Medicine has always been a conservative profession that tends to shy away from bold, risky ventures. In some respects, that makes sense: Jumping on the latest surgical innovation or the most promising blockbuster drug too quickly has too often disappointed both clinicians and patients -- or worse, resulted in needless deaths and expensive lawsuits.
But while conservatism can help protect the public from unrealistic solutions to complex problems, it can also thwart genuine cost-effective breakthroughs. And the healthcare industry desperately needs these breakthroughs to free itself from the financial debacle it's now in.
Several accelerator programs have popped up in recent years to help fund health-related startups with the potential to transform patient care, including Blueprint Health, Startup Health, and Rock Health.
Similarly, several IT organizations have helped promising startups establish a firmer footing by featuring them during conferences. A case in point: During the 10th Annual Connected Health Symposium in Boston, an event sponsored by Partners Healthcare, Ethan Fener from InterSystems moderated "The Innovators: 10 Demos of Products and Services to Engage Patients."
The challenge kicked off with a presentation by AuthentiDate, a care coordination company that concentrates on telemedicine, hospital discharge planning, and referral management.
That was followed by Vtrim's demo, which featured an expert-led weight loss program geared toward employers and patients.
Steven Jackson from Vocera spoke about the tools it has designed to "improve the human experience of care." Its patient platform addresses a critical issue in healthcare -- specifically, the inability of patients to retain all the medical information thrown at them during a typical inpatient or outpatient encounter.
Omada Health demoed an online system to help prevent Type 2 diabetes. The Prevent system, which takes its cue from the NIH-sponsored Diabetes Prevention Program, makes use of digital tracking tools and coaching to reduce the threat of this national epidemic.
Reflexion Health's demo offered one of the most practical clinical tools at the Innovator's Challenge. It makes use of Microsoft's Kinect technology to teach patients who require physical therapy to perform the exercises correctly.
The 2013 New York eHealth Collaborative's Digital Health Conference also highlighted several forward-thinking startups worth a closer look, including SaferMd, RightCareSolutions, and Aver. Take a walk through the following slides to learn more about the Connected Health and NYeC startups mentioned above.