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  • Winners of the Closing the Data Divide Challenge Revealed

    Data collected by primary care providers can be a useful tool in helping public health officials understand health trends within a local community. That information can then guide public health professionals when developing local health interventions and policy. At the same time, primary care providers can benefit from public health insights on local social and environmental conditions that their patients live in as well as guidance on emerging global health risks.

    However, there aren’t many mechanisms or processes that promote the exchange of data between these two groups. The “Closing the Data Divide” Virtual Challenge, sponsored by the de Beaumont Foundation and the Practical Playbook, incentivized the development of novel technologies to break down silos between primary care and public health and facilitate the exchange of more timely and granular data to advance population health.

    “Closing the Data Divide” opened in October 2015 and received submissions from designers, developers, and entrepreneurs working in the health technology and innovation space. PHRASE Health took top honors in the competition, with HealthStead coming in second place and Healthcare Access San Antonio in third.

    About PHRASE Health: Developed by Marc Tobias, MD and Naveen Muthu, MD, Clinical Informatics Fellows at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, PHRASE (“Population Health Risk Assessment Support Engine”) creates a two-way flow of information with an EHR-embedded tool and web portal. The web portal allows public health professionals to define risk factors, which alerts clinicians within the EHR when a patient is from an at-risk population – for example, an individual from a neighborhood with a known lead paint problem or someone who has recently traveled to a country where Zika is present. The interface also provides one-click reporting to allow primary care providers to alert public health officials when they identify new cases of infectious disease.

    About HealthStead: HealthStead connects primary care and public health professionals with neighborhood level data on education, income, crime, and other factors that have an outsize impact on health outcomes. HealthStead software sets itself from existing competitors by facilitating efficient comparisons between and among small areas (e.g. census tracts, block groups). Because neighborhood indicators like household income, violent crime, home vacancies, blood lead levels, and internet access can vary from block to block within cities, HealthStead’s intuitive and flexible interface represents a marked improvement over previous attempts. HealthStead was developed by Adam Perzynski, PhD, Meaghan Fenelon, Eamon Johnson, PhD, Sarah Schick, and Tynan Smith.

    About Healthcare Access San Antonio: Healthcare Access San Antonio (HASA) has created a local health information exchange that aggregates patient information and provides the local health department with insights into patient groups that have sought clinical care in a given time period. At the same time, a reports portal called HASAFacts distributes up-to-date information on community health outcomes and place-based resources for community health activities. HASAFacts also allows healthcare organizations to analyze the results of their patient treatments and assess their success in managing population health. One of the strengths of the HASA solution is that its data source has already reached a critical mass, as all San Antonio Hospitals are participating and contributing data. HASAFacts is a critical component of HASA’s technical platform and receives clinical input from Vince Fonseca, MD, MPH, FACPM and Anil Mangla, MS, PhD, MPH, FRIPH. Phil Beckett, PhD provides HASA’s day-to-day management of the program.

    The de Beaumont Foundation, the Practical Playbook, and Health 2.0 thank all of the individuals who participated in the “Closing the Data Divide” Virtual Challenge. We hope that this challenge showcases the potential for synergy between primary care and public health. By working together, these groups can exchange useful data and develop strategies to improve the health of local communities across America.

    For more information on the “Closing the Data Divide” Virtual Challenge, visit

    Darren Spevick, Eventum talks people and health tech

    Darren Spevick runs the executive recruiting company Eventum Partners, and has spent the last three years looking at health technology through the lens of the need for talent and human resources. Big corporates are hiring innovators. Smaller tech companies are trying to figure out how to commercialize and who they need to do that. Darren has a birds eye view of this. I had a quick interview with him about that view and what he was seeing. If you are interested in who’s doing what in Health tech, it’s well worth a listen. Like me, Darren will be at Health 2.0 Europe in Barcelona next week! Tough for us!

    In celebration of World Immunization Week!

    This month, one of the largest public health interventions is occurring and it is called “The Switch.” Countries all over the world are switching to a new polio vaccine as we get close to eliminating the disease. As we get closer to a polio-free world, it is important to reflect on the lessons we have learned combating this disease.

    Efforts to stop polio have helped mobilize and train millions of health workers, mapped and brought health interventions to chronically missed communities and bolstered countries’ ability to deliver vaccination, monitor diseases and quickly respond to outbreaks. The global public health community has the opportunity to build a lasting legacy and make a sustainable difference to the health of some of the most vulnerable communities and countries. In this way, we can ensure that the investments made in polio eradication have broader benefits for years to come.

