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Health IT: Patient Tools for Better Health

People talking at Health IT Forum

Mobile technology is transforming the way patients and doctors interact.

That was the message conveyed by a panel of speakers at a Health IT Forum hosted at Johns Hopkins University’s Montgomery County Campus.

The Health IT Forum series, held four times a year, is a community partnership co-sponsored by the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development, the TechCouncil of Maryland and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. The January forum, titled “Patient Tools for Better Health,” attracted approximately 50 health IT experts from the region.

Panelists were M. Jason Brooke, chief executive and general counsel of Vasoptic Medical; Sandra Garrett, president and chief executive of Global Record Systems; Harsha Rajasimha, senior director of genomics services at Strand USA; and Peter Thorp, general partner, B7.

The group addressed the challenges and benefits of improved technology in managing patient care and patient-doctor relationships.

  • Brooke, who holds a degree in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins, discussed the nationwide initiative to expand health IT and electronic medical records as prescribed by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He highlighted mobile apps that help patients count calories and remember to take medicine. He also discussed his company, Vasoptic Medical, which is developing the XyCAM Retinal Imager. The medical device would be used in a primary care physician’s office to administer eye exams to diabetics.

  • Garrett said many electronic medical records contain little information beyond a patient’s name and gender. She is working on initiatives with the FDA and prescription benefit administrators to spur the development of better electronic medical records, to recruit patients into clinical trials and to better track patient outcomes.

  • Rajasimha spoke about the work at his company, Strand. Strand is focused on clinical genomics to help diagnose disease. Only a small percentage of medical practitioners are well versed in genomics, he said. His company is using DNA sequencing to help treat diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, eye disease and diabetes. The company has pioneered its approaches in India and is now expanding to the U.S. market.

  • Thorp talked about the importance of managing and analyzing big data. He highlighted two companies. Zoomdata, he said, can be used to mine millions of patients’ data to identify potential clinical trial participants for cancer drugs. uBeam is developing a transmitter that uses ultrasonic waves to wirelessly charge nearby electronic devices.

The Health IT Forums are a way for academics, business leaders, government representatives, researchers and others to share ideas and educate those who work in the technology sector. The next forum is scheduled for Thursday, March. 20.


CATEGORY: In The Community