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Gadgets to Seamlessly Integrate Health Apps Into Daily Life

Inearly April, Penn Medicine hosted a fast-paced lightning round of presentationshighlighting new and emerging technology being used inside and outside theHealth System that may help patients and medical professionals alike. “Connected health” isabout continuous sensing and monitoring to enable early detection, diagnosisand intervention, and improving outcomes at lower cost.  Alternating between internal and external projects, thepresenters brought their best ideas and applications to share, explaining howthese new devices fit within the existing health care system and, in somecases, how they stretch the boundaries and may change the way healthcare isdelivered.
David Asch and Bill Hanson interact with the latest health innovations at Penn Medicine's Connected Health Symposium.

"Wewanted a chance to bring some of the best innovations from industry and fromwithin Penn Medicine together, to share ideas, connect like-minded groups, and explorenew ways we can use technology now and in the future to improvepatient care and convenience and lower costs," said Bill Hanson, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer for the University ofPennsylvania Health System and professor of Anesthesiology in the PerelmanSchool of Medicine at the University of Pennsyvania. The event was organized bythe Penn Medicine Center for Innovation and moderated by DavidAsch, MD, MBA, Professor of Health Care Management andExecutive Director of Penn Medicine's Center for Innovation, as well as Roy Rosin, MBA,Chief Innovation Officer at Penn Medicine's Center for Innovation and formerVice President for Innovation at the software company Intuit.

From aGPS-enabled inhaler gadget and app that can trace asthma triggers, to a cellphone app to help diabetes patients manage their disease, the latest apps wereon display. Telemedical robots meandered down the exhibit space in the SmilowCenter for Translational Research while hundreds of attendees bounced betweenthe 10-minute lectures and the exhibit area

Ahandful of Penn Medicine innovations were on display, including Penn'sAccessDerm and Telestroke programs:

New App Brings DermatologyConsults to City Health Clinics

Penn Dermatologists areassisting health clinics across the city by using a new app to help diagnosisskin conditions. Just last week, a case of invasive melanoma was identifiedthrough the AccessDerm program at one of the city health clinics.

For the last five years, Penn's Carrie Kovarik, MD,Assistant Professor of Dermatology, has led efforts to connect doctors fromaround the world (e.g. Botswana, Egypt, Uganda and Guatemala) with PennDermatologists, to assist physicians in diagnosing and providing treatmentrecommendations for various skin conditions. Now, the AccessDerm program hasbeen rolled out at more than 25 clinics throughout the city. Patients who comewith dermatologic conditions to many of the Philadelphia Department of PublicHealth clinics, Sayre Health Center, and Jonathan Lax Center can now get asecond opinion seamlessly.

The Penn team is working withlocal partners to study the impact of teledermatology on patients withdermatologic conditions seen in the primary care setting, and on patient accessto specialty care. In addition to urban efforts, work is also being done to seehow rural patients may be able to better served through a teledermatologyprogram like this.

Telestroke Program Increases"Golden Hour" Access to Stroke Care by 40 Percent

Telestroke programssubstantially improve access to life-saving stroke care, extending coverage toless populated areas in an effort to reduce disparities in stroke care access.A newstudy by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the Universityof Pennsylvania found that telemedicine programs in Oregon pushed strokecoverage into previously uncovered, less populated areas and expanded coverageby approximately 40 percent.

The telestroke component of thePenn Neuro Rescue program provides Penn’s comprehensive neurovascular expertiseto affiliated hospitals throughout the region through live, remote consults,enabling the Penn neurological emergency team to diagnose and treat strokes24/7 in affiliated hospitals and transferring those who need surgery and/orspecialized neurointensive critical care to the Hospital of the University ofPennsylvania (HUP), the Philadelphia region's first and only JointCommission-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center.

Innovatorsand leaders discussed ways technology can improve and extend the care providedto patients - like Penn's eICU program which provides an extra set of eyes tohelp apply best practices and improve outcomes in complex cases. Some novelemerging projects generated quick buzz, including a physical therapy programunder development that uses Microsoft Kinect to help physical therapists getinstant feedback on their patients' mobility, strength and balance.

Video game-enabled applications may provide instant feedback to medical professionals.


To endthe day, Ralph Muller, CEO of Penn Medicine, encouragedattendees "to think about promoting health as well as advancing thetechnologies available to people when they are sick. We know that humans don'tlike being hovered over all the time, and how are they going to react to morecontinuous and powerful information? In medicine, people want a human touch aswell as all this information, so one of the things we have to think about ishow to translate this to people."

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