iEX Demos - Session 1
Frank: As healthcare continues to evolve and advance at the pace at which it's advancing, keeping up with emerging technologies, keeping up with disruptive innovation, I'll call it, is challenging. I think we have to defer to the individuals on the frontlines, to the surgeons, to the clerks who are scheduling people to see and recognize they're the ones best positioned to solve challenges because they see them every single day. Matt Cox: So the Innovator's Network is needed sort of in the- in the grand scheme to help people really build that energy and enthusiasm and that grit. We embrace the- the wild ideas and the potentially unthinkable.
Kathryn Beckner: We very firmly believe that the best solutions for veterans are going to come from VHA employee who have the problems in their face everyday. We also really tailor their training and the programming to empower employees to give them new tools and build this little innovation army that then takes those tools back and keeps using them throughout their career. Kevin Patel: The role of an innovation specialist is to work with frontline employees, to identify, test and potentially spread innovative practices, products and practices throughout the VA. What's greats about Spark Seed Spread is that I find it's a way to get your ideas heard to test them and and to be a part of the future of VA. Kathryn Beckner: I think that the ones that are the most interesting are the ones that seem to be creating something from thin air.
A- a nurse from Boston can just see a problem and be like, "I don't have the right blood pressure cuff for this veteran." Doesn't exist. And she's like, "I'm going to make one." That's what- exactly what she did, and she created a prototype and now she's going to test it.
Matt Cox: The space that we play in is not the same as meeting your performance metrics and doing everything better, faster, cheaper. We're looking at building out and closing that possibility gap. Kevin Patel: We define our success in the number of lives saved and changed, which means that if I have one innovation that solved a problem for one veteran, that one live changed is success. Frank: Okay, welcome back, everybody. Hope you're all having a great day.
Thanks for- thanks for sticking with us. I- I hope you've enjoyed all the content this- thus far today and over the last couple of days. Welcome to the session one of the VHA Innovation Experience Demos.
My name's Frank Zico, I am the technical innovation specialist for the VA Northeast Ohio healthcare system in the Cleveland, Ohio area and I am thrilled to be here to introduce all of our wonderful presenters and panelists here today. So for the demos in this session, they'll center around delivering better healthcare to our veterans, in a nutshell. So these presentations, you know, represent a diverse array of practices from VM- VA employees on the frontlines, who deliver excellent care to our veterans day in and day out. So as a reminder to our presenters, you'll each have three minutes to present, and then we'll allow three minutes of Q&A.
So just be- please be mindful of that so we can stay on track of time. So just to introduce our panel quickly, we have Brynn Cole with us from the Innovator's Network, she is the director of programming for the Innovator's Network. We also have Indra Sandal, who is an innovation specialist from Memphis, Tennessee and the residence entrepreneur in residence for the ecosystem at large.
And finally, we have Kathryn Beckner, the innovation specialist from Hunter Holmes VA in Richmond, Virginia. So without further ado I'd like to get started. These first few presenters, you'll notice a common theme with regards to the COVID-19 Maker challenge. Hosted by, of course, Challenge America, who you've heard from the past couple of days. So I think these are all problems that we can all appreciate and all relate, regardless of our background.
So I encourage to sit back, relax and enjoy. So, batting lead off, we have Hunter Futo, who's going to tell us about her open source N95 respirator and virtual fit AR mobile app. Hunter, welcome. Hunter Futo: Thank you.
Thank you, Frank. I'm really excited to be here today, because my project is for the healthcare workers out there that are helping everybody else. Y'all need innovative solutions too. My name is Hunter and I'm an artist and engineer for emerging technology.
This is my [inaudible 00:05:24]. Once upon a time, I was in school for fashion design, but it wasn't right for me so I switched to STEM instead. Many years later, those disparate paths finally converged when I set out to redesign the N95 respirator. I'm familiar with PPE. I wear it in my shop sometimes.
Most of it doesn't fit. I know it's designed for men. Wearing it is a subtle and persistent reminder that my safety and comfort are secondary to profit margins. Nearly 80% of healthcare workers are women, and they're wearing ill fitting equipment up to 12 hours of the day.
The message isn't so subtle for them. I was looking on the GAP's website the other day. Did you know they offer jeans for men and women in 88 different sizes? That doesn't even include cuts, just sizes.
Most N95's come in two. Large and small based on European male proportions. If respirators don't fit, they're not 95% effective. The first version of my mask was folded from Tyvek like origami and was designed to be disposable. The second version is sewn, like jeans, from the waterproof ballistic nylon used in military gear.
It accepts an N95 filter and the holder locks it in place. Then I challenged myself to create a third version that could be 3D printable and manufactured more quickly. I didn't know how to model that myself, so instead, I took the 2D flat pattern and imported it into a fashion CAD program with a physics [inaudible 00:06:38], and eureka, this generated a 3D model in seconds. And this is the printed version of what you just saw.
The straps are made from medical wrap and soft Neoprene gaskets from an airtight seal that does not fog glasses. The other half of this project is the AR app. Quick Fit uses the depth camera on your smartphone to measure your face and determine your mask size. Then you can virtually try on the device to visually check for fit. And you can customize it like a pair of sneakers, changing the mask color, grill color and grill design. What if we stopped scaring patients with Darth Vader masks and wore pandas on our faces instead? Once I got this working, I thought to myself, "What if I took this further?" If the app could capture specific data such as the length of your nose or the shape of your chin, it could choose from an array of lots of patterns.
I don't know, maybe 88 of them. This would be a scalable solution for a custom fit and the measurement data for multiple users could be used to evolve the patterns over time. I'd like to continue my momentum on this project, but I cannot pedal alone.
I need the insights of experts and testing to find the flaws in my design. In addition to your feedback, I'm looking for co-conspirators that want to help me bring... That believe in me and my mission, and want to help me bring this product from my lab into the market and onto the beautiful faces of our healthcare heroes. And the app is a whole nother endeavor. It's not just for masks, but for any PPE worn on the head.
Who knows? Maybe I could even take the technology that I've developed to design a perfect pair of jeans. Thank you. Frank: Thanks, Hunter.
You know, I must say, I'd probably get a Cleveland Browns one now that I, you know. I can... [crosstalk 00:08:23] Hunter Futo: Yes. [crosstalk 00:08:24] Yeah. Frank: ...Say that between the Saints Saints Jersey's. [crosstalk 00:08:27] let's take it...