    This short video shows us the experience of polio through the eyes of a polio survivor and one of the world’s foremost polio experts, Stephen Cochi.

    Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.31.24 PMPolio
    password: polio

    Be sure to also check out “The Switch” article featuring an interview from Stephen Cochi on BBC:

    Health 2.0 Europe: The European Gathering of Digital Health Champions in Barcelona

    Barcelona, ​​March 31, 2016. All the stakeholders from the European digital health tech ecosystem will meet in Barcelona for the 7th edition of Health 2.0 Europe (10-12th May). Since 2010, Health 2.0 Europe has been the platform for developing and presenting new solutions in the field of digital health. The conference will showcase innovative technologies from around the world helping healthcare professionals and patients in their daily activities and lives in the hospital or remotely. The organization has chosen Barcelona to host this new edition, considering it to be a major capital for innovation with a high concentration of start-ups and their close collaboration with the Mobile World Capital Barcelona.

    • During three days, pioneers in using new technologies, investors and start-ups will meet in an international event consolidated as the leading showcase of cutting-edge innovations transforming health and health care.
    • This edition will bring together big names from the international digital health scene like Dr. Rafael Grossmann, the surgeon who performed the first live surgery with Google Glass.

    All the key players of the health IT ecosystem will be represented in the conference program. This year, the conference’s structure holds three main axes: accelerating the adoption of innovative solutions by patients and healthcare professionals, increasing the investment flow in digital health start-ups, and the reimbursement of these new technologies by public and private insurance systems. Along those lines, here are some of the scheduled discussion panels:

    • Health 2.0 Trends Around the World
    • Solutions for Hospitals and Health Professionals
    • Building a New Framework for Health 2.0 Adoption in the Clinical Setting
    • Building Blocks to a Dynamic Health 2.0 Ecosystem in Europe
    • Health 2.0 Applications and Implementations in Emerging Markets
    • Health 2.0 Power to the Patients!
    • Who Will Pay for Health 2.0? An Investors’ Discussion
    • Health 2.0 Transforming the Daily Mission of Nurses
    • Reimbursement – Players, Trends, Criteria, and Processes

    Health 2.0 Europe 2016 brings together digital health pioneers
    Key speakers will include Dr. Rafael Grossmann, trauma surgeon and pioneer in digital health (he performed the first-ever live surgery with Google Glass); Esther Dyson, one of the most influential investors in digital health in the world – her latest investments include PatientsLikeMe, 23andMe, HealthTap, and Omada Health; Dr. Julio Mayol, director of the Innovation Institute San Carlos Health Research (IdSSC) in Madrid and advisor to biomedical technology and digital health start-ups.

    More than 120 speakers, 30 investors and 50 live demos of new digital health solutions
    In the last edition of Health 2.0 Europe (May 2015) “the digital solutions presented on stage were in a more advanced stage of maturity than in previous years – ready for investments and large scale implementations. The overall conference was very positive; we had over 450 attendees, a number we hope to increase again this year!” reports Pascal Lardier, International Director at Health 2.0.

    Echoing the success of previous editions, 50 live demo of digital health solutions designed to help all those involved in health management (patients, healthcare professionals, pharma groups, public and private insurers…) will be showcased from a user perspective. As an example, the session “Solutions for Hospitals and Health Professionals” will be introduced by Dr. Rafael Grossmann and will showcase five of the latest most advanced tools and apps created to increase the quality of patient care and reduce healthcare costs.

    Business opportunities and new solutions for physicians and patients
    Health 2.0 Europe provides visibility to digital health start-ups but also funding opportunities and investor networking. The 5th edition of EC2VC- Investors’ Forum and Pitch Competition will focus specifically on increasing the investment flow in Europe. “At Health 2.0 Europe we bring together the most active international investors in digital health so they can engage early with the most promising digital health start-ups in Europe.” says Pascal Lardier, Health 2.0’s International Director.

    For more information:
    Margarida Mas
    Communication and press 7th Health 2.0 Europe
    Tel +34 626 523 034

    Health 2.0 Europe, encuentro europeo de líderes en salud digital en Barcelona

    • Durante tres días, pioneros en utilizar nuevas tecnologías, inversores y start-ups se reunirán en un evento internacional consolidado como referente en la innovación en salud digital.
    • Esta edición va a reunir a grandes nombres de la salud digital a nivel internacional como el Dr. Rafael Grossmann, cirujano que realizó la primera cirugía documentada con Google Glass.

