This brash, three-year old technology company offers a simple way to reduce the cost of care: Don’t move the patient to perform an ultrasound test. Merely transporting a hospital patient from bed to exam room can add a few thousand dollars to a bill. Better to perform the diagnostic test at the bedside using the smartphone in the doctor’s pocket, suggests CEO and cofounder Sailesh Chutani.
Not just any smartphone will do, of course. Mobisante provides a phone that has been modified for HIPAA regulatory compliance and data security. But the computing power now available in our pockets rivals many specialized medical devices.
That inspiration came to Chutani while working in Microsoft’s Research Group. After some initial field tests using a smartphone with medical sensors showed promise, Chutani chafed at the company’s slow resolve. “I got tired of making excuses, of building a prototype, not a product.” And so he founded Redmond-based Mobisante with David Zar, a former researcher at Washington University in St. Louis.
An important application of Mobisante’s product, Chutani notes, is in emergency care, to rule out an abscess or cellulitis quickly, either in the field or at the side of a gurney. The mobility of the device allows crucial triage decisions to be made directly at the point of care.
Less obvious, but perhaps more powerful, are the possibilities offered through a smartphone’s data connection. Imaging acquired by a mobile device can be emailed or transmitted to a cloud server for analysis by an expert off site. In this way, Chutani says, access to quality health care can be scaled to more remote areas. As more data accumulates, it could offer benefits for epidemiology research as well.
Like many in technology, Chutani seeks to change the world. But, he adds, “What’s most exciting is you see your device and service having an impact on real lives right away.”
Advanced Medical Isotope Corporation
For solid cancers that cannot be removed surgically, Kennewick-based Advanced Medical Isotope Corporation (AMIC) has developed an isotope-delivery product that can be injected into the body to give a targeted high dose of radiation. Licensed from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the technology’s “radiogel” system uses a water-based, biodegradable polymer that delivers microspheres of a radioactive medical isotope. Injected as a liquid directly into tumor tissues, the polymer turns into a gel at body temperature, helping it stay in place and irradiate cancer cells. AMIC anticipates commercialization of the product later this year.
Getting drugs directly to the brain to treat Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis or epilepsy is a challenge that Impel NeuroPharma’s intranasal technology works to meet. The nose offers a direct path to the brain, circumventing the barriers of the bloodstream, to deliver biologics such as proteins and antibodies for otherwise difficult-to-treat brain diseases. Launched by two University of Washington graduate students, Seattle-based Impel was created as a spin-off from several UW research entities, and all of its employees are UW graduates or affiliates.