Yeah. Let's take it over to our panel for questions. Brynn Cole: Just got to find that mute button. I just have to say, Hunter, well done. That was an excellent pitch. From the Innovator's Network side, I have to say that it's been really a pleasure to work with you and- and to help you refine all these things.
I would love to hear a little bit more about what like made you get involved in the COVID-19 Maker Challenge, and tell us a little bit about who you are as a person and how- and how you came to be involved in- in this in this project? Hunter Futo: I- I was actually, I was I had given up on inventing and I was, I had scheduled a technical interview. I was going to get a software job at Google or something. [laughs] so then- then the pandemic hit and the lockdowns in LA started, and I saw on my Instagram, I- I have a lot of maker friends and a lot of hacker friends, and they were 3D printing masks and showing them. I'm like, that's- that's really cool. I also have asthma and I needed something that was ultra protective. So the 3D printed mask didn't fit me very well.
So I decided to make my own. I- this is going to sound weird. I put a bra on my face. That's how I- that's how it got started. And- and it worked, and so I'm like, you know, if I were to design a bra, like how would I- how would I do this? I came up with darts and things and made a- and made a mask and just started researching it in general.
And then through the- the NIH 3D print exchange I had signed up for emails from them, and I think American Makes sent me an email about the- about Challenge America. So I, I signed up for that and got a great team. And- and I want to- I really want to thank them because they helped me take a, you know, a project that was just in it's very, very early stages and helped me refine it and have an actual user to talk to and interview with and respond with and have a team to, you know, to- to give feedback, and so I want to- I want to them Team Happy Face, and especially Brian Patterson for some of those conversations. The panda face and the kind of fun stuff with the app came directly from that.
Indra Sandal: Thank you so much, Hunter, for you. Such an amazing [inaudible 00:10:38]. I have a question regarding your reusable masks. So tell us a little bit more that how often you have to change, how much it will cost, if you have to change your gasket and other stuff which is reusable? Hunter Futo: I- I mean, there's- there's a couple- there's a couple different versions. The the Cordura version, I imagine it's something that could be placed in an autoclave or something that's washed. It would definitely be washed after every use.
I'm not sure if this is necessarily appropriate for clinical use, though. I- I think this is something that would require a lot of testing. Definitely see it for active jobs and people that are out on the field. With LA and the fires that were happening, this was really nice to have around. The 3D printed version the straps, again, just medical wrap, so it's something you already have around and it works really nice, it's very grippy.
The mask itself should be thrown away after each use and the Neoprene gaskets too. So everything gets thrown away filter gets thrown away, but the mask itself can be sterilized and reused. Indra Sandal: Okay, thank you.
Frank: Great. Well, thanks a lot, Hunter. Great work and- and continue- continue to- the great work that you're doing. We're going to stay with the COVID Maker Challenge theme and turn it over to Kevin Patel. He's going to talk to us about the tesselation sanitation station. Kevin? Kevin? Kevin Patel: Yeah.
Hi. My name is Kevin Patel. Collectively known as Team HermTac now. Hermes was the god of innovation and Tac comes from speed. So we ended up building PPE in March like everyone else. The world shut down, didn't know what to do.
We were just a bunch of makers and friends from around Dallas that wanted to help. We quickly realized that our 3D printers were taking like 40 minutes and the lasers were like taking two minutes to make shields, so we tried to get it down to like four seconds, retooled in like two days. Got it down to about like two something seconds per shield, make about 5,000 a day. Like three or four people, volunteers. And that's how we kind of met, we started to donate them to the Dallas VA, to the ICU, COVID, ER units, because we were trying...
We were making ones that were autoclaveable and reusable and didn't have foam for infectious disease, and that's kind of how we ended up here. One of the nurses soon invited us to this Challenge America Maker Challenge over the weekend. Said, "Hey, it'll be fun, it'll be a weekend thing." And now we're here like six months later.
They didn't tell us that part about how long it... Yeah. Anyways, so during it, we couldn't get $200 of funding to build PPE sanitation stuff, because the shields wouldn't fit the masking gloves.
We assigned to make stuff for the healthcare... I mean, not the healthcare. The the cleaning staff with all the stuff coming in and out.
So instead of taking five minutes for a UBC cycle, we- we made it like ten seconds, and we put 432 watts in it instead of six watts, like normal. So we literally just were like, "Hey, let's cram 100 times the power in it and make it 100 times or 50 times quicker," and that's what we came up with. We tested with help of the Dallas Bio Lab.
This week, the Minneapolis adapted design and engineer program came out with two of the version twos that are going to go out to Kaitlin, super VR nurse, you'll see later on here. And as... This thing's pretty noticeable, so as we're taking her around the Dallas VA, I- I'm pretty sure a lot of people noticed it, Dr. Clancy noticed it, that was cool.
The first question they have in the ER's are like, "Oh my god, you mean we can quickly clean awkward large things in like 10 seconds?" They want to stick IV stands in there, they want to stick the pumps, they want to stick the wheelchairs. So the trick about this is all the panels are the same shape, so you can make it three times taller, wider. You can switch out sanitation technology. So right now, this is all UBC, but you can have a heat panel and a mess panel and whichever other combined technologies, it's very modular. So I have no more time. Thank you 100 people that helped.
Frank: Thanks, Kevin. That's great. I think there's a great example of, you know, VA partnering with- with industry and academic affiliates, that's one of the best parts of the Maker Challenges. So great work. Let's take it over to our panelists for- for any questions they might have.
Kathryn Beckner: Well, Kevin, great job and thank you so much for you and your maker community for coming together and making those donations at such a time of need. We appreciate people like you and all over the country. I'm just curious, in those 10 seconds, being so much powerful than the typical machine, does it produce much heat and how hot does it get? And also do you think how big do you think this thing can get? I know you said it can be almost any size, I'm curious what you see as the next iteration. Kevin Patel: So it gets really hot and it definitely doesn't get Texas hot, so that's a good thing. It really depends how much electricity your wall outlets can take. Like, at some point, we built it so big it goes over 15 amp.
So we can probably stack about three of these together, then we got to start cutting down on the power of the bulbs, but the next iteration, I see us as, like we need to do some testing. We don't- we don't have a meter and that's why we're here with the VA. There's no other place that- that can invest in things like this, because they have a clean mission to help people and it's not really the economics or different things, it's really academic oriented and- and playful, and just like, "Hey, let- let's try it out, let's see if it helps."