    Barcelona, 29 de marzo de 2016. Todos los actores del ecosistema tecnológico en salud digital se darán cita en Barcelona en la 7º edición del Health 2.0 Europe (10-12 de Mayo). Health 2.0 Europe es, desde 2010, la plataforma para desarrollar y presentar nuevas soluciones tecnológicas en el ámbito de la salud digital. Provenientes de todas partes del mundo, se darán a conocer ideas innovadoras que se han convertido en herramientas para ayudar al profesional médico y a los pacientes en su día a día en el hospital o telemáticamente. La organización ha escogido una vez más Barcelona por ser la capital de la innovación con una gran concentración de start-ups y por su estrecha colaboración con la Mobile World Capital Barcelona.

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    Epigenetics and the Black Box of Male Infertility

    Human beings have always regarded bearing children as one of the most meaningful and fulfilling acts of life, particularly in the last few thousand years. The genuine joy, fear and excitement parents feel for their children make even a cynic like me stand in awe of the role that raising kids plays in both the parents’ life and in society.

    Being 28, single, and living in an overpopulated world, my priorities in life are more about my career and living new experiences rather than being focused on building a family and ‘spreading my seed’. Apparently I am not alone in this, and research shows that more and more people prefer to wait to an older age to have their first child; mainly due to secular and socioeconomic pressures.

    Another trend is becoming prevalent, which is that this older population of parents are finding it harder to conceive. Though previously thought of as a cause of advanced maternal age, causes of infertility have recently been linked to advanced paternal age as well. In fact, according to the CDC, 7.5% of all sexually experienced men younger than age 45 reported seeing a fertility doctor during their lifetime (3.3–4.7 million men). Of men who sought help, 18% were diagnosed with a male-related infertility problem.

    Perhaps the most frightening fact about the problem is that over 25% of these males have unexplainable infertility. They go to infertility clinics, pay large sums of money out of pocket, and make decisions about treatment while not knowing the cause. The good news is that the solution to this giant information gap might be right around the corner.

    Episona, a California-based startup, is using the fascinating science behind epigenetics to study male infertility and help people build families. “To understand epigenetics, think of building a house.” explained Alan Horsager, President and CEO of Episona. “If the house, with its many components, is your genome, then the blueprint of the house’s design is what epigenetics is. It is a way for the cells to know which building blocks [genes] to use.

    Epi is a latin prefix for the word around or next to. These are a set of rules that determine which genes get expressed or used and which remain dormant. To a large extent, our epigenetics determines who we are, what we look like, and what kind of diseases we may be prone to. They are particularly interesting because they are not only inherited, but also change with age, environment, and behavior.

    Episona evaluates an individual’s epigenetic profile to determine if there may be a fertility problem that isn’t picked up by currently available diagnostic tests. Doctors then get a report with a Fertility Score, including a list of genes that are epigenetically abnormal. Doctors can use this information to better counsel their patients and direct them to the best possible treatment.

    “We see ourselves essentially as a data company. What we are interested in is studying the relationship between epigenetics and the environment, and asking ourselves how we can predict disease and outcomes”, Alan told me, after explaining that they survey their patients about their general well being and behaviors. It’ll certainly be interesting to see what correlations they can find.

    Episona has raised over 1.3 M US Dollars and will provide their services to infertility clinics in the US and Canada later this year.  Their studies and trials have shown that their predictive models proved to be highly accurate in classifying male fertility status (fertile or infertile), with 82% sensitivity, and 99% positive predictive value.

    “The alternative right now is that these people who don’t understand the underlying developmental causes of their infertility choose between In-Vitro Fertilization, which costs about $15k and has 30% success rates, or Intra Uterine Insemination which costs $2k with about 15% success”, Alan explained, stressing the giant potential of these technologies.

    Epigenetics is also being applied on a wider range of medical issues and lifestyles, and is opening up a world of options such as this study about the correlation between obesity and spermatozoa epigenetics. Companies like Episona allow us to peek into the blueprint of our bodies and essentially redesign what is necessary.

    Technology for Healthy Communities Launches Today!

    Technology for Healthy Communities (5)

    Health 2.0, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is proud to announce today’s kickoff of Technology for Healthy Communities, a digital health pilot program that facilitates technology adoption at the community level by tackling the most pressing local health issues. The inaugural program connects health technology innovators with 4 under-served communities across the U.S. with the goals of improving health outcomes and building sustainable partnerships.

