Telemedicine Archives

Turning Your Smartphone into Your personalRN: Interview with Dr. Parsapour

We’ve noticed an increasing number of physicians turning to entrepreneurship to effect change in the health care system. Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with one such clinician, Dr. Kourosh Parsapour, about personalRN, a company he founded to improve patient education and reduce readmissions.

Shiv Gaglani, Medgadget: What is personalRN and how did you come up with the idea?

Kourosh Parsapour Turning Your Smartphone into Your personalRN: Interview with Dr. ParsapourDr. Kourosh Parsapour: personalRN’s mHealth apps are designed to provide disease-specific content personalized to the needs of patients & caregivers for enhanced education, coordinated care & reduced readmissions.

The idea for pRN came from my decade-long experience as an intensivist.  Patients have heightened vulnerability when admitted to the hospital with a life-altering diagnosis (eg stroke, cancer, heart attack, etc.).  The chaotic environments of an ER or ICU add further stress and confusion to patients and their loved ones.  We (physicians & nurses) do our best to explain the pathology and rationale for treatment options; however, the rapidly growing patient volume limits the time necessary for adequate teaching and education. Changes in care-settings, handouts with overwhelming content, limited language skills & inadequate health literacy are additional comprehension barriers to learning complex discharge instructions.  As a result, patients and their caregivers remained ill-informed on discharged and often “bounce-back” because of medication errors, non-compliance, or being unaware of the additional resources available for their condition.

Of the diagnostic-related groups (DRG) with significant rehospitalization rates, nearly 90% of preventable 30-day stroke readmissions are due to poorly coordinated inpatient education and discharge planning.  Therefore, a participating hospital or health system can evaluate the efficacy of the StrokeApp by the immediate reduction of 30-day stroke readmissions.  This metric will lend further support to scale our proprietary platform to deliver relevant content based on the specific disease and real-time care setting.  Similar to Rosetta Stone’s innovative approach in teaching different languages through immersion, personalRN will provide patients & their loved ones the capability to achieve fluency in the language of their disease.

 

Medgadget: Can you describe the novel features of pRN?

0101010 Turning Your Smartphone into Your personalRN: Interview with Dr. ParsapourDr. Parsapour: pRN has developed a HIPAA-compliant, patient-facing mobile application to provide stroke-specific information to patients and caregivers relevant to their real-time care setting. The novel & patent-pending features of the pRN template include 1) customized education utilizing artificial intelligence algorithms that are determined by patient-specific data points which 2) require provider engagement and re-engagement from admission to discharge and subsequent outpatient care settings. This “prescriptive” app requires a licensed provider to enter the necessary clinical information (<90sec) onto a tablet pre-loaded with the StrokeApp, which in turn designates specified predictive pathways to provide information directed towards common questions and events surrounding the stroke. The tablet would then be made available to the patient or caregiver with an interactive, illustrated platform to provide simple and basic information that can expand in complexity based on the user’s age, cognitive impairments, health literacy, education level, comfort and pace.

The UX/UI design of our current and future apps focus on patients & caregivers, and we equally value the providers’ experience.  Physicians and nurses recognize the value of digital health, but are slow to adopt technology solutions as many are seen as being obtrusive to the workflow of a busy ER because of impractical data dashboards or technology that has “feature-itis” and less utility.

 
Medgadget: What stage is the company in?

Dr. Parsapour: Our MVP is in final development for beta-testing in March with 4 Southern California hospitals/health systems which we’re in current discussions.  We have also been approached by some of the major wireless carriers to discuss development and/or hardware partnerships.

We are currently in seed fundraising that is limited to $150K and offered to our professional network possessing a background in healthcare.  The round began January 17, 2014 and we have been fortunate to achieved the $100/150K milestone this week.  We anticipate that we’ll soon engage angel groups and VCs supporting early-stage startups to raise an additional $1M.

 

Medgadget: How does pRN compare to what already exists?

Dr. Parsapour: Our StrokeApp is designed to be a health coach, or a personal RN, that is accessible to a patient (or their loved one) after the diagnosis and critical stabilization of stroke. The logic that is central to the AI employs evidence-based practices that in turn provides customized information delivery specific to the patient’s stroke, immediate needs, and preparedness to receive education.

The functionality of the currently existing mobile solutions can be classified as 1) patient-focused apps with comprehensive information and resources for stroke survivors, 2) stroke-symptom identifier and stroke-center locator apps, 3) community awareness and education apps, and 4) provider-focused apps designed to calculate stroke severity scales and time to tPA therapy.