So I see us getting a UBC meter, doing some more swab testing besides swapping my flip flops and trying to kill COVID that way. So I... I see it moving into the ER, frequently used items that are hard to clean and you know, so after VR, I'm just rambling now. So yeah.
Do you have another question? Kathryn Beckner: I do, Kevin. First... Oh, sorry, Indra.
I want to say... Indra Sandal: No, no. Go ahead. Go ahead, [inaudible 00:17:25]. [laughs] Kathryn Beckner: Great. That was- that was one of your best.
That was awesome. Quick question. You mentioned that now you're refining with Minneapolis, there's a nurse, a VR nurse name Kaitlin. I know that she's in Asheville. You're doing stuff in Texas. How are you meeting all of these people within the VA? Kevin Patel: I guess people just...
Like, we just build things and somehow, it's just all came together. I think COVID was a great connector because... And Zoom, you know? So I mean, we build stuff quickly. HermTac comes from innovation and speed.
We actually just build and make the MVP's within a week, and I think that raises some questions. We do another project like every week, every month, just knock it out. Right? I think we have four or five stuff going on with the VA now.
Frank: Great work, great work. We're out of time but thanks for- thanks for the presentation. Let's, again, stay with the- with the them, the COVID-19 Maker Challenge and- and go to Hazel Mann. She's here to talk to us about Volynt. Hazel Mann: Thanks, Frank. Hi, everyone.
My name is Hazel, I'm with Volynt and we're saving workforce lives from COVID using affordable AI powered biosensors. So this all started because I had a friend, John, and he was really stuck between a rock and a hard place for a recuperative [inaudible 00:18:56] nonprofit working for low income patients that were recovering from COVID, and they were really overwhelmed with the cost of resources and needed to stay complaint with all the new regulations. His employees were working in fear of being infected and visitors had to go through a really intense screening experience every time they entered the [inaudible 00:19:13]. So basically, everyone was struggling and no one was happy, so my team of PhD's and AI scientists decided to take a privacy first approach. So what we found was a 10 do- dol- million dollar opportunity in a massively underserved enterprise market to prevent the spread of COVID with a more comprehensive platform that acts like a smoke alarm for infectious disease.
So unlike other expensive solutions that are just out of reach for your average business owner, we wanted to make an affordable and privacy first system that avoided facial recognition and location tracking and to give real-time alerts on symptom risk. So our modular system is made up of four main components. So we hacked [inaudible 00:19:57] and increased the accuracy with AI by over 99%. And so we... This is an example where the camera cores... These are our prototypes that we've done so far, and then these are the wearables that we're importing from the EU, so these FDA EU approved.
So we... The wearables track pulse, oxidation, heart rate and core body temperature on a clinical level, and then we have a mobile based symptom tracker that grades risk based off personalized based [inaudible 00:20:27] using machine learning in order to coordinate schedules for backups if they get sick. So the way it works is usually, users really...
So we [inaudible 00:20:35] that- that looks this and it's really to fill out. It only takes 40 seconds to do everyday and then once they submit, they get scored and cleared and issued a pass for work. So they take this QR code and then they go to the kiosk at work and it scans their temperature, and it can tell whether you're wearing PPE or not and it logs your temperature to that. It can also tell if they're not wearing PPE and logs that to the analytics as well. So we developed this AI in the last four months and we've had significant traction. We launched two pilots, one of them with one of the advisors from our competition for symptom check with VA, so that was really great.
Right now, our AI is within FDA requirements, we're reaching FDA accuracy in less than two months and we've secured two contracts to import the clinical grade wearables from manufacturers in the EU. So our secret sauce is we have a patent pending AI system that reduces hardware costs while protecting privacy, so we pass on those savings to our customers, and in the next year, we're developing deep tech AI for asymptomatic infection screenings all via mobile. So we have a B2B SaaS model and we're selling all the hardware at or close to cost and primarily monetizing through the software, and our plan is to make the system immediately available to frontlines and high risk populations like [inaudible 00:21:51] care, and we plan to release to central workplaces next and expand to school early next year.
So now is the perfect time for us to launch. There's [inaudible 00:22:00], we don't need FDA approvals since we've been screened, it's not diagnostics, and we're raising three million to fund the engineering hardware and looking for customers and partners to help us gather and train our AI for [inaudible 00:22:10]. Thank you.
Frank: Great job, Hazel. That's staying on the preventative innovations theme that- that's been often discussed here this week. All right. Let's turn it over to our panel for some questions.
Indra Sandal: Hi. Thank you, Hazel. It was really presentation. I think I also, I remember seeing your presentation in the Innovator's Network, as you presented there. But tell us little bit about how different is your product from what is at level in the market or is it the aggregation of all different products which is at level in the market? Hazel Mann: Yeah, yeah. So really great question.
So we have a really modular approach to this. So we consider ourselves a data company, not a hardware company. So really actually hardware agnostic is the AI that we train comprehensively end to end on the entire system.
So the problem with most systems today is they only offer one piece of the problem. Either the mobile part or the wearable part or the kiosk part, and all that data never talks to each other. So you have a really fragmented view of risk in your organization. Because my background is in data science and property technology, making all those things talk together is really important in order to identify risk as early as possible. And so our AI is trained and- in- off of what's considered personalized baseline stats for every individual. So for example, most of these will- will discriminate against people with dark skin or females, because if you're pregnant, post-menopausal, your temperature is going to be very different and you'll always red flag.
Also if you're darker skinned, Apple Watch, Fitbit, they use a technology that doesn't read well with people with darker skin. And so these things are not taken into consideration. Facial recognitions, you've got thermal cameras and that discriminates and it's proven against people with darker skin as well. So our whole system is made to be neutral and high accuracy and to- in order to protect that privacy and have the best read of risk possible for each individual. Indra Sandal: Thank you, Hazel.
Hazel Mann: Thanks, Indra. Brynn Cole: So Hazel, I'm curious. You know, you're... It- you- it sounds like you have a lot of ahead of you.
So what are- what are the next steps for your solution? Hazel Mann: Yeah. So we're- for our next steps we're actually going into production for- for the kiosk. So it's very light assembly. It's basically that tablet I showed you, like literally, and then we have a thermal camera, you just- you plug into it and it scans. So we wanted to make it as portable as possible.