    Despite the booming digital health ecosystem with over $4B in investments in 2015, there are significant hurdles to adoption for local communities, including lack of community stakeholder engagement and lack of financial incentive/commercial business models for startups in the community health setting.1 While innovation challenges in digital health have introduced elements of matchmaking and short cycles of engagement, there has not been a rigorous model for testing and implementation that leads to sustainable adoption.

    At the same time, we live in a healthcare climate where the U.S. health expenditure is over $3 trillion and our health outcomes lag behind those of other developed countries.2 We disproportionately spend less money on social services and more on healthcare and yet a large majority of what makes us sick can be attributed to the social determinants of health— factors such as socioeconomic status, availability of resources, education, employment and access to healthcare, that affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes.3, 4 Technology for Healthy Communities has the opportunity to catalyze the adoption and use of health technologies in communities in order to impact these social determinants, improve health outcomes and create business opportunities for technology companies.

    Several communities across the U.S. applied to participate in Technology for Healthy Communities. Four under-served communities were selected to move forward with the program:

    Through an open application process, the Technology for Healthy Communities team will source health innovators across the U.S. that provide cutting edge solutions to the communities’ health needs. The specific technology needs identified by the participating communities can be found on the program website. Selected innovators will then be matched with communities to conduct pilots and implement sustainability plans with the ultimate goals of improving health outcomes in the community’s target population and developing a sustainable, commercial model. Successful participants will receive funding (there is up to $200,000 available in a funding pool to support pilots) and promotional opportunities to increase their visibility.The Technology for Healthy Communities team will provide pilot implementation guidance and work with the community and innovator pair to identify local commercial partners to sustain the technology adoption beyond the duration of the program.

    The application process is now open to innovators who are looking to make a significant impact in under-served communities by implementing their technology solutions. If you are a health technology company, this is a unique opportunity to gain access to a vetted network of community organizations, guidance and funding from the Technology for Healthy Communities team, with the potential for commercial contracts and business development opportunities.

    The deadline for innovator applications is May 17, 2016. To learn more about Technology for Healthy Communities and submit an application, visit

    Introducing NYC Digital Health Forum


    A Conference for the Digital Health Entrepreneur

    We have brought together some of the most innovative thinkers across the healthcare, technology, and venture spaces to share their perspectives and opinions on how to access and capitalize within digital health. This is an opportunity to rub shoulders with and learn alongside other entrepreneurs directly from the mouths of the New York City’s largest healthcare stakeholders and startup veterans. On May 18th from 9am to 2pm, NYCEDC, Health 2.0, and Blueprint Health present NYC Digital Health Forum at the New York Genome Center.

    Entrepreneurs, innovators, hospital professionals, and industry leaders will explore the digital health landscape and discuss how startups and healthcare organizations successfully partner to bring new technologies to the forefront. Learn about the needs of healthcare partners, the characteristics of a unicorn within our space, how to design a commercially viable pilot, and much more. The full agenda is available now. We invite all entrepreneurs and healthcare stakeholders to join in the discussion. There will also be complementary competitive matchmaking sessions between regional healthcare partners and digital health innovators occurring that afternoon and the day before. Come to both events to study up and close a deal.

    Buy your ticket before its gone! Updates will be made available at
    Mark your calendar on May 18th for NYC Digital Health Forum at the New York Genome Center.

    The Benefits of Matchmaking

    Digital Health Matchmaking

    Beyond our new look, the Digital Health Marketplace (previously Pilot Health Tech NYC) is a more robust and wide reaching program than ever before. We have undergone an evolution since beginning in 2013 and developed distinct matchmaking and funding arms. We have watched two successful classes execute pilot projects with healthcare partners throughout the City of New York, and for the first time this spring, we are offering additional independent matchmaking sessions open to regional healthcare partners both within the city and beyond.

    The value of matchmaking lies in its vetting and pairing service. By filling out our Find a Match application, the Digital Health Marketplace team of industry veterans from NYCEDC, Health 2.0, and Blueprint Health will perform a needs analysis of each potential healthcare partner and consider the relative capability of digital health innovators to address those needs. With input and approval on behalf of potential healthcare partners, select viable pairs will be connected via curated meetings held on May 17th and 18th at the New York Genome Center.

