Posts Tagged Health Technology Forum Innovation Conference

Design Thinking for the Underserved – at Health Tech Forum Innovation Conference

At Health Technology Forum, innovation conference on April, 19th 2013, a panel addressed the challenges and opportunities in building design thinking in planning technology solutions for the underserved.  The panel shared examples and case studies from their work, around the world.  Healthcare delivery, in low resource settings, can be particularly challenging.  The panelists demonstrated how innovative design solutions addressed key pain points, and enhanced quality of care in these situations.  Seema Handu, Managing Director at Children’s Global Health Initiative, moderated the panel and shared about the work done by CGHI in various parts of the world, with its mission to enable sustainable global health.  Handu shared examples of work like the Solar Suitcase

Solar suitcase headed for Africa with wecareso...

Solar suitcase headed for Africa with (Photo credit: veritatem) which is affordable, cost effective, light weight, efficient, safe, portable suitcase that can be easily assembled, and has been used with increasing demand, to bring light into the hospitals, and to power small medical instruments, in rural Africa.


Dr. Andre Muelenaer, CMO at Pediatric Medical Device Institute, said, design thinking for the underserved, requires considerations of the needs of the community and the needs of the patient.  He and his team often visit the developing regions of the world, and perform needs assessment, to ensure that unnecessary equipment is not dumped there, without consideration of the requirements and resources.  Glen Moy is Senior Program Officer with California HealthCare Foundation.  Each year, the foundation gives away $40 million, in grants.  In reviewing the grant proposals, the foundation considers if the solution is targeted for the right problem, and if it is patient centered.   Foundation gives many small grants, to nurture early stage ideas, said Moy.


Dennis Boyle, Partner and Founding Member with IDEO, shared about the design thinking approach at IDEO that is human centered, and balances understanding of the community, business, and technology factors.  Above all, it is based on understanding people’s needs.  Boyle shared IDEO success stories including solving urban sanitation problem in Ghana and giving home trained, otherwise poorly qualified doctors in Bihar, India, information and access to some basic tools and access to doctors in major hospitals, in big cities.  Boyle also talked about understanding culture and beliefs and behavior patterns of the community.  For instance, while clean cook stoves were a necessity in Tanzania, and though many families acquired them, they rarely used them, opting for chopping down the wood instead.  They were gradually educated how clean cook stoves were safer, easy to care, and healthier, in order to help the people move from acquisition of cook stoves to actual use.



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Amy Tenderich, Diabetes Mine, to speak at HealthTech Innovation Conference – Preview

A shocking, 25.8 million people in the US, about 8.3% of the population, have diabetes.  Perhaps you or someone you love, suffers from this chronic disease, that requires constant attention.  Perhaps you have often browsed the internet for answers to many questions regarding the disease and are yet unsure of some of the answers.  For instance,

  • Do you know that exercise first raises blood sugar, before the sugar goes down?
  • Do you know that the annual cost associated with diabetes in 2012, was a staggering $245 billion?
  • Do you know that research is under way with the Hypoglycemia-Hyperglycemia Minimizer System or HHM for short?  This is a “mockup” pancreas system comprising of an insulin pump, continuous glucose monitor, and control software algorithm that adjusts your insulin dosage automatically based on changes in blood glucose, creating a real functioning closed-loop system?
  • Do you know that a lot of research taking place today, to combat the disease includes, something called the BioHub, a new mini-organ made out of a porous, sponge-like material the size of a quarter, designed to be compatible with the human body so that thousands of islet cells could be gently seeded onto this protective platform and nestle themselves inside individual pores to start producing insulin, potentially reversing type 1 diabetes?

Or are you asking other questions like

  • With the affordable care act, will it become harder for patients to get coverage for pumps, CGMs, or other treatments options for diabetes care?
  • Where can you get advice and support for wellness and prevention of diabetes related complications?

Diabetes Mine is a treasure trove of information on these and other questions pertaining to diagnosis, treatment, prevention and cure of the disease.  Amy Tenderich, Founder and Editor in Chief at Diabetes Mine, will be speaking on a panel, at HealthTech Forum Innovation Conference, on April, 19. Tenderich was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, in May 2003.  She has since become a freelance writer and consultant in the health and diabetes industries, and a strong advocate for people suffering from the disease.  She is a co-author of the patient guidebook,“ Know your Numbers, Outlive your Diabetes” and founder of the DiabetesMine Design Challenge.  Tenderich frequently speaks at diabetes, health, and social media events.  She recently has joined Alliance Health Networks, as Vice President and Chief Patient Advocate.   See following links for information on some other speakers and panelists , and register for the conference at .

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Jan Oldenburg from Aetna to Speak on Patient Engagement

Jan Oldenburg , a Vice President at Aetna and a nationally known expert in patient engagement, will participate in one of the twelve  panel discussions  at the upcoming  Health Technology Forum Conference on April 19, 2013 at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco.

Jan Oldenburg - transforming healthcare through digital patient engagement

Jan Oldenburg – transforming healthcare through digital patient engagement

Ms. Oldenburg will participate in the panel addressing the topic of “Patient Engagement for Care Improvement”.    Ms. Oldenburg is Vice President Patient and Physician engagement at Aetna and editor of  a recently published book – Engage: Transforming Healthcare through Digital Patient Engagement.   The questions Oldenburg and the panel will address, include:

  • In this virtual age of lesser and lesser human contact, can technology be an enabler in creating dynamic partnership among patients, their families, and the providers of their healthcare?
  • In a partnership model, who would establish the boundaries with regard to privacy, competent decision making, and ethical behavior, and ensure that they are respected?

Patient engagement has become a cornerstone today in discussions of accountable care.  Strong patient engagement will have its basis on physician patient partnership and that relationship will have to be grounded in confidentiality and clarity about mutual responsibilities.

Oldenburg has a passion for examining the use of technology to deliver patient engagement tools and solutions.  In addition to serving as the the editor of the  “Engage! Transforming Healthcare through Digital Patient Engagement”, she was selected to be a member of the Consumer Empowerment Workgroup (CEWG) of the Health IT Policy Committee (HITPC).  The HITPC makes recommendations to the National Coordinator for Health IT on a policy framework for the development and adoption of a nationwide health information infrastructure.  The Consumer Empowerment Workgroup (CEWG) is charged with providing recommendations on policy issues and opportunities for strengthening the ability of consumers, patients, and lay caregivers to manage health and health care for themselves or others.

In recent years, the rules of patient engagement have changed.   In a non-fiction book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” Rebecca Skloot discussed how cells retrieved from Henrietta’s cervical cancer, in 1951, have been the most widely used cells, have been bought and sold by the billions and have led to many discoveries and scientific insights.

These cells were taken without Henrietta’s permission and in those days no one talked about patient engagement or strived to create physician-patient partnership.  Recently, when Lars Steinmetz and his team published the genome of the HeLa cells, Steinmetz and his colleagues gave little thought that it could ignite a bioethical lightning rod.  But the descendants of Henrietta Lacks and other scientists and bioethicists were not pleased and they criticized Steinmetz’s decision to publish the sequence, noting that the HeLa cell line was established without Lacks’s consent and it may disclose genetic traits borne by surviving family members.

In addition to Ms. Oldenburg, other participants in the “Patient Engagement for Care Improvement” panel, will include Neil VerselLaura Esserman, Professor – UCSF School of Medicine  and Amy Tenderich, Editor-in-Chief,, an online support and advocacy group for diabetics.  Neil Versel, HIT Journalist, Universal Media, will moderate the discussion.

For information on the other panel discussions and speakers at the conference and to register, please go to:

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