Posts tagged Digital Health
BWH Asthma App Sustains Patient-Provider Communication Between Visits

For patients with moderate to severe asthma, it’s not uncommon to see a pulmonologist or allergist for routine follow-up appointments at three- to six-month intervals. But a lot can happen in between those visits, and patients don’t always call their provider when their symptoms worsen – sometimes misjudging a significant deterioration of breathing as allergies, a cold or simply not bad enough to merit the hassle of trying to book another appointment.

Two innovators are confident that window of opportunity could be pried open with digital health tools. David Bates, MD, chief of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care and medical director of the Partners HealthCare Center for Clinical and Quality Analysis, and Bob Rudin, information scientist at the RAND Corporation, have teamed up to create an app that can help patients track their symptoms between appointments.

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iHub Celebrates 5 Years of Innovation at the Brigham

On Sept. 12, more than 200 clinicians, scientists, staff and entrepreneurs commemorated the fifth anniversary of the Brigham Digital Innovation Hub (iHub) during a celebration of innovation and digital advancement at BWH and beyond.

The half-day event, “iHub Turns 5,” featured panel discussions with BWH innovators, iHub alumni and senior leaders from the Brigham and Partners HealthCare in the Hale Building for Transformative Medicine.

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Running and Championing Digital Health Accelerators

Some of you will know that HealthXL started life as an accelerator of early stage digital health companies. It was the hardest thing we have ever done and hats off to those to continue down this road. We changed course almost 5 years ago as we recognised the major challenges associated with the long term sustainability of the accelerator model in healthcare. Today, our clients are leading global healthcare and life-science firms who are looking for innovation. And it is interesting to see many of them launching or running accelerators in search of innovation.  Are they right ? Will there be success where we (HealthXL) failed?

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Patients and Patience Drive Successful Innovation

With all innovation projects there are limited funds, time and effort (this is sometimes more constrained in the clinical setting). Because of these challenges, it is key to be strategic and efficient with how to use those precious resources. iHub works to help move through innovation in a strategic way. The key to success is having patience, discipline, and rigor in the early stages of the design and development process.  

When Karen Fasciano, PsyD, came to iHub, our conversation was different: as the Program Director for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s Young Adult Program (YAP), Karen and her team had a clear vision for why they wanted to build an app.

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Digital Tool Helps Patients, Staff Find Their Way

For about two years now, an interdisciplinary team at BWH has been working diligently to build and test the online navigation tool. Josie Elias, MBA, MPH, program manager for Digital Health Initiatives at the Brigham Digital Innovation Hub (iHub), who has led the project since its inception, said she’s proud of what the teams have accomplished and hopes people find the tool to be useful.

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What Does It Mean to Be a “Hub”?

As “the Hub,” Boston is widely recognized for bringing together some of the best and most innovative institutions and minds. At Brigham Health, iHub serves a similar connector role for the digital health community, by linking internal innovators with each other, and introducing them to external companies and neighboring organizations. More recently, we’ve extended that network to introduce promising startups and companies we’ve met to our sister innovation teams across Partners HealthCare.  

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The Research Tool of the New Digital Age

When it comes to conducting population-based research studies there are many limitations when doing research in the hospital or lab setting. It is almost impossible to get accurate and real-time data. For example, many studies rely upon people recalling what they did, what they ate, and how they felt weeks before their face to face appointment. You can get tacos in 15 minutes using your phone. But if your endocrinologist asked you what you ate for dinner two weeks ago, would you be able to tell him? Using a phone as a data collection tool can give the patient the ability to update their symptoms, and activities in real time in a way that they are already familiar with.  

The Brigham Mobile Research Platform, supported by the Brigham Digital Innovation Hub, is a suite of tools that speed the process to initiate new research app-based protocols, recruit and retain participants, and simplify data collection, analytics and research operations.  

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Game Changers in 3-D Medical Imaging Manipulation

Kovtun and Williams used their programming knowledge to develop innovative software to more easily manipulate 3-D imaging data, working on the project in their spare time outside of work. But when they faced funding obstacles in realizing their entrepreneurial vision, they turned to resources at BWH to take their project to the next level.

Initial seed funding from the BRI enabled them to shift their software from a weekend side project to a full-fledged academic research venture. Strategic commercialization guidance from iHub further accelerated the project’s movement, providing the duo with entrepreneurial advice and connecting them to business development resources. With iHub’s support, Kovtun and Williams could develop their idea and enter it into the Shark Tank competition.

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