    Our matchmaking sessions have been a resounding success in reinforcing startup sales pipelines and bolstering healthcare transformation. Facilitating relationships between larger healthcare institutions and smaller digital health startups, we created a free and frictionless and industry specific matchmaking service designed around health innovation. These sessions have not only effectively set the stage for successful pilot relationships, but also laid the groundwork for commercial growth throughout our five boroughs. They introduced companies that came to participate within our local pilot funding program, but we would love to see service go regional. With Spring Matchmaking on the horizon, we want to spread the love.

    Apply by April 10th, and mark your calendar for May 17th and 18th sessions!

    AMA Medical Education Innovation Challenge Winners Announced!

    A team from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine won the AMA Medical Education Innovation Challenge. Amol Utrankar and Jared A. Shenson proposed the creation of Muse, an online national curricular resource exchange. This team won $5,000 and is presenting its innovation at the spring meeting of the AMA Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium on March 7 in Hershey, Pa.

    A team from Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University was awarded second place and $3,000. One team from Midwestern University’s Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and another team from the University of Louisville School of Medicine tied for third place. Each third place team received $1,000.

    The healthcare landscape has drastically changed over the past decade, but despite the creation of new medical schools and curricular changes in existing ones, physician education has not always kept up with the evolving demands of the health care system. In response to this situation, the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative in partnership with Health 2.0 launched the AMA Medical Education Innovation Challenge in the fall of 2015. Medical students and those studying other disciplines were asked to “Turn meded on its head” and build the medical school of the future.

    The challenge was a huge success and received 146 qualified submissions. Information about most submissions has been gathered into an abstract book that is available from the Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative website. Teams of students proposed ideas that were creative and had the potential to improve the practice of medicine and outcomes for patients.

    More information about the winning teams:

    Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
    1st place
    The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine team proposed Muse: a national exchange for medical education resources: one part information repository, one part social network and one part learning management system. LCME-accredited medical schools could publish their full curricular materials as free, open-access content for use by educators, curriculum developers and leaders. Muse’s content would include, but would not be limited to, syllabi, lessons plans, learning objectives, instructional materials (including multi-media resources), reference notes or texts, and assessment items. Muse would serve as inspiration for its users and community, driving dynamic change, free exchange of ideas and user engagement.
    Video Link

    Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University 
    2nd place
    The team from Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University proposed a Medical Maker program, which would provide a creative and safe space for medical students to gain technical skills and rapidly prototype solutions with 3-D printers. Based on educational sessions in core technical skill areas (computer science, small electronics, textiles, medical materials, and rapid prototyping technologies), this program would educate the future physician workforce in the use of techniques that personalize and customize care to meet each patient’s needs.
    Video Link

    Midwestern University’s Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
    3rd place
    The team from Midwestern University’s Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine proposed that medical schools institute intentional community-based service-learning experiences, beginning in the first year of medical school. The four-year course outline is a combination of direct instruction, reflective discussions, and service learning that would help students form realistic, empathetic perspective on social inequality and health disparities. The curriculum would be designed in collaboration with community partners to expose medical students to underserved populations, provide opportunities for them to build relationships with these communities, and help students reflect upon how their experiences and biases may affect their potential future medical practice and communication with coworkers and patients.
    Video Link

    University of Louisville School of Medicine
    3rd place
    The University of Louisville School of Medicine proposed a curricular model emphasizing student and patient wellness as a means of facilitating communication, empathy and self-awareness. The model includes a combination of required and optional activities, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, accountability teams, reflection groups and communication training. The group also outlined a wellness accessible learning environment, faculty reward system, technology and research applications adding to the support of learners, teachers and patients. This model would promote self-care as a means of improving patient care with the end goal of realigning the culture of medicine with its core values.
    Video Link

    The AMA and Health 2.0 thank all of the individuals and teams who participated in the AMA Medical Education Innovation Challenge. We hope this challenge inspired medical students and those studying other disciplines to explore new ways to prepare medical students for the changing healthcare environment and to improve the U.S. medical education system as a whole.

    For more information on the AMA Medical Education Innovation Challenge, visit

    About American Medical Association

    The American Medical Association is the premier national organization dedicated to empowering the nation’s physicians to continually provide safer, higher quality, and more efficient care for patients and communities. For more than 165 years the AMA has been unwavering in its commitment to using its unique position and knowledge to shape a healthier future for America.

    About Health 2.0

    Health 2.0 promotes, showcases, and catalyzes new technologies in health care through a worldwide series of conferences, code-a-thons, prize challenges, and leading market intelligence.


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