Alpha Speaker Spotlight – Rasu Shrestha

While everyone around AngelMD is passionate about bringing innovation to healthcare, we get excited when new ideas surrounding innovation come to light. Rasu Shrestha is a Radiologist by trade, and he serves as the Chief Innovation Officer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). He posits that the focus of innovation should be on making the technology invisible, but that doing so will require a change in our behavior. Rasu will be joining us at AngelMD’s Alpha Conference, held in Napa, California from January 5th – 7th.

We’ve quite blindly moved from analog into digital by moving everything that was analog into the digital form factor.

It doesn’t take long to understand the premise of Rasu’s theory — what we’ve done is good, but how we’ve done it needs improvement. In a recent talk with Redox, he states that it’s not enough to just have good data, but that the data needs to be translated into knowledge, and then knowledge into insight. It’s only by freeing these data silos that we’ve created that we’ll be able to enable clinicians to influence behavior changes.

His second point in the Redox interview is one that strikes home for us at AngelMD. “The future of healthcare is going to be built on the strongest of partnerships.” This is something that we not only believe internally, but also facilitate through our network of physicians, investors, and startups. We truly believe that we don’t pick winners, we help create them. Beyond that, we know the power of partnerships through our work with the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the American College of Cardiology.

You’ve probably seen Rasu’s work around the Internet, or you might have seen him speaking at an innovation-related event. He’s also a prolific sharer of information via his Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, so make sure to follow him ahead of his talk at Alpha. We look forward to what he has to share and picking his brain on the topic of innovation in healthcare.

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PharmaJet: Needle-Free Vaccinations for Everyone

While needle-free injections aren’t an entirely new technology, PharmaJet is pushing innovation in the field of vaccine immunizations with its Stratis and Topis injection technologies. The company, based out of Golden, Colorado, primarily touts its ability to solve the problems of needle sticks and patient compliance. That said, there is a bigger story to be told and that’s why they’re the focus of our spotlight today.

If you’ve ever given an injection or seen one drawn into a syringe, you’re likely familiar with the waste that the process creates. There’s always that last little bit of fluid that sits in the bottom of the vial, and the process of removing air from the syringe often produces waste as well. PharmaJet’s solution not only provides for safer, easier vaccine delivery via a specially designed “needle-free” syringe delivered via a spring powered injector system, but it also dramatically reduces waste because of how the system operates.

In two separate field studies, PharmaJet’s platform allowed for 2-3x faster administration of vaccines, while capturing 20 percent more fluid from the vials, and generating less than 50% of the weight and waste footprint. Also, because the system does not require the use of sharps, there is an extended saving by eliminating amortized liability costs associated with needles. In some cases, these savings can be up to 50 percent versus traditional injection methods.

The monetary savings are a big story, but it’s also worth reiterating the fact that users of the PharmaJet system can have access to 20 percent more vaccine than providers who use traditional methods of injection. The World Health Organization has already recognized the importance of these savings, awarding PQS status for UNICEF procurement of PharmaJet’s products.

PharmaJet notes some other important points as well:

  • There are over 800,000 needle-stick injuries in the US alone each year
  • These sticks account for a $2 billion financial burden to an already-strained system
  • In developing countries, up to 70 percent of needles are reused
  • Patient fear of needles is the leading cause of voluntary noncompliance

The PharmaJet system couples with standard vials via a filling adapter that is used to pierce the top of the vial with a tiny spike. The needle-free syringe is then screwed onto the filling adapter, a verifiably precise amount is pulled into the syringe, and then the syringe is loaded into the spring-powered injector. Since there are no needles, there is no risk of needle-stick injury, and each syringe auto-disables after use. Some patients report that receiving an injection via the PharmaJet system feels similar to the snap of a rubber band, while many patients report no discomfort at all.

There are currently two products — Stratis and Tropis. Stratis is intended for use in intramuscular or subcutaneous injections, while Tropis allows the PharmaJet system to be used for intradermal injections. Both systems have been awarded clearance by the FDA, among numerous other device and vaccine specific approvals globally.

We’re glad to have PharmaJet on the AngelMD platform. Make sure to drop by the company’s profile and click the follow button. You’ll stay up to date with news from the company, as well as any upcoming funding rounds.

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Alpha Speaker Spotlight: Ana Dutra

It’s said that some people are born leaders. Looking at Ana Dutra’s CV, she most definitely fits the description. But Ana knows that leadership is an imperfect science, in need of constant attention and honing. As CEO of The Executive’s Club of Chicago, she helps to connect business leaders looking to be challenged by difficult questions so they’ll learn when the time is right to lean on others for help. We’re excited to welcome Ana to AngelMD’s Alpha Conference, running from January 5th through the 7th, 2018.

Aside from serving as the CEO for the Executive’s Club, Ana is also on the Board of Directors for the environmental engineering firm Greeley and Hansen, she’s the CEO of Mandala Global Advisors, and she sits on the Board of Directors for CME Group — a derivatives marketplace. From a high-level view, one thing becomes clear — she operates at the pinnacle of each field in which she works.

