient data on their pagers and phones. The startup launched in 2015 from an award-winning pitch at Brigham’s Digital Health Hackathon. It integrates with electronic health record systems such as Epic and Cerner, used at Brigham and Women’s and Boston Children’s hospitals, respectively.
More than 45 million couples worldwide experience challenges when trying to get pregnant. The eye-opening conversation with a doctor that brings to light the reality that you may not be able to grow your family in the way you always envisioned, can be heartbreaking. When the issue arises, the spotlight seems to automatically focus in on the woman. Despite men making up half our population, men’s health topics are not commonly discussed – in particular, men’s fertility. Supported by the Brigham Digital Innovation Hub and Brigham and Women’s Translational Accelerator, the team of Hadi Shafiee, PhD, a scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, has created a smartphone-based test and application that can measure the quality of sperm and ultimately change the direction in patient care when it comes to male fertility issues.
Apple famously coined a phrase that has come to define our relationship with technology: “There’s an app for that.” The sentiment behind the 2009 slogan continues to resonate today in health care, as seen in the cutting-edge apps and gadgets showcased at a recent symposium hosted by the Brigham Digital Innovation Hub (iHub).
Recently, 13 rising stars in science, medicine and innovation at the Brigham were named on two separate “40 under 40” lists for their work to improve health care. The lists were compiled by Medtech Boston, an online publication highlighting medical innovation, and the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF), a research and educational organization that strives to prepare the U.S. health system to provide optimal care for a diverse society.
On April 25th, the Brigham Innovation Hub Speaker Series will bring together a panel of pharma experts to discuss the current relationship between pharma and digital health, and how it will evolve in the future. The panel will include Rachel Sha from Sanofi, Luba Greenwood from Roche, Aman Bhandari from Merck, and Matt Schumacher from UCB; moderated by Naomi Fried from Health Innovation Strategies.
Before setting up the stools and microphones, we wanted to hear what the panel members already had on their minds. Pulling from their work and personal experiences, they shared with us some of their views and visions on the relationship between digital health and the pharma industry.
The idea came to Hadi Shafiee, PhD: what if you could use a cell phone to test for male infertility from the comfort of your own home? Shafiee’s lab at BWH focuses on developing technologies that use micro and nano-fabrication – devices with dimensions less than a millionth of a millimeter. The team has developed tools with applications in medicine and biology including point-of-care diagnostics for global health. But they had never developed something to test for infertility. To bring his inspiration from idea to reality, Shafiee would need the help of many experts outside of his lab.
Our digital technologies have been the answer to many of our daily hassles and challenges. It is a path we as society have entered and don’t plan on leaving. Could this be the path that the healthcare industry is moving too?
April iHub Speaker Series: David Feygin, Chief Digital Health Officer and VP of Information Technology, Boston Scientific.
The research team funded its efforts through a $10,000 Innovation Hub grant from Brigham and Women’s hospital. Petrozza anticipates that as designed, the tests could help customers identify a possible problem and prompt them make an appointment sooner. He also could foresee a day when the device could be synched to the cloud, allowing doctors to monitor patients’ fertility remotely.