So we're planning to go into production with that. Our app well, it's mobile based, but everyone said they don't want another app and they don't want their boss spying on their phone, so it's a text based mobile solution. So that's ready to go within the next month. So we're really seeking funding to get the integration with the wearables that that need to be to, and so we really need help on the pilot and the funding and the research side.
So we'd love to meet folks who are interested in- in doing more prevention measures in those areas. Brynn Cole: Beautiful. And for folks who are interested in following up with you, where can they do? Hazel Mann: Oh you- they can follow up with me at info at Volynt dot com, and just email me there and we'd be happy to- to reach out and talk to you.
[crosstalk 00:25:21] Brynn Cole: Wonderful. Frank: Great. All right. Well, thank you, Hazel.
Hazel Mann: Thank you. Frank: Keep it up. We're going to bring Kevin Patel back.
He was pulling double duty on the COVID-19 Maker Challenges. This time, he's going to talk to us about the rural in-home telehealth case. Kevin, back to you. Kevin Patel: Hi, it's Kevin again. From HermTac.
So we came back to Challenge America and get this whole thing again. We've reintroduced it in the third round. We were trying to fight like the triage in the field, COVID cases for nurses, so they didn't have to bring sick people in. Well, we didn't win it because Hazel won it, but we pivoted, turned it back in, we saw it'd be really good for in-home healthcare in round four, and we quickly... I- I got really sad. Like I didn't want to make cases, I thought they- like this is simple, there's nothing cool about this, but the more I dug into the problem about how we have like five million rural vets and like a third of them don't have internet and we have all these soldiers being left behind in their homes in like the telecom capital of the world.
I got really kind of invested emotionally. And so what we did is we- there was nothing in the market. We started vacuum forming trays. So we didn't have phones, so they actually could be sanitized against pathogens in the first place. Then, we put antennas in them, so that they're like 20 bucks, and now they get internet. Like we banded the whole...
We don't need satellites and all this stuff, we literally just need better antennas than the small built-in ones in our iPads and iPhones. Like we just need a $10 high gain antenna and now everyone in rural areas has internet. And we [inaudible 00:27:25] for blood pressure, pulse ox, temperature and like heart murmurs, so a stethoscope, so that they don't have to come in. I don't know why we have...
It- it's a really expensive cost for the VA to... It's over a couple thousand dollars to bring them in, just to take their vitals and risk their health being around other sick people and jamming up the ER's. So we tried to make it with self-administrable basic vital devices and get that internet out to them so that the VA has a foothold with that veteran which they can then involve in the future into other biomedical devices and tracking and forward care and preventative care, where- where you really get to them before problem is, you know, taking too large of a whole.
We're looking to partner this out in Pittsburgh with Dr. Handler, and hopefully we can take this system cost that's a 20th of the cost and the current solution is about as cocks as you can get, and works in all those places with our hospice nurses, where they don't get signal for 10 miles out there. We threw them out there and they work.
So we're going to see what we can do with them. Frank: Thanks, Kevin. Sounds like you need a raise if you're asking me.
But, [crosstalk 00:29:02] Kevin Patel: We get paid. Frank: [laughs] Let's turn it over to our panel. [crosstalk 00:29:06] For some questions. No questions? [crosstalk 00:29:13] Kathryn Beckner: Yeah, it's me again, Kathryn, hey. Great job on this, and it's something that I think, you know, is applicable all over, especially here in rural parts of Virginia. I'm curious, you know, do you guys have a- a span that that antenna, you know, reaches? I know you've said miles.
Has it been tested and- and what do you see for that range being the max capacity? Kevin Patel: I don't know. We haven't found a place where it doesn't work with at least three or five gigs yet. We just keep sending out to all the [inaudible 00:29:50] country towns that no one's every heard of with hospice nurses, and we track it in their cars and see if they ever lose connection. We just haven't found it yet.
But you know. It- it's... We don't have fancy testing, but... Kathryn Beckner: And is the concept that providers would take this out to the rural patient or is it something that may be sent to them so they can use it independently or what's your future vision? [crosstalk 00:30:18] Kevin Patel: No. I mean, for your geriatric or elderly, like it'd probably be a warm handoff, you know? But if you- you got a young veteran that's like, 20 years old, dude, you can hand him an iPad.
He'll be fine. Kathryn Beckner: [laughs] You're right. Okay. Kevin Patel: You can just UPS it.
Brynn Cole: So Kevin help help explain what- what the antenna pulls from. Is it looking for cell signal? Is it... What... How is it accessing the network? Kevin Patel: This...
The same... Well, we put just a more industrial router in there and it uses [inaudible 00:30:59]. Well, here, I don't want it... We kind of network bond right now, AT&T, the first responder network, AT&T mobile and Verizon. Like the- we do all the internets and all the LT's, right? And then it's kind of like having a megaphone up to your ear.
That's all it is. Like where you are getting a weak signal, now you can hear clearly. It's just turning up the game. They're like four decibel antennas, and we're telecom engineers from the telecom valley, so... It- it gets real techie, but it works. Brynn Cole: That's awesome.
So I live in incredibly rural Vermont and we have massive patches where there are no signals for anything and I would love to do a little test with you. [laughs] Kevin Patel: [laughs] Yeah. No, I can send one out, is maybe if seed and contracting went a little faster, hint hint.
Like... [laughs] Indra Sandal: I have one quick question, Kevin, because we have very less time left. So do you think this will work really good with the home based care, which is already established in there? Kevin Patel: Yeah. It- it's used in the VA Connect. They're all FDA certified and integrated through it.
Right? But it just works better. You can't just throw an iPad out there with a weak antenna. This is the whole system. Like the VA has every individual part. They have devices, they have contracts with Verizon and telecom equipment, and now a deal with Apple and iPads.
They just don't have a whole system. Like someone has to put it together. Indra Sandal: Thank you. Frank: Great.
Great- great job, Kevin. Kevin Patel: Thank you. Frank: Keep it up. All right, let's take it for our last of the COVID-19 Maker Challenge presenters and take it to Stephen Carr, who's going to talk to us about the Pandemmy Vent 800. Stephen, welcome. Stephen Carr: As part of the COVID-19 Maker Challenge, we created the Pandemmy Vent 800.