It’s likely that you’ve seen Ana’s work before. She’s well-known on the speaking circuit, and she’s a contributor to Harvard Business Review, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, as well as CEO Magazine. Her 2016 book, Lessons In LeadershiT: Detoxing the Workplace, is a take-no-prisoners approach to removing the roadblocks that prevent companies and their staff from operating at peak performance.

Ana will be joining a distinguished group of doctors, healthcare innovators, and other investors as we cultivate an environment of learning focused on better understanding and capitalization of healthcare innovations. Join us at AngelMD’s Alpha Conference, and help shape the future of healthcare.

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Alleviant Medical: A Novel Approach to Treating Heart Failure

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly six million people in the United States are suffering from heart failure, and about half of those people will die within five years of their initial diagnosis. It’s a $35 billion annual problem that, until recently, has had very little innovation in how it is addressed. Alleviant Medical, however, is taking a novel approach to treating heart failure.

According to Jacob Kriegel, MD, CEO of Alleviant Medical, today’s treatment options are focused either on making the heart pump more efficiently or treating the fluid accumulation that results from the failing heart pump. Pulmonary fluid buildup, the primary driver of heart failure symptoms, leads to shortness of breath, swelling, general weakness, and a host of other problems. Diuretics are usually prescribed to treat these symptoms, but Dr. Kriegel and his team are addressing the underlying cause of pressure buildup within the left atrium.

Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump or fill adequately with blood during and between heartbeats. As a result, pressure builds within the left atrium and backs up to the lungs, leading to fluid accumulation and severe symptoms. Only recently have practitioners begun to focus on elevated left atrial pressure as a potential intervention point, being that it is one of the earliest signs of heart failure exacerbations.

Alleviant Medical is focused on relieving pressure within the left atrium. In layman’s terms, they are developing a minimally invasive device that bores a hole (termed an interatrial shunt) between the left and right atrium, allowing for left atrial pressure offloading to the low-pressure right atrium.  While Alleviant Medical is not the first company to propose interatrial shunting as a novel form of treatment, their approach does not necessitate the implantation of a foreign body to do so. This affords a lower risk profile, as well as a shorter regulatory pathway; as a result, their device is eligible for  FDA 510(k) clearance as a Class II medical device.

Interestingly, one of the insights for their approach came from studying the small percentage of the population born with a larger hole between the left and right atrium. While some patients have to undergo surgery to have the issue resolved, those who don’t have their defect closed seem to be naturally protected from some of the symptoms of heart failure. According to Dr. Kriegel, “We know from those patients what shunt size is appropriate as well as other concerns that we need to monitor in potential recipients of our treatment.”

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AngelMD Friday Roundup – 11/24/17

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

Net Neutrality’s Threat to Telemedicine

As the FCC marches forward with its plans to end net neutrality — the practice of providing equal service and footing to all content on the Internet — healthcare may see impacts as well. As Modern Healthcare explains, telemedicine could be directly impacted by net neutrality changes.

While the FCC argues that paid prioritization for telemedicine could ensure better patient outcomes, the opposite side of the coin can also be argued. Many small companies can not afford the bills associated with paid prioritization, and their innovations could be stifled by being given lower-priority traffic.

An Apple EHR?

It’s no surprise to anyone when we see Apple, Google, and the rest of the tech juggernauts toying around in the healthcare market. But some recent patents from Apple give us a bit more of a peek into the company’s potential plans.

Healthcare IT News reports that Patent US 9723997 B, obtained by Apple back in August, is an electronic device that computes health data of the user based upon sensor data regarding the received light. While it’s purely conjectured at this point, patents such as this could certainly open the door for Apple to deepen its trek into the healthcare market.

Lower-Ranked Education Linked to High Opioid Prescriptions

As the United States continues its war on the opioid epidemic, a new study from Princeton University shows a somewhat-surprising link to the problem. Physicians trained at the United States’ lowest-ranked medical schools write more opioid prescriptions than physicians trained at the highest-ranked schools.

The study found other interesting links as well:

  • Doctors who received more pain management education were less likely to prescribe opioids.
  • Doctors trained in the Caribbean and in Canada were more likely to prescribe opioids than doctors trained in other parts of the world.
  • Doctors who graduated more recently were less likely to prescribe opioids than those who had been in practice for longer.

mHealth Makes Strides in Diabetes Management

A study from New York University shows that mHealth practices can have a direct, positive impact on the management of Type 2 diabetes. Specifically, patients who are sent non-personalized reminders about caring for their condition exhibited lower blood glucose levels, while personalized messages correlated to lower incidences of hospital admissions.

Diabetes and pre-diabetes conditions cost the United States approximately $322 billion each year. Recent advances in the field have shown promise, but are also cost-prohibitive for many patients. mHealth practices like the ones showcased in this study could help to improve patient lives with minimal or no additional costs.

Amazon + Cerner

CNBC reported on a big story from Amazon. The company, which has met resistance when it comes to getting healthcare companies to adopt the cloud, has recently inked a deal with Cerner.

The deal is centered around Cerner’s population health management application. HealtheIntent enables hospitals to gather and analyze huge volumes of clinical data to improve patients’ health outcomes and lower treatment costs.

New at AngelMD

  • Don’t miss the chance to invest in Aqueduct or Articulus Bio.
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