Health 2.0: Technological Innovation in the Hospital

A session titled "Health 2.0 in the Hospital" featured several companies working to make hospitals smarter and more efficient through technological innovation.

At the opening of a session titled “Health 2.0 in the Hospital” yesterday afternoon at the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco, moderator Danny Sands, senior medical informatics director at Cisco Systems, pointed out that, as the most expensive part of the health care system, hospitals are ripe targets for technological innovation. He proceeded to introduce a series of representatives of companies working to make hospitals smarter and more efficient.

Alan Pitt of MiHospital explained that his company was founded to ameliorate situations in which hospital patients receive suboptimal care. It automates the follow-up call that patients are supposed to receive 48 hours after being discharged from the hospital—a call they frequently fail to receive—and adds questions about the quality of care delivered by the hospital and its staff. The information is then stored in a cloud-based database and passed on to those to whom it is relevant. If the patient complained about the food, the person responsible gets the message. If the patient had good things to say about a particular nurse, that nurse gets kudos from a supervisor the next day. On a systems level, the hospital can aggregate data on what is consistently being done well and what is not so the appropriate action can be taken.

, discussed the company’s product MobileCT. The goal of the software is to help doctors better manage their increasingly cumbersome medical imaging workflow. After images are uploaded to an iPad, the doctor can manipulate them with ease—adjusting brightness and contrast or scaling and moving the image with a finger or two. With brain MRIs, a doctor can navigate between slices by dragging the slider or entering movie mode. The app also makes it simple for two doctors to look at the same image simultaneously, each on their own iPad, for consultation purposes. Pan shared his own experience with two different doctor’s visits involving MRI results. At the first one, the CD with the images took 15-20 minutes to load, whereas at the second one, he brought the images on his iPad and his doctor was able to bring them up right away. In response to a question from the audience, Pan noted that the app is not currently FDA approved for clinical use.

Michael Yuan, CEO of Ringful Health, explained that his company’s aim is to make follow-up with patients less expensive and more effective. Ringful Heatlh has developed an iPad app that can be used by hospital patients just before discharge equipped with a series of videos instructing them on what they need to do after discharge. Once patients are discharged, they receive messages via their personal mobile devices prompting them to fill out a daily questionnaire about their condition (and reminders follow if they do not respond right away) and to enter their vital signs into the system. This helps make the hospital aware of any alarming signs such as rapid weight gain, which could indicate water retention and the imminent risk of a heart attack.

Paul Nerger, president of Happtique, said that his company provides a private app store allowing those working in a particular hospitals to access the mHealth apps they need without having to wade through the thousands that they don’t. The company provides a curation team that selects apps on multiple platforms, broken down into professional categories and clinical topics. The company also provides support for the apps.

Tielman Van Vleck, director of language processing for Clinithink, explained that his company provides flexible solutions for mining and leveraging patient data. Its software has the ability to sift through notes, accounting for misspellings, typos, and, with training, system-wide abbreviations. As an example, he demonstrated how the system took the misspelled “astma” and pulled out the properICD9 and ICD10 asthma codes.

Hamid Tabatabaie, CEO of LifeImage, said that his company’s goal was to make it possible for patients and doctors to send medical images to each other with minimal IT overhead. The impetus is to save on costs, particularly from repeat tests when the results of the original would work just as well.