The team consist of engineers, healthcare providers, and artists from Dallas VA, Cleveland Clinic and HermTac. During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, ventilator manufacturers could not meet their demand from the proprietary sensors. Even large healthcare systems struggled to have enough ventilators on hand, and have borrowed from hospitals in other states that were least affected by the pandemic. Most agencies do not have the funds to stockpile 20 to $30,000 ventilators.
The need to have an affordable device in reserve is imperative. With the entire world in crisis, the Vent team answered the call by building a low-cost ventilator that hospitals can afford to stockpile. They worked to identify core ventilator features by reviewing similar devices in the market and worked on improvements based on end user feedback.
A touch screen that displays the vent settings was produced to resemble existing products, reducing the burden of training on end users. The supply chain failure of the in demand centers forced the engineers to design low-cost sensors based on available commodity hardware. An internal battery was included to allow the vent to function for a period of time without external power.
The design was conceptualized and a prototype was built. With each test of the product, failures were eliminated and the end users feedback was incorporated. The prototype was tested at the Dallas VA Biomed Lab, to validate the functions we set out to include.
The final design resulted in an easily transportable ventilator costing about $300, composed of readily available hardware, utilizing typical manufacturing capabilities, weighing about 15 pounds and that can be attached to a standard hospital IV pole or ambulance cot. This solutions ensures healthcare providers will not be placed in an ethic dilemma of making life and death decisions due to the lack of ventilators. This ventilator has potential to benefit the people around the world with regards to this pandemic and other mass casualties. We ask for your support of any kind to help us with this project to take it to the next level.
Thank you for this great opportunity to share our vision. Speaker 12: I'm going to ask, is it in action? How was that? Frank: Looks good. Yeah, it's amazing. I think it's a good reminder for everybody who may not know much about Channel [inaudible 00:35:29]. I know Dallas spoke about it yesterday, but you know, these are two- two day events, sprint events, and the fact that, you know, something like this could be created, at least, in a- in a base form in two days is incredible, and then obviously a lot of follow up to go with it.
So I commend you for- for seeing it through. Very nice job, Stephen. Let's take it over to our panel, see if they have any questions for you. Brynn Cole: So some of you may not know, but Frank is a biomedical engineer and I feel like Frank is best positioned to ask questions, because Stephen, this is truly remarkable, I have to say. [laughs] I am curious a bit about your team.
So you all were the- the most recent winning team. So tell us a little bit about the event, what brought you there and how you see you know, moving forward in this space? Stephen Carr: This is the, what? The fourth event, I believe, that HermTac was involved in. Brynn Cole: Oh. My goodness. Stephen Carr: So we've been working with the VA on several products. This was our choice for the pandemic challenge.
[crosstalk 00:36:39] yeah. It's- that's how we got involved in this- this particular event. Brynn Cole: Amazing. You all have been busy.
Indra, Kathryn? Indra Sandal: Yeah. Oh, okay. So I had a quick question. I was like looking your presentation and tell us a little bit how the single operator is going to monitor all those on multiple patients at the same time? Stephen Carr: So each system is based on a- a Raspberry Pi touch screen interface, and then has a wifi [inaudible 00:37:17].
We have the ability to broadcast out the data stream coming from the centers to a centralized nurse's monitoring station that can be configured to listen to multiple devices and present scaled versions of the interface for a central nurse to- to look at, and they can choose any one of the smaller subsets of data to see an expanded view of an particular patient. It's a read only interface that doesn't allow any modifications to them later, but it does give you the ability to have one station and have a good clean view of each patient. Indra Sandal: Interesting.
Thank you. Kathryn Beckner: Thanks so much, Stephen. I'm wondering, what are your- what are you thinking as the timeframe for your next steps with your group? What do you see as the next immediate goal? Stephen Carr: Further refinements, right now. We're- we're constantly evolving it, trying to make it easier to use as well as more reliable. A- again, we're- we're...
We're new to this part of stuff. You know, this is- this is all new to a lot of us here, but we're trying to do it as best as we can. So yeah, the next step is to evolve it a bit more and then try and do an- a- a scaled up step for manufacturing failure mode analysis. Frank: Great.
Great job. I think you had- had some great questions, panel. You didn't need me there.
Thanks, Stephen. We're going to go to the very great state of Ohio, if I may so myself, down to the Cincinnati VA Medical Center and listen to Terri Ohlinger speak to us about Drop Ease. Terry, over to you. Terri Ohlinger: Hi.
Have you ever had a patient labeled as non-compliant? Well, I have. And it almost cost him his eyesight. I asked him why he wasn't using his eye drop regimen, and he simply stated he can't squeeze the bottle. I knew I had to do something at that time. Hi, I'm Terri Ohlinger and I'm the nurse case manager for eye surgery at the Cincinnati VA, and this is Drop Ease.
Drop Ease is a simple, easy to use eye drop delivery system designed for those with reduced or limited manual dexterity, due to conditions such as ALS, rheumatoid arthritis, or generalized weakness due to aging. As an eye case manager, I've noticed there are patients that have needed frequent reorders for their eye drops because they squeeze too hard, miss their eye and use too much product for one dose, which leads to increased costs and frequent reorders. Then there are patients who give up because they can't squeeze at all, leading to poor outcomes, impaired vision and low self esteem. So I went to the internet looking for a product that might work for them, and there was nothing out there that did everything. So I started making some sketches and came up with an idea that I thought might work but nowhere to go with it. And it was at that time that I got an email from Lindsay Riegler, my local innovation specialist, requesting ideas just like mine.
So I applied for it and was awarded investment dollars for the Innovator's Network, which led me to collaborate with the engineering students at the University of Cincinnati, who brought my design to life. Utilizing human center design principles, we demoed the first prototype, giving veteran volunteers the opportunity to try Drop Ease, providing feedback through interviews and survey. While our current prototype is patent pending, we had hoped to take it a step further and make the prototype interchangeable for all size bottles, but experienced delays due to COVID.
In the future, we look forward to seeing widespread testing and feedback. Drop Ease is a squirt gun-like dispenser, that no matter how hard or weak you squeeze, it only dispenses one drop and it'll help the patient aim and stabilize the dropper, meeting all the patient's needs, improving outcomes, decreasing costs, and improving self esteem. You just insert the eye dropper, put it to the eye and squeeze.
Drop Ease, it's that easy. Thank you. Frank: Great presentation, Terri. Well done. Let's take it over to our panel for any questions they have. Kathryn Beckner: Great job, Terri.
