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Top Tech Innovators Poised to Make Big Impact on Healthcare

Posted on March 28, 2013 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

I had the pleasure of attending my second Georgia Technology Summit earlier this month, an annual event presented by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) that brings together the state’s up and coming companies, offers established businesses great networking opportunities, and presents everyone with great insight from some really A-level keynoters. (My husband, a fan of philosophy, was extremely jealous that I got to attend an event featuring Ray Kurzweil.)

As with last year’s event, healthcare IT dominated many of the presentations and exhibitor presentations. During the summit, TAG offers the top 10 in its list of Top 40 Innovative Technology Companies a chance to present, and so I thought I’d highlight those in the top 10 poised to make a big impact on healthcare.

Buzzy4shots.com
As you can tell from the image above, Buzzy4shots had a fun booth that demonstrated the kid-friendliness of their product. They also had the most kid-friendly giveaway – bright yellow kazoos, which I quickly snatched up. According to their website, their product purports to provide natural injection pain relief via “gate control,” which “works by confusing the body’s own nerves and distracting attention away from the poke, thereby dulling or eliminating sharp pain from shots, itching or burning from medications.”

While I don’t think this product is going to gain quite the level of buzz that more consumer-friendly mobile health apps have attained, I think it’s got a great business model. There will always be a need for injections, and people will likely always have a fear of needles, so I predict Buzzy4shots.com will do well if they can market themselves to the right business partners.

Catavolt
It wasn’t until I saw their stage presentation that I realized Catavolt is making a play in the healthcare vertical. According to its website, the company’s flagship product, Catavolt Extender, is a “software service that connects to your existing enterprise systems, giving you secure access to all enterprise data anywhere at any time, through tablets, smartphones and desktops. Using an online control panel you can create, customize and manage mobile and web applications without any programming.”

A Catavolt rep talked me through some of the work the company is doing with the Defense Health Information Management System EHR (AHLTA) via its partnership with SAIC. You can read more on that here.

SoloHealth
This company seems to be Atlanta’s HIT darling at the moment. Bart Foster and his team are doing a great job of strategically marketing the company, and developing partnerships that position SoloHealth for even bigger impact. You may already know that the company “provides a free healthcare access point for consumers via its nationwide network of SoloHealth Stations that offer screenings for vision, blood pressure, weight and body mass index; a symptom checker; and an overall health assessment free of charge.

As more folks become accustomed to the idea that they will ultimately need to drive their own healthcare, consumer-friendly technologies like these kiosks will start popping up more and more. Foster announced on the GTS stage that its kiosks are already in 2,500 retail locations across the U.S., with another 1,500 likely by 2014.

AirWatch
If you’re a CIO worried about BYOD, then you’ve likely had a conversation with or at least heard of AirWatch and its mobile device management solutions for healthcare. Their booth at HIMSS was hard to miss and always busy, reflecting the fact that their solutions – no matter what industry you’re in – are here to stay with good reason.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the other healthcare-related innovators within TAG’s Top 40:

Bridging the Gap Between HIT Education and Workforce Development

Posted on February 29, 2012 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

I came across a recent article about an initiative between the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the US Dept. of Labor to “train students at community and technical colleges for health IT jobs at hospitals and clinics in rural areas.”

The struggle for rural healthcare facilities to find qualified candidates – in healthcare IT or otherwise – has been well-documented, as has the struggle that healthcare IT students face when it comes time to find a job. Prospective vendor employers typically require that job candidates have experience working with their systems, yet few make those systems available to academic institutions via internships or technology donations.

The rural health IT training program highlights specific objectives that I think would apply to health IT workforce development in any area:

  • Reach out to potential workers and employers to inform them about career pathways in health information management and technology
  • Support employers in educating potential health IT workers, which would include current staff that need training and newly recruited staff
  • Support employers in staffing health IT positions

This disconnect between academia, graduates and employers is one that I think all healthcare IT education programs are facing, no matter what area their students will eventually end up working in. Another of which I was recently made aware is the lack of communication between academic institutions and the employer community. There are several schools in my home state of Georgia that currently have HIT programs in place, but the surrounding business community is not aware some of them exist, and therefore completely overlook graduating classes full of job candidates.

The Technology Association of Georgia’s (TAG’s) Health Society is working with several area schools including Georgia Tech, Georgia Perimeter and Southern Polytechnic to help bridge this gap, and hopes to bring graduates and employers together at its HIT Job Fair on March 23rd.

In talking about the upcoming event with Deleise Lindsay, Founder and Principal of Well-Change Group and a member of TAG Health’s Board of Directors, she explained that not only do we need to make HIT job candidates and employers aware of each other, and ensure that graduates have proper training on software systems, but we must also equip them with the necessary professional skills that will make their transition into HIT that much quicker.

She highlighted three main challenges that academia and business currently face:

  • Building awareness of HIT job opportunities
  • Determining who is a viable candidate for these types of jobs – typically folks with clinical or IT backgrounds
  • Educating graduates on how to market themselves by equipping them with resume-building and networking skills

I’d love to hear from readers – job candidates, recent hires or employers – as to what you believe the secret to job hiring success is, and how you would recommend academia and employers work together to clear up this mystery.