While many of the aforementioned apps provide some basic level of information, the “patient-centered” apps simply present an aggregated and comprehensive stack of stroke content, all of which is readily available on the Internet (i.e. WebMD, Wikipedia, etc.) and textbooks.  These apps are no different than the stacks of printed handouts and pamphlets that are provided to a patient and/or their family with content to sift through.  The pRN Stroke App is unique in that it provides “disease-specific” and customized information that is simplified and made available based on the users physical location and setting and adaptive throughout their continuum of care.

 

Medgadget: Are there any other areas you are looking at beyond stroke care?

Dr. Parsapour: As we grow, we’ll leverage the scalability of our platform & artificial intelligence employed in the StrokeApp to target other diagnoses, including heart attacks, heart failure, pneumonia, COPD, diabetes, high-risk pregnancies, etc. The pRN tablet along with our proprietary platform can be expanded as a distribution channel for partnering digital health solutions and could provide screening or monitoring of other conditions such as diabetes, hypertension or depression, as well as additional support to improve medication compliance, decrease medication errors, physical and cognitive rehabilitation, preventative health education, and social support systems for the patients and their families.

 

Medgadget: What is your background in medical technology/innovation?

Dr. Parsapour: I’ve always been very passionate about integrating innovative technologies as a means to expand the access to quality and affordable healthcare. I was fortunate to start my career at UC Davis, which provided the environment and mentorship for academic telemedicine research.  I helped develop and expand the Pediatric Telemedicine Program under the University’s Center for Health & Technology and in turn became very involved with the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).  I was the co-founder/co-Chair for both the ATAs’ Pediatric Telehealth Discussion Group and the Pediatric Telehealth Colloquium.  Specialists On Call acquired my first startup Telepeds, one year after its inception.  I subsequently obtained my Healthcare Executive MBA from UC Irvine and have since been involved with digital health startups including 5plus (Kinect-enabled software for range-of-motion assessment in physical therapy) and personalRN.My partner and cofounder Alex Sayyah, is a successful technology sales, marketing & operations executive, entrepreneur and investor who brings over 15years years of P&L management for leading technology companies. Alex has proven success in high-performance marketing and sales programs that drive lead-generation, revenue & brand awareness for startups and established Fortune 500 companies.

divider Turning Your Smartphone into Your personalRN: Interview with Dr. Parsapour

 

Link: personalRN…

VIPAAR Remote Presence Helps Bring Clinical Expertise to Any Location

VIPAAR Remote Presence Helps Bring Clinical Expertise to Any Location

Remote presence (or telepresence) is a way for experts to provide on-site service or guidance without actually being there. This can be done through many methods, ranging from a simple phone call to walk a user through a procedure to Cisco’s immersive wall size conference setup. The potential benefits in the clinic are similarly wide ranging, with applications for remote consults, distance education, procedure training, or simply getting service for the latest medical device in the clinic that no one can find the manual for.

VIPAAR, based in Birmingham, AL, offers a platform for remote video support that aims to work with most of the common devices already in the clinic or field site, with infrastructure requirements that really only apply to the expert side of the call.

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NextIT Develops Virtual Personal Assistant for Healthcare (VIDEO)

NextIT Develops Virtual Personal Assistant for Healthcare (VIDEO)

As physicians increase their patient panels, it is understandably difficult to devote large amounts of time to one patient. Using technology in medical practice can alleviate some of the time pressures that stretched-thin physicians face.

NextIT out of Spokane, Washington has developed a virtual personal assistant, Alme, to help solve this problem. NextIT, founded in 2002, has made a name for itself creating virtual assistants for business; its client list includes Aetna, Alaska Airlines, Amtrack, United Airlines, Merrill Lynch and the U.S. Army. Now it has ventured into healthcare. According to NextIT’s website, Alme for Healthcare combines an intricate natural language model with the simple, friendly interface of an avatar – or virtual health assistant (VHA) – to drive interactive conversations with users on their channel of choice. In addition to supplementing an overworked physician’s practice, Alme provides personalized chronic disease coaching to patients and guides patients through filling out complex forms, such as those required for insurance.