I feel like that- that last sentence was such a great commercial for this product. It's a really useful product, especially for those folks with decreased hand function. I'm curious, you know have you gotten feedback from occupational therapists or certified hand therapists? The people who also work with you know, veterans with decreased hand function and what has their feedback been or what has the veteran feedback been? Terri Ohlinger: I have not spoken to any therapists but that is a good idea and something I will think about in the future. But the veterans have all been extremely excited about it. They've asked if I could, all of them have asked if I could just give them my prototype to use and I'm just like, "I've only got one, so I can't give it to you." but, are all, I've even had staff members, who have parents who do eye drops, and pa- and pa- pa...
Other staff members who actually use eye drops themselves, asking when it's going to be out. Brynn Cole: So Terri, I have to say, great pitch. You have learned well, you've been well supported by Lindsay and the Innovator's Network as a whole. So tell everybody a little bit about your experience with Spark Investments and what's going to happen for Drop Ease in the year to come.
Terri Ohlinger: Well, in the year to come we are working to contract with with an industrial design engineer, so that we can manufacture a couple of these that hopefully will be able to support several different sized bottles. And then we can take those and do a small scale testing again, that would make it a manufacturer- manufacturable product, and hopefully do do another test with that and have our finalized prototype. So I'm very excited about that. Indra Sandal: I had a question, Terri. You are so perfect in the pitch. I think so in one or two years, you are ready for the Shark Tank.
It was a pitch which can be like bid by several sharks. So like, it was amazing, amazing the way you presented. So a quick question that how much cost you are thinking of, like one piece? Terri Ohlinger: When I spoke to the to the students and we talked about it, it right now because this was a 3D model, or printed from a 3D printer, and when it was printed, it it retailed or cost them about 10 less than $8.
But again, that was a printed version of it. I'm hoping that we should be able to make it for less than $10 each. But I haven't, again, talked to an industrial engineer to actually give me specs on the cost, because it's just two pieces, actually, of... It would just be two pieces of plastic that come together with screws, and it's just the little rack and pinion piece in here that just moves the lever, that just simply squeezes the bottle, just like a squirt gun. It's not a lot of pieces on the inside. Indra Sandal: Thank you.
Terri Ohlinger: Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Frank: Great. Well, thanks a lot, Terri. The future's bright for that for sure. Terri Ohlinger: Thank you. Frank: Thanks.
All right, we're going to stay in Cincinnati with Mizer Gooli, at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center, and he's going to present mobile simulation cart. Mizer, over to you. Mizer: Thank you so much, I appreciate that.
On July 19th, a patient in the Cancin- Cincinnati VA emergency department didn't receive a procedure he needed to receive. The reason for this was there was no provider at the time who was comfortable to perform this procedure. Unfortunately, this same scenario's been playing out in VA's, in medical facilities all throughout the United States. One study found that up to 39% of graduating physi- physicians indicated a lack of comfort with performing certain bedside procedures unsupervised. As an educator, I believe not in practice until you don't make a mistake, rather I believe in practice until you never make a mistake. The VA endorses the same mentality and has spent over $50 million nationally on training devices designed to help perfect clinical skills.
Chief among them, procedural skills. So how is it possible that we spent so much money and still have a major issue in delivering proper patient care? The answer is simple. Space and labor.
These devices are underutilized because we take them and we store them behind locked doors in some far off, nonclinical storage space. Then, when they're finally requested, the labor required to set them up and break them down is prohibitively too high oftentimes. Introducing, the mobile simulation cart. This self-contained mobile practice station is- this device will allow these practice devices to be brought to the clinician or better yet, co-located with them wherever they happen to be.
And because it has both a training and a storage position, it requires no additional space to perform the training required to become a better practitioner. Applicable to all fields of medicine and nursing, this cart can be armed with the practice devices targeted the selected employee. In our early product testing phase, we sent this mock prototype to VA experts across the country, and they universally agreed that the final version of this product would be highly used, increase staff productivity, and increase the clinical volume of training occurring within their facilities. This upcoming year, we're working diligently with a local designing firm to bring the full sized version of this to life. Please stand by as we make this model of a cart become the model of better procedural training within the VA system. Thank you so much, and since I have 45 extra seconds, I want to thank the Innovation Network, and specifically, Lindsay Riegler because this and everything that- that- that's come from this wouldn't have been possible without her or the network th- themselves.
So thank you for that and 30 seconds to spare, I will relinquish my time. Frank: Thanks, Mizer. Great job.
I think this is a great example of the you know, start small, fail small mantra that the Innovator's Network has. I mean, we were talking, what? Last year, it's like you know, we were discussing this and- and you know, the idea that you have to build something out full size is, yeah, that's ideal, but you figured out a way to scale it down and man, you can ship that thing, you know, to people to get their feedback. So you know you- you really nailed it, I think, when it comes to a spark spark device related- related project, so great job.
Let's take it over to our panel for some questions. Brynn Cole: Yeah, I couldn't agree more with what Frank has said, Mizer. The way that you have developed your prototype and you know, really, truly integrated feedback into your design is- is remarkable. I'm curious a bit about like what are the components of the cart and what types of- of procedures could a clinician potentially be- be trained on? Mizer: Yeah. So that's an excellent question.
So the first part is what are the parts of the cart? So there's essentially a shelve unit, the procedure that goes on it, and then it goes into these different positions so that you can go into an active position. So like this would be the active position to then perform this procedure. Now, in healthcare, there's all these different professions.
There's medicine, there's surgery, there's nursing, there's occupational therapy, there's all the various therapies that exist, and each one of them has competencies that they have to show and prove. So for instance, one of the main uses that we think that we'll be able to use this for in the first year is we'll be able to set this up with various women's health procedural equipment. So like the breast exam and the pelvic exam, and we can go ahead and- and take this cart and roll this and take a provider who doesn't feel confident in women's health, and actually bring the things that would be necessary for them to become skilled in those procedures, so that by the time that we're done and we walk away from a session, they'll be armed to take better care of their veteran- their veterans. So it really is any procedure. So nursing has competencies and the fact that we could bring this cart to a third shift employee, instead of the third shift employee having to truck their way to wherever the devices exist to show their competencies during orientation and training, I think it goes so far as to not only create a better experience for the veteran and the- and the employee, but it actually goes so far as to show the employee that we care about them, that we're willing to accommodate them and bring the devices that we oftentimes expect them to come back.
