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Emory hub aims to spur health care innovation

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By Emory University

Steve Gertz speaks to the dozens of business, government and civic leaders who attended the opening of the Emory Healthcare Innovation Hub’s 5G lab on Friday, Feb. 28.Gertz is co-founder and chief development officer of 11 Ten Innovation Partners, which is collaborating with Emory on the hub.

It was a doctor in France who made the discovery: Place a wooden tube on a patient’s chest and you’ll hear the heart more clearly. It seemed simple, but some medical associations back in 1816 were skeptical of the new gadget. 

More than another century passed before the modern stethoscope was developed in 1950 and its remained pretty much unchanged to this day.

Now, digital stethoscopes have emerged that are smaller, faster, better connected and — at the time of their launch — even cheaper than their analog counterparts.

So, why are so few doctors using them?

The slow evolution of the stethoscope — and the reluctance of some health care providers to embrace cutting-edge advances — underscores a problem. Health care has often been slow to harness the power of technology. To better serve patients and bring down soaring costs, the industry needs to move much faster, said the founders of the Emory Healthcare Innovation Hub.

James Lewis speaks to business and government leaders at the opening of the Emory Healthcare Innovation Hub’s 5G lab on Friday, Feb. 28. Lewis is CEO and co-founder of 11 Ten Innovation Partners, which is collaborating with Emory on the hub.

“It used to take centuries for one innovation to come to market,” said James Lewis

CEO and co-founder of 11Ten Innovation Partners, the firm that has partnered with Emory to develop the hub. 

“Now a myriad of new technology innovations are coming to market in months, or even weeks. The Emory Healthcare Innovation Hub creates a process to explore, develop and adapt to those innovations.”

On Friday, the hub opened its 5G innovation laboratory with Verizon. Officials said it’s the first 5G health care innovation lab in the world.

Among the dozens of business, health care and civic leaders on hand for the ribbon cutting were members of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the office of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. 

The lab houses the Emory Healthcare Innovation Hub, 11Ten Innovation Partners and other delivery partners. Together they create a unique and efficient ecosystem to drive innovative collaborations.  

The fast internet speeds of Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband will pave the way for developing life-saving advances like medical imaging and robotic-assisted surgery as well as augmented and virtual reality applications for medical training. 

With rural medical care suffering from a shortage of providers the hub will look at ways to improve telemedicine and monitor patients remotely. Work is also underway to seamlessly connect ambulances and emergency rooms.

Scott D. Boden, MD, speaks at the opening of the Emory Healthcare Innovation Hub’s 5G lab on Friday, Feb. 28. Boden is vice president business innovation at Emory Healthcare and director of the Emory Orthopedics and Spine Center.

Scott D. Boden, MD, vice president business innovation at Emory Healthcare and director of the Emory Orthopedics and Spine Center, said he’s surrounded by brain power.

“But it’s not enough to have a good idea,” Boden said. “This hub will provide a way to translate concepts into tested, validated inventions and then rapidly bring those lifesaving ideas to the patients and health care providers who need them.”

The hub is hoping to accelerate the pace of discovery.  Some innovation hubs create technology, software or devices and then look for where they might prove useful. The Emory hub turns that idea on its head with a demand-driven approach. By working directly with Emory Healthcare providers, it will identify needs and work with corporate partners to create solutions.

“We want to do a better job for patients in ways that increase value and decrease costs.” Boden said. 

For Emory, the hub allows them to be involved in innovations that could transform the industry.

“We want to be front and center in catalyzing innovation in health care,” Boden said. “When you think innovation, you think Emory.”

Andres Irlando, senior vice president at Verizon and president of Verizon Connect for the Verizon Business Group, said the Emory hub is the first 5G innovation hub dedicated solely to health care.

Andres Irlando, senior vice president at Verizon and president of Verizon Connect for the Verizon Business Group, said the company provided 5G at a handful of other innovation hubs around the nation but Emory’s is the first dedicated to health care.

Other corporate partners in the Emory Healthcare Innovation Hub are Cerner, Konica Minolta, Merck, Novo Nordisk, Philips, Sharecare and Stryker.

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