Category Archive For "Startup Spotlight"
Each of the following startups joined AngelMD in the past month. Check out a new company in a specific innovation category.
We’re always proud to see the work of AngelMD companies turn into success. Windpact is a Virginia-based company with 13-year NFL veteran Shawn Springs at the helm. The company has recently been featured in the NFL’s Play Smart. Play Safe. initiative. Windpact’s Crash Cloud technology can be integrated into existing products to help make them safer. From sports, to automobiles, to military equipment, the Windpact team is making a hard-hitting world a safer place.
Over the past few years, the subject of value-based care has come to the forefront. Regardless of the complications surrounding accountable care organizations (ACOs), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services believes strongly in value-based programs. Across the board, reports agree that a lack of education is directly correlated with lower patient satisfaction. Ikona is a New York-based company that provides research-backed solutions that have been clinically proven to decrease patient stress and increase patient satisfaction.
Ikona’s approach is backed by research. Via a randomized controlled study of over 120 patients, those who had a virtual reality experience prior to their surgeries went into the procedure feeling less stress, and emerged with greater satisfaction. The research was featured in the Annals of Surgery in June of 2017, and served as the foundation for building Ikona.
Ikona is presently working on an augmented reality application called Pill Planner. Pill Planner uses the patient’s smartphone camera and then overlays a guide on the screen showing the patient what pills need to be loaded into their pill box. This cuts down on the confusion that many patients feel when faced with, as in the case of transplants, a new regimen of medication that needs to be taken on time and consistently.
Ikona’s subscription model for its virtual reality content appears to be a strong offering. Its patient focus, can help calm pre-procedure nerves, it can assist in discharge planning, and even with pain management. The system is designed to scale to any size office, from a single provider all the way to a large healthcare conglomerate.
Stop by Ikona’s AngelMD profile, and make sure to follow the company to get updates as it moves forward. Not an AngelMD member yet? Don’t miss out. Sign up today to help shape the future of healthcare.
AngelMD Note: The following article was written by Pennie Sempell, J.D and James Monroe Ph.D., Co-founders of AngelMD network startup StressPal, Inc. Dr. Monroe comes from a 30-year background as a clinical psychologist with expertise in psychological medicine and stress disorders. Pennie Sempell has dual careers in law and integrative health education at a medical center.
Clinician wellness is a critical, yet under-recognized, piece in the multi-faceted aim to improve patient care, achieve better outcomes, and lower costs. Yet, 54 percent of MDs report suffering from burnout and nearly one-third report being depressed. Working longer hours for less money, government regulations, bureaucratic tasks and dealing with difficult patients are reported as the most challenging part of the job.
A Heavy Toll on the Healthcare Ecosystem
Emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and a low sense of personal accomplishment characterize burnout. In healthcare, burnout is thought to contribute to poor outcomes and lower patient satisfaction. The American Medical Association’s StepsForward program brings to light the widely under-recognized cost of health provider burnout for the healthcare ecosystem.
The stress epidemic in the general public profoundly impacts medical care and clinician wellness. A rising epidemic of patients with stress-related chronic lifestyle diseases is a key factor in increased workload and healthcare resource expenditures. Up to 70 percent of visits to primary care are for stress-related conditions. Studies find that 80 percent of patients presenting for medical care have poor stress resilience.
Retraining for Resilience
Psychology and neurosciences bring a wealth of research about effective interventions to reduce burnout, reduce stress, and build personal resilience. Leading interventions include mindfulness-based and cognitive behavioral therapies, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (MBCBT).
Resiliency is associated with a wide range of mental and physiological health benefits, as well as improved vigor, cognitive functioning, productivity, and importantly, significantly reduced health utilization.
The mindful path to resiliency begins in the brain. It begins by first becoming aware that what impacts our psychological and physical well-being is defined not so much by the specific stressors a person is subjected to, but rather the brain’s reflex triggers. Distressing thoughts, feelings, physical responses, and perhaps unproductive, misguided actions are all types of reflexes that the brain can create under stress.