We'll bring it to their lap, and we can leave it with them. So it's- it really is the wide gamut of- of nursing, physicians and all the various associated health providers that we rely on everyday. Brynn Cole: I love it.
It really underscores the fact that access, you know, access to needed materials or to, you know, whatever it is that we're discussing, isn't just for patients. It's very, very critical that our staff have access to what they need. So is it appropriate to say that it's kind of like the Bowflex of clinical training devices? Mizer: Yeah.
Brynn Cole: Because it looks like it could kind of do it all. [laughs] Mizer: Yeah, it- think of it like the Bowflex but without the cable. So you bring the cables, we'll bring the Bowflex machine. That's exactly the way to think about it.
So yeah, we're- we're really excited and I think that the whole thing came to be because the VA has really good intentions about making sure that good healthcare gets delivered, but we're- we're limited based on labor and we're limited based on space, and so the idea to solve those problems was really the heart of this- of this design. Brynn Cole: Wonderful. Thank you. Frank: Great.
Mizer: Thank you guys so much. Frank: Great job. All right. We're going to keep it in the buckeye state, I sense a theme here, and go to the Chillicothe VA Medical Center and have Beth [inaudible 00:51:34] speak to us about aromatherapy to- to decrease the burden of PRN medications. Beth? Beth: Hi, thanks, Frank.
So most people over the age of 65 are actually on multiple medications. Many times, more medications are prescribed to treat side effects of the first medications. When first starting the aromatherapy program at the Chillicothe VA, veterans on the communicate- community living centers were on an average of 15 to 20 medications with multiple PRN medications prescribed. PRN medications are also known as as-needed medications. I personally had a length background with aromatherapy and it's effects, so we decided to implement it in longterm care. Aromatherapy is a non-pharmacological approach to promote overall health and wellbeing.
The initial pilot took place in 2018. As a result of the pilot, we soon realized using aromatherapy to its full potential can support the bodies and need- innate healing mechanisms as well as offer relief for pain, anxiety, sleep, appetite issues, and relaxation. It can also lead to reduction in the use of as-needed medications. For example, when a veteran has difficulty sleeping, instead of going straight to that sleeping medication like Trazodone, we would start them on aromatherapy that gave them a calming effect and helped them fall asleep.
We did see a few scheduled medications decrease over the pilot, however, the majority of decreases that we noticed were among the as-needed medications. Recently, I received an email from a physician. She is now offering aromatherapy to her patients. She told me an elder- elderly veteran, who had been on Ativan for anxiety at bedtime, stopped taking his PRN as-needed Ativan.
He had been on Ativan many years and told her he didn't think he needed it anymore. He also he liked that the aromatherapy didn't give him any side effects. Two barriers have presented themselves earlier, with implementation was the cost of certification as well as the consistency of education programs. Many of the external programs focused on personal use and did not have enough information.
These programs were costing us $1500 to 2000 per person to get our people certified in aromatherapy so that they could offer it to the veterans. So I took it on myself to create a aromatherapy program and packaged it up and sent it off to National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy. This program was accredited in- in January, and since that time, I've worked with National EES to get continuing education hours assigned for nurses, doctors, psychologists, pharmacists and more.
Since receiving the accreditation, we've been able to teach certification courses to over 70 staff at 10 different VA medical centers across six [inaudible 00:54:36]. Many staff have reported that they love class, learned so much and are so excited to use it with their veterans. This program not only enabled Chillicothe to spread it throughout all of their areas, all of their care lines, but we've also enabled other VA's to implement a robust aromatherapy program in places like longterm care, whole health clinics, pain clinics, and even a drive-through where veterans can come in to get their aromatherapy. Over 100 veterans across this quarter had aromatherapy initiated. I frequently get calls from other facilities wanting to bring the aromatherapy program to their veterans. A ph- a physician I recently had an email from told me about a- and I think time's up.
Frank: Yeah. Thanks. Thanks, Beth. Maybe we can take some time answer some questions here, if- if you can get to that last point. Turn it over to our panelists.
Any questions? Indra Sandal: Yes. I'm- sorry. [crosstalk 00:55:52] I was mute. [laughs] Sorry about that.
Thank you, Beth. Because you are so big and [inaudible 00:55:58] aromatherapy, you must love it but inside beside the application in the older patient what about th- those with like mental health or somewhere where you have like a not that older patient? How you can see the aromatherapy in those services? Another question is that is it integrated with the whole health system at this time in the hospital? Beth: Okay. So first question I actually recently had a psychologist who was certified in rom- aromatherapy reach out to me. She had been making it for some of her younger veterans that have PTSD and difficulty sleeping.
One of her patients said that he was able to ween off of his PRN's for sleep and rely only on his aromatherapy. He's been very happy and excited about the aromatherapy and has requested to try it for other needs that he has. She has also used it in decreasing smoking with veterans in the younger population as well, and she's been making them inhalers, and when they utilize the inhalers, they've actually been reporting back to her that they've had a reduced a reduction in the amount of cravings that they've had. So there's a couple cases right there from mental health, from one of our mental- acute mental health psychologists. She also works with PR- PRTP program, the inpatient mental health program or long stay, I'm sorry, and some of those smoking cessation ones were from that group as well.
So it started in geriatrics but it's come- it's spread throughout all different ages. As far as whole health, we actually have integrated it in different whole health programs at different VA's and it does count as a whole health contact. So it does count towards those contacts to increase their reimbursement. I've actually given sites guidance on how to build their clinics to appropriately capture as well as have spoke to some national [inaudible 00:57:53] whole health calls and have put some different guidance out on the national whole health page that's got a toolkit for aromatherapy.
Indra Sandal: Thank you, Beth. Beth: Thank you, Indra. Kathryn Beckner: Wow, this is a great- great program, Beth.
Curious, are- are people using it at your facility for both inpatients and outpatients? And is there one aroma that people just really prefer? Beth: There really isn't as far as one aroma that they prefer, but in Chillicothe, they are using it for inpatient and outpatient. It started in the CLC's but then it really took off in home-based primary care and w- after implementation, within just a couple of months, over 50% of those veterans were utilizing it in home-based primary care. We're also seeing it utilized out of the pain clinic in Chillicothe. And then there's a couple of other facilities that are implementing it in outpatient settings as well. So there has been some of the struggles that we have and some of the needs going forward is trying to figure out, you know, how to easily refill these things.
