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A BI-WEEKLY PUBLICATION FROM THE CEDARS-SINAI CHIEF OF STAFF July 12, 2019 | Archived Issues

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Eleven Startups Join Latest Accelerator Class


The Cedars-Sinai Accelerator is welcoming 11 health-tech companies from across the U.S. and Europe to its newest accelerator class. The companies are innovating solutions for a wide variety of healthcare challenges—from the way hospitals count inventory and schedule staffers to products such as a smart brace for knee replacement patients.

"It's exciting to see our innovation community grow with each new class of companies, and these founders and their teams bring a remarkable breadth of backgrounds and experiences," said Anne Wellington, managing director of the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator. "I'm looking forward to seeing how our fifth class transforms care at Cedars-Sinai and beyond."

Teams from each company will spend three months in Los Angeles working closely with Cedars-Sinai mentors, including doctors, researchers and administrators. The Cedars-Sinai Innovation Space was designed to maximize interaction among the startup teams and is directly across the street from the medical center.

All the businesses accepted into the program receive a $100,000 investment from Cedars-Sinai. At the conclusion of the three-month program, CEOs will share their progress with an audience of investors, mentors, potential customers and members of the news media at Demo Day.

The new Cedars-Sinai Accelerator class includes:

AMPAworks—As a former surgical nurse practitioner, AMPAworks CEO Bianca Gonzalez is intimately familiar with the challenges of missing inventory and the time-consuming task of taking inventory. So Gonzalez and her partners—all MBAs from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania—developed a small cube that fits on any shelf and uses image recognition to count inventory as well as provide a real-time video feed of the count.

ClinicianNexus—This startup provides a platform that CEO Katrina Anderson describes as an "Airbnb for clinical rotations." The innovative platform allows health systems to assess and share their capacity to teach, filling in the who, what, when and where on the platform. The information is shared with the schools so that students can apply for rotations as efficiently as possible. ClinicianNexus is already working with 60 hospitals and 100 schools and has nearly 10,000 students signed up.

Feedtrail—Hospital leaders want and need to know what they did right, what they did wrong and what they could improve. But currently, administrators are limited to gathering that information via surveys conducted by mail or phone after a patient is discharged, making response rates low. Feedtrail offers a simple patient survey prior to discharge that takes mere seconds to complete. Feedtrail clients—36 healthcare providers in five countries—report they are receiving an increase in feedback as well as more actionable insights. Feedtrail co-founders are Paul Jaglowski, Mikko Lehmus, Chris Miller and Gert Volmer.

FocusMotion Health—Assessing and monitoring orthopaedic patients before and after surgery is at the center of FocusMotion Health. The company created a smart knee brace as well as an app and dashboard platform that capture how much a patient walks and exercises. It also measures a patient's range of motion and flexibility for 20 exercises and sends the data to the medical provider. The company's first product, the TKR Recovery System, is aimed at patients undergoing total knee replacement. The system connects physicians and therapists to the patient, enabling daily guidance and almost real-time intervention. Cavan Canavan and Grant Hughes founded the company.

Hawthorne Effect—Studies show that 89% of clinical trials are missing data and half of participating patients drop out before the study is completed. Hawthorne Effect has developed a virtual platform to track each patient's data. The company also trains investigators to visit patients in their homes to certify data and keep patients engaged. The data is then transferred via a secure database platform to the principal investigators. The result is lower patient withdrawals, more complete data collection and improved patient experience in clinical trials. Founded by Jodi Akin, Hawthorne Effect is in use at several U.S. medical centers.

Health Note—Simplifying the process of documenting every physician-patient interaction is the mission of Health Note. The company developed a simple-to-use platform that patients sign into before a physician appointment. The platform asks all the questions a physician would normally ask at the start of a visit. The information is formatted into a physician's note and sent to the medical record system. The company's co-founders, Joshua Reischer, MD, and Aaron Rau, attended the same entrepreneur class while they worked on developing different products. At the end of the course, they decided to combine forces and create Health Note.

Lantum—Scheduling shifts of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals can be an exercise in confusion. That's why Melissa Morris, a native of the United Kingdom, founded Lantum after years of working as a healthcare consultant with McKinsey & Company. Currently, filling hospital shifts involves multiple phone calls, emails and spreadsheets. With the Lantum workforce-management platform, hospitals can easily schedule their staff. Staff also can log in to the platform to book and swap shifts, negotiate rates and complete time sheets. Lantum also can arrange for next-day payments. Lantum is already in use with 2,000 healthcare organizations and 20,000 healthcare professionals in the U.K.

Notisphere—Healthcare providers can get bogged down with product recalls and efforts to prevent patients from being harmed by a recalled item. To communicate recalls, the healthcare industry currently uses a mostly paper-based, slow and cumbersome process. Official recall notices can come with dozens of pages of instructions and are sent to numerous personnel at the same hospital. Notisphere is a digital platform that allows suppliers to announce recalls and also provides real-time communications between product suppliers and healthcare providers. Notisphere was created by Guillermo Ramas who has 20 years of experience in healthcare technology.

OMNY—Data sharing, particularly about pharmaceutical usage, is at the heart of any healthcare system. An example that co-founder and CEO Mitesh Rao, MD, cites is the tracking of high-cost oncology drugs. Without centralized data, hospital teams struggle to know exactly where drugs are located or when they are utilized. The OMNY platform facilitates real-time sharing of this data. Sharing allows hospitals to better align the supply of a drug with the demand for it, significantly reducing cost and waste. Rao, formerly the chief patient safety officer at Stanford, co-founded OMNY with Sunny Grewal (Helix, Outset) and Sean O'Brien (Virtustream, Dell EMC). OMNY's partnerships include big pharma, biotech and hospital systems.

Parker Isaac Instruments—Dissecting specimens can be a tedious manual process. Instead of pathologists manually dissecting cancer resections to isolate lymph nodes, Parker Isaac Instruments has created a tissue-separation instrument which automatically isolates lymph nodes from the surrounding fat, resulting in higher lymph node yields. Once separated, the nodes are studied under a microscope to detect the spread of cancer. The instrument was piloted in a community hospital in upstate New York and is currently being tested in the Cedars-Sinai Pathology Lab. Co-founders Alex Bodell and Charles Stern were inspired by Charles' mother, a pathologist, as well as a shared passion for mechanical design.

Virti—Believing that experiential education should be affordable to everyone in healthcare inspired orthopaedic and trauma surgeon Alex Young, MB, ChB, to start his company. Virti employs virtual and augmented reality coupled with artificial intelligence to transport physicians and students into difficult clinical environments. For example, Virti can virtually place physicians in stressful environments like an emergency department dealing with a traumatic event. Following the experience, Virti then assesses participants to help improve their performance. It also helps reduce patient anxiety by creating virtual hospital experiences for patients, taking them on the journey from the parking garage to the operating room. Virti is currently in use in medical and nursing schools as well as healthcare simulation centers in the U.S. and U.K.

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The fifth class of entrepreneurs in the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, with Managing Director Anne Wellington on the left of the second row, wearing a light blue jacket. Photo by Cedars-Sinai.