Certainly, the stressors that doctors are subjected to are real and significant. However, what is being said here is that it is often how one’s brain experiences stressors that is crucial to our well-being. That is, the brain’s tendency to be reactive, judgmental, dis-compassionate, or even catastrophic is often counterproductive and even intensifies our discomfort.
Therefore, another step towards building resilience entails learning how to cultivate, in “the heat of the moment”, ways of being non-reactive, non-judgmental, even curious “observers” of our brain’s reactions. A stance of non-reactive mindfulness is instrumental in reducing the spiraling effects of stress, facilitates problem-solving, and ultimately assists us to stay in touch with what we value in life (family, friendships. our profession, etc.) Our ability to shift our attention to the experience of non-reactivity is essentially a sense of “stepping back” with enhanced awareness, composure, and clarity.
Low Cost, High Quality Solutions are Key
Recent research demonstrates that resilience can be effectively learned online. Stress reduction training programs have demonstrated success in workplace wellness settings with positive return on investment to employers in productivity and lowered health costs.
We are developing a robust online resilience training tool, StressPal, as an add-on behavioral health service for the doctor’s virtual toolbox. Users get the leading mindfulness-based and CBT interventions in engaging self-paced program that is HIPAA-compliant with EHR integration that keeps the doctor in the loop with patients outcome assessments. While designed specifically for physicians to prescribe to patients from the doctor’s own website, it can be equally available to medical staff for personal use.
Each year, over 160,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. The de facto treatment requires invasive examinations, frequent blood tests, and then repeated biopsies. Given the nature of this treatment, it’s no surprise that many patients opt for an aggressive, surgical approach instead. Rapamycin Holdings is taking an age-old drug and using it to give cancer patients a new lease on life via the drug’s mTOR pathway inhibitors.
Prostate Cancer Treatment Today
As discussed earlier, many prostate cancer patients opt out of the appropriate, effective treatment path that is most often suggested by physicians. The treatment is invasive, expensive, and can seem like an endless battle of monitoring rather than eliminating the risk. Conversely, the option of a prostatectomy is a one-time ordeal that can carry with it a lifetime of associated negative effects.
Three years after a prostatectomy, over 90 percent of men report bowel problems, or urinary incontinence. Over 50 percent of men report that they have experienced mild to severe sexual dysfunction. With those risks in mind, prostate cancer patients are left choosing between the lesser of two evils when it comes to treating the cancer that is attacking their bodies.
The Rapamycin Holdings Approach
We’ve known for years that the drug rapamycin can be used to inhibit cellular growth, proliferation, and survival. This knowledge has allowed physicians to use rapamycin to prevent organ transplant rejections via T cell and B cell inhibition. In coronary stents, rapamycin even prevents the re-narrowing of arteries following balloon angioplasty. That said, the current formulation of rapamycin has an unstable shelf life, and unpredictability related to the levels of medicine in the bloodstream.
A new formulation of rapamycin, named eRapa, takes these years of knowledge and applies them to cancer patients. With the basic understanding that cancer is fundamentally an abnormal growth of cells, it seems only logical that blocking the mTOR pathway with rapamycin could help to prevent cancer proliferation. eRapa also stores better than traditional rapamycin, it can be made more available for use through the body, and it’s easier to control.
The Story Thus Far
Rapamycin Holdings has been assigned a 505(b)(2) regulatory pathway, and has patent protection through 2035. Since the mechanism of action is well-defined, and the active ingredient is already FDA-approved, this should help the company find an easy path through its existing IND review.
Although the company is first focusing on early-stage prostate cancer, there is a belief that the same low dose of eRapa can also be effective for the treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancers. This belief will be put to the test during a Phase II clinical trial once the trials for treatment of prostate cancer are underway. The animal trials of the drug also open the door for eRapa to be used in the veterinarian market, providing one potential early exit strategy.
eRapa has already been proven to extend the lifespan and quality of life in mammals. Rapamycin Holdings is entering a market where there are no existing drugs for their targets. With five issued and seven pending patents, the company’s IP is well protected as it moves into human clinical trials at UT Health San Antonio.