People get their aromatherapy and they want more. So currently, they just come back to the people that issued to them. They'll add a comment to the con- the original consult, because everybody that is issuing it is an aromatherapist. They are certified in clinical aromatherapy.
And so they'll add a note to the consult that the person sought back in and then they reissued it to them. Kathryn Beckner: Thanks so much. Beth: No problem.
Brynn Cole: I had so much that I wanted to ask you about the drive-through aromatherapy, because that is new, but we are at a time. Beth: Brand new. [laughs] Brynn Cole: Yeah, yeah.
So anybody else who's interested get in touch with Beth in the demos tab. That's awesome, Beth. Beth: Thank you. Frank: Thanks, Beth. Beth: Thanks, Frank.
Frank: All right, moving right along here. We have one more from Chillicothe VA Medical Center, Matt Cox, he's going to talk to us about the ever popular Bike Share program. Matt.
Matt Cox: All right, thank you. Bike Share program saw great success for fiscal year 20. To include winning the tanked award for the best innovation brought back to life from one that had failed. Well, we continue to have our problem today.
How do we encourage and increase veteran, employee and community activity as well as mental stability? Veterans that live or come to visit our facility have nothing to do activity wise, except for going to our gym, which the gym is only open certain hours, if it's even open, because it's closed right now due to COVID. Our employees continue to sit inside their office or don't want to go out, so they call a shuttle to take them from building to building. So how do we help? Our idea of supplying bicycles was extremely helpful this year for fiscal year 20. Well, what about the bad weather days? What about the pandemic when we can't go outside? Smart trainers would allow a veteran or an employee to stay inside and ride a bicycle that we would connect to a stationary, that is then linked to a laptop. The stationary would allow a rider to ride through scenic areas, such as mountains, deserts or even roads that you know that is connected to Google Maps.
You can compete against one another if you have multiple stationaries, and this also allows us, the Bike Share, to keep track of their stats and the activity that I used on the bikes. The only requirement is for a wifi signal and Bluetooth, so that the stationary can hook up to the laptop. As a sparker [inaudible 01:01:31] for fiscal year 20, we were able to put disabled veterans onto bicycles. We were able to get employees and veterans another mode of transportation on our campus, and we added exercise to their lives. With a seed for fiscal year 21, we would be able to keep the program going year round and through the weather, and not just in the summer.
This also allows veterans and our employees who are afraid to ride outside and have people see them, the ability to ride indoors, so that others could- do not have to see them riding. At this time, we do have one employee that is testing out this equipment, and we tested him for 30 days. Day one, he was able to ride for three minutes nonstop, or three miles for nonstop. Now, day 30, he was able to do 15 miles nonstop before he had to stop.
This shows that this program is working. Thank you. Frank: Great job, Matt. Like I said, I know it's a- it's a popular program and you've you've come a long way with it.
Matt Cox: Yeah. Frank: Let's turn it over to our panel for- for some questions. Brynn Cole: Matt, I got to say, I do, I love this project the- the way that you re-envisioned the previous resources that were given to Chillicothe was really beautiful last year. I'm wondering if you can speak a bit about the sort of nuances of your campus itself and how environment really plays into sort of driving innovative ways of- of looking at things? Matt Cox: Yeah. So we are very rural area. We have the buildings are spread out a lot.
We have wide open space, it has a golf course and a lot of the programs that we have here at the VA, they have to walk clear to the other side of campus, which might be a half mile to a mile in distance. We have the ability as well, we have shuttles but it's hard to get ahold of one shuttle or different things. So with us being able to supply the bicycles and now we are a no smoke facility, we have taken over the smoke shacks as well, and we have now what we call them, bike shacks. So we are slowly moving around the campus to allow the veterans to community members to come in. Our community is very well into this program.
We've- we've been donated a lot of bikes and they have got with me, we've been able to create a program that takes veterans out into the community to different memorial highways as well. We have four memorial highways in Chillicothe and last year, it brought over 200 riders to our campus, and we were able to take the community out to those areas. Just today, it's pouring down rain here, and I had three veterans come for bikes because this weekend, they want to ride. Even with the cold weather, they want to keep this program going.
Kathryn Beckner: Awesome to hear you're so passionate about this, Matt. I'm wondering with other people being so interested and invested, does it ever get competitive with who's ridden more miles or- or the stats? Matt Cox: We- we had a big group last year. Last year, we were able to do guided bike rides every Wednesday. This year, we were not because COVID, but we had two or three guys that and- and a woman, that was racing against each other every Wednesday to see, we- we used an app called Strava, and they would compete to see who could get the most mileage in a week, and honestly, it was amazing to see three inpatients average over 100 miles a week, and it just shows that these guys and gals love it. I mean, they're- they're all about it, and we actually have one veteran we're waiting on a hand cycle to come that is dedicating himself to taking that next year to the wheelchair games.
Kathryn Beckner: Awesome. Thank you. Frank: Great. We're about at the time, but thanks, thanks again, Matt. Great job.
[crosstalk 01:05:35] All right, moving right along here. Next we have Alyssa Welch from the Central Arkansas Veteran's Healthcare System. She's going to be talking to us about the engagement solutions in the community living center.
Alyssa, welcome. Alyssa Welch: Hi. Okay. I can't see myself but hopefully, you can hear me. There we go.
It was on and someone turned it off. Host stopped it. Kathryn Beckner: There's- usually, you're the one.
[laughs] I was going to say, Alyssa, usually you are the one causing the trouble, so this is apt. Alyssa Welch: [laughs] Yeah. I- I- I- I am. It says I cannot start my video because the host has stopped it. Kathryn Beckner: Well, my goodness. Do we have Caitlin here? Would you guys mind switching while we sort Alyssa out? Would that be okay? Frank: Yeah.
Should we... Alyssa Welch: All right. Kathryn Beckner: Yay. [crosstalk 01:07:09] Alyssa Welch: Woo. I am kind of a troublemaker, sorry about that.
It's just who I am. Kathryn Beckner: [laughs] Alyssa Welch: You know. So some of you guys have... Should I go ahead and get started, I guess, since I'm- I'm back on? Kathryn Beckner: Okay. Alyssa Welch: All right.
Okay. Sorry about all the trouble. I- I'm kind of known as troublemaker. I- I've been around the block a few times [inaudible 01:07:28] so I'm very please