Q&A

Get a preview of Chile Connected's anticipated HealthTech panel

Get ready for a fascinating panel. Photo by WebPhotographeer/Getty

The technology and innovation portion of Chile Connected begins next week, and if you haven't already reserved your free spot for the virtual event, you'd be wise to go do it now.

From October 27-29, you can hear from high-level experts and keynote speakers from both Chile and the U.S, as well as network and make new connections that will hopefully lead to a successful partnership.

Josh Sol, the administrative director of Houston Methodist Innovation and Ambulatory Clinical Systems, will be moderating the panel on October 29. The topic is "The Present Future of HealthTech," and will address what COVID-19 means for the future of healthcare technology.

Panelists include Daniela Mendoza, commercial manager for GenoSUR; Alberto Rodríguez-Navarro, founder of Levita Magnetics; and John Dvor, managing director of Miraki Innovation.

InnovationMap recently spoke with Sol about the upcoming event.

InnovationMap: What can U.S. companies gain from participating in this session?

Josh Sol: U.S. companies have the opportunity to gain additional perspectives from other like-minded individuals who are passionate about technology. I've been impressed from the groups and ProChile representatives I have spoken with to date, and I look forward to hearing more about innovation efforts coming from a leading Latin American technology epicenter.

IM: How important are international partnerships in the health tech sector?

JS: Innovation in healthcare technology is coming from all over the globe. Cultural experiences tend to drive creation and innovation. When we collaborate with partners outside of the U.S., we have the opportunity to broaden opportunities and learn from other cultures, and, in turn, we have the potential to apply those insights to what our standard processes are within the U.S. healthcare system.

IM: Personally, why did you feel it important to be involved with Chile Connected?

JS: I have been so impressed by the passion coming from Chile Connected. Discovering new companies doing amazing things in the healthcare technology space continues to fuel my passion for what I do on a day-to-day basis.

IM: What are the key ways businesses can adapt in the pandemic environment?

JS: Businesses should be as nimble as they can — that's a pretty universal lesson most have experienced and we've certainly had first-hand experience in this area as well. At Houston Methodist, our focus is always keeping the patient at the center of everything we do, and we appreciate the collaborative business partners who help us maintain our commitment to our patients, the community, and our clinicians during the pandemic.

Some partners have even pivoted their technology offerings to align with the challenges spurred by COVID. Some areas where we have had to adapt during COVID include ramping up our telemedicine efforts, quickly turning on our virtual ICU, and diversifying the way we communicate with our patients through digital technology.

IM: What do you think is important for start-ups to focus on when trying to grow in this field?

JS: Healthcare technology organizations have many opportunities available to them and must be open to change and the innovations coming from younger start-up companies. As a start-up, it's important to know the problem you are attempting to solve, and to also understand the bigger picture of either the process, patient experience, or clinician experience you are impacting.

Too often, a company will say, "What do you want it to do? It can do anything…" Always come with a solution mindset. Drill down into your offering and what value you have to the organization you're pitching to.

Reserve your free spot for Chile Connected now.

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Building Houston

 
 

Meet MIA — Houston Methodist's new voice technology assistant. Photo via Getty Images

Hey, MIA. Start surgery.

These are the words Houston doctors are learning to say in the operating rooms, thanks to a first-of-its-kind voice technology developed by the Houston Methodist's Center for Innovation in collaboration with Amazon Web Services. In the same way we use programs like Alexa or Siri to make our everyday tasks easier, the Methodist Intelligent Automation, or MIA, is allowing medical professionals to improve the way they interact both with technology and patients alike.

"There's been a push in the industry for a long time that people sitting behind computers and typing and staring at a computer screen is inadequate," says Houston Methodist Chief Innovation Officer Roberta Schwartz. "There's been a desire to return people back to each other rather than physicians and look at a screen and patients look at a doctor looking at a screen."

Currently in its pilot phase, MIA is working to do just that through two key functions that shift the way medical professionals work in what Schwartz calls the "era of electronic medical records."

The first is through operating room voice commands. Here medical professionals can run through a series or checklists and initiate important actions, such as starting timers or reviewing time of anesthesia, through voice instead of by typing or clicking, which can become cumbersome during lengthy and highly detailed surgeries. Information is displayed on a large 80-inch TV in the operating suite and following surgery all of the data captured is imported into the traditional EMR program. The technology has been prototyped in two Houston Methodist O.R. suites so far and the hub aims to trial it in a simulation surgery by the end of the year.

Additionally, the hub is developing ambient listening technology to be used in a clinical setting with the same goal. Houston Methodist and AWS have partnered with Dallas-based Pariveda to create specialized hardware that (after gaining patient permission) will listen into doctor-patient conversations, transcribe the interaction, and draft a note that is then coded and imported directly into the EMR.

"For EMR the feedback is that it's clunky, it's click-heavy, it's very task oriented," says Josh Sol, who leads digital and clinical innovation for Houston Methodist. "Our goal with the Center for Innovation and this technology hub is to really transform that terminology and bring back this collaboration and the patient-physician relationship by removing the computer but still capturing all the pertinent information."

The ambient listening technology is further off and is currently in user acceptance testing with clinicians.

"They've had some great feedback, whether it's changing how the note is created, changing the look and feel of the application itself," Sol adds. "All feedback is good feedback at this point. So we've taken it in, we prioritize the work, and we continue to improve the application."

And the hub doesn't plan to stop there. Schwartz and Sol agree that the next step for this type of medical technology will be patient facing. They envision that in the near future appointment or surgery prep can be done through Alexa push notifications and medication reminders or follow up assessments could be done via voice applications.

"It's all going to be of tremendous value and it's coming," Schwartz says. "We may be taking the first baby steps, but each one of these voice technologies for our patients is out there on the horizon."

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