Insights from industry

Medical Sensors Design Conference and Sensors Expo: Bunny Ellerin

Could you please give us bit of information about the background and history of the conference?

This is the second year of the event, but the first time it will be hosted on the west coast. We know that many technologies are having an impact on healthcare delivery and adherence; sensors in particular are of interest as they are embedded across applications and used in many different types of medical products. The industry at large is incredibly interested in learning more about them and how they're being used and deployed to deliver better healthcare.

As the head of the healthcare management program at Columbia Business School, which is a leading MBA program in the United States, I’m passionate about driving innovation forward which is why I was so excited to connect with the team at Questex to produce this unique event.

What audience does the conference reach?

Given of the nature of sensor technologies, and the domain expertise of Questex, there will be a number of engineering professionals at the event, from biomedical engineers to technical engineers and everyone in-between. And yet given the impact of this technology, we also reach entrepreneurs across both start-ups and more established companies, as well as business development executives, marketing professionals, clinicians – even people who are just interested in the topic for non-profit use. It's a fantastic cross-section of the industry. By co-locating the event with the larger Sensors Expo & Conference – which has been the preeminent event for sensor and sensor-related technologies for over 30 years – I think we'll have even more people join us this year.

Image credit: metamorworks/Shutterstock

What can exhibitors and attendees hope to get out of the conference?

This year we are featuring sessions on wearables, security and privacy, IoT (the Internet of Things) and digital medicines. We have tried to deliver a good cross-section of what's going on in the industry. When I think about healthcare, I think about it relative to The Triple Aim.

The Triple Aim is what we strive for in healthcare: to decrease cost, improve the patient experience and increase quality of care.  One of the parameters we used when setting the conference agenda was, "What are these particular companies doing to help healthcare move in the right direction? Are they making a difference on any of those objectives?”

As an example, David O'Reilly, the Chief Platform Officer of Proteus Digital Health, will give the keynote address. Proteus is the first company to receive FDA clearance for a digital medicine, a new category of drug that combines an ingestible sensor with an approved medication. Proteus worked with Otsuka to develop ABILITY MYCITE to offer better treatment options for patients living with severe mental illness. This is an incredibly exciting area because it will enable clinicians, patients and caregivers to get more data and analytics on how the drug is performing.

Digital medicines is a topic that will be discussed throughout the conference.  One of the biggest issues in health care is adherence. With digital medicines, you make it easier for patients to stick to their regimen without even thinking about it. So much of healthcare is truly about doing what you need to do and doing it every day. Just think about your own life and how hard that can be to do consistently!

A company in the space that’s doing this well is Propeller Health. Propeller has combined digital tools with inhalers to help patients better manage asthma and COPD. Their CTO, Greg Tracy, will be presenting, with a particular focus on how to make technology invisible to the patient so it’s not a burden to adhere to their daily regimen. When I think about the Triple Aim, Propeller is making a difference in all three areas. In fact, they recently closed on another $20 million in venture funding to expand into other therapeutic categories.

We also have academics from Berkeley and MIT as well as representatives from major companies, like Medtronic. Medtronic is doing important work in continuous glucose monitoring for the diabetes population and they’ve got some of the most advanced sensors out there. There are start-ups producing novel technologies like Byteflies, Bloomlife, GraftWorx, CloudCath, ASSESSx, MbientLab and Protxx. And we have a trio of legal experts to discuss security and privacy implications from Venable, a leading law firm.

Overall the agenda is a cross section of interesting ideas and trends shaping the future of the market.

For you, what does the medical sensors market look like right now and how do you see it changing in the future?

I think it's robust now, but it's only going to explode! It's really about technology that enables a better delivery of healthcare to the individual, and also a technology that enables providers and individuals to get more information about their own care.

Sensors enable a lot of passive monitoring that in turn delivers quality data. Information that’s real and actionable. In the very near future we will see this grow exponentially and it's going to be embedded in many kinds of products in the industry.

About Bunny Ellerin

Bunny Ellerin is the Director of the Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Management Program at Columbia Business School and the Conference Chair of the Medical Sensors Design Conference. She is also the co-founder and president of NYC Health Business Leaders.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

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