We clearly have a long way to go to get past this virus. So many challenges, and so many thanks for all front line clinicians and staff who have gotten us this far.
There are some bright spots of innovation emerging from the chaos. As with any period of complexity, we are also presented with great opportunities for change.
The key will be improving the disaster we have seen in supply chain. For any of us who tried to buy masks, gloves or other protective materials for organizations, the fluctuating quality, costs and global fraud involved in obtaining that equipment suggests we need to remold our manufacturing and supply chain. Innovators, please jump in!
We need to examine access to care and the disparities that emerged across urban and rural communities. This means determining how we use data and best practices to better assess and understand these disparities and create a response system for the next pandemic. This also means better systems for addressing vaccine and treatment protocols.
The isolation and fear that has emerged for at-risk elders living at home or in long-term care facilities needs attention. How do we provide better protection and support? Great opportunity exists to apply emergency management algorithms to protecting important community members.
While these trends suggest new opportunities, innovation in health care is already happening on many fronts.
In talking to graduates and startups, I keep stressing this time as an chance to advance bold new ideas and new products. Some examples of promising new startups from the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University include:
MedUX: medux-llc.com is an award-winning medical product company based on user-centered design. Its first product is a wearable/portable IV system for people in hospital, infusion center and home infusion settings. This product is also used in emergency first response and military situations, offering patients infusion treatment without being tethered to an IV pole.
PAANI: paanisolutions.com, a venture developed by two female founders, addresses a public health crisis in India, where 163 million people lack access to clean water. Using a traditional sari cloth, they engineered a culturally appropriate filtration system to capture pathogens and particulates.
Visos: visosvr.com is a VR platform specifically for medical applications, working in conjunction with a team of advisors that include leaders in the health industry.
Promptous: promptous.com is led by a team building a digital health innovation venture in the insurtech space. It is a blockchain-powered platform to make access to dental benefits simple, seamless and transparent. Their goal is to help make dental benefits affordable and accessible to the 74 millions who go without dental insurance.
In-Spire: news.syr.edu/blog/2018/04/24/engineering-and-computer-science-students-win-panasci-business-plan-competition-with-wearable-inhaler, is a sleek wristband asthma inhaler developed by two female founders who won the CNY Biotech Accelerator Medical Device Innovation.
SugEx: dailyorange.com/2019/10/su-senior-invents-watch-monitor-glucose-levels-diabetes-diagnosis , a wearable technology to make glucose monitoring easier, was developed by an engineering student and industrial design student (one of whom was unexpectedly diagnosed with juvenile diabetes while in college).
If you have any interest in being a mentor for a promising student startup, head to launchpad.syr.edu. Mentors play a key role in accelerating learning about application in a clinical setting. I’ve served as a mentor for MedUX and have enjoyed watching many a great product be launched.
It’s a challenging time, and if you encounter a student concerned about the future, share the exciting startup ideas that are emerging for health care and the opportunities that they can help to explore.