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Isansys Patient Status Engine for Easy Continuous Vitals (VIDEO)

Isansys Patient Status Engine for Easy Continuous Vitals (VIDEO)

Isansys, a company out of Abingdon, UK, having received CE Mark clearance in the EU, is now making available its Patient Status Engine. The system includes a wireless chest patch that monitors the patient’s ECG, as well as heart rate, respiration rate and heart rate variability. Additionally, the package comes with a blood pressure cuff and a pulse oximeter that share their readings as well for easy access from a computer, tablet, or smartphone. The system was designed to be pretty much ready to go out of the box and comes with a number of apps that provide charts, early warnings, and display real-time heart rate variability plots.

Here’s a video presenting the Patient Status Engine:

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OpenGlass Project Makes Google Glass Useful for the Visually Impaired (VIDEO)

OpenGlass Project Makes Google Glass Useful for the Visually Impaired (VIDEO)

Google Glass may have been developed to transform the way people see the world around them, but thanks to Dapper Vision’s OpenGlass Project, one doesn’t even need to be able to see to experience the Silicon Valley tech giant’s new spectacles.

Harnessing the power of Google Glass’ built-in camera, the cloud, and the “hive-mind”, visually impaired users will be able to know what’s in front of them. The system consists of two components: Question-Answer sends pictures taken by the user and uploads them to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and Twitter for the public to help identify, and Memento takes video from Glass and uses image matching to identify objects from a database created with the help of seeing users. Information about what the Glass wearer “sees” is read aloud to the user via bone conduction speakers.

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Qualcomm and Palomar Health Launch Incubator for Google Glass and Other Wearables

Qualcomm and Palomar Health Launch Incubator for Google Glass and Other Wearables

Google Glass, the tech giant’s big leap into the world of wearable computing devices, has sparked a lot of interest from a variety of industries since its release in February. In medical tech , the term “glassomics” has been created and even trademarked to describe “a branch of medical informatics concerned with the study and development of in vivo, ex vivo and in silico applications for Google Glass, smart Watches, and sensors.” To help drive innovation in this new area of medicine, Qualcomm Life, Inc. and Palomar Health have announced the launch of the Glassomics incubator.

Headquartered in the brand-new, state-of-the-art Palomar Medical Center just outside of San Diego, CA, the incubator aims to develop Google Glass applications, or “glassware,” for a number of areas, including augmented reality guided clinical applications, physiological monitoring, genomic information mapping, and consumer health and wellness.

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ECG Check iPhone Case Now Available as Prescription or OTC

ECG Check iPhone Case Now Available as Prescription or OTC

Having earlier this year received FDA clearance, Cardiac Designs is now releasing its ECG Check device for heart monitoring on the iPhone. It’s shaped to be a case for iPhone 4S, but since it’s a wireless device that doesn’t have to be physically connected, it will also work with iPhone 5, iPad (3rd gen & 4th gen), and iPad Mini.

The ECG Check is available as a prescription or simply as an over-the-counter product which you can already order online for $99.

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Athena GTX Releases App for Wireless Vital Sign Monitoring

Athena GTX Releases App for Wireless Vital Sign Monitoring

Athena GTX (Des Moines, IA) has released an iPhone app for monitoring of patients connected to its Wireless Vital Signs Monitor (WVSM). The WVSM is a portable monitor that measures NIBP, SpO2 and lead II ECG. Additionally, it also has manual inputs for Glasgow Coma Score, temperature and respiration rate. Originally developed for the U.S. Army for use on the battlefield, the device is rugged and small enough to mount to a blood pressure cuff for point of injury care.

The system automatically captures vital signs data for up to 4.5 hours. Data can be transmitted through WiFi, to a PC or PDA, and now also to the iPhone app. It connects through an ad-hoc WiFi network and displays near real-time vital parameters. Up to 20 WVSM devices can be displayed at one time for managing multiple injuries

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Sensing a Change: Q&A with Deepak Prakash, Global Director of Marketing for Digital Health at Vancive Medical Technologies

Sensing a Change: Q&A with Deepak Prakash, Global Director of Marketing for Digital Health at Vancive Medical Technologies

Wearable sensor technology, while popular in the athletics industry, has been an elusive target in terms of medical applicability. As we reported last year, Vancive Medical Technologies (formerly Avery Dennison Medical Solutions, Chicago, IL) has created Metria, a disposable wearable sensor to improve medical monitoring. As noted in a recent press release, Metria is:

…a new advance in remote body monitoring…[and]…the development of a body monitor patch offering a comfortable, economical means of gathering physiological data for health and wellness initiatives over a period of seven days or less.

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