Message from the Managing Director

Vinit Nijhawan Managing Director

Vinit Nijhawan
Managing Director

Healthcare Information Technology (HealthIT) is about to make a major impact on healthcare delivery to patients, driven by the federal government and by entrepreneurs. As part of the stimulus package enacted in 2009, the Obama administration provided $19.2B in funding for HealthIT, including assistance to providers to install Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software. The entire impact of this funding is yet to be felt by patients. In the meantime academic researchers and entrepreneurs are bringing evidence based HealthIT solutions to market to improve patient care and satisfaction.

Digital health financing history

Some of the major advances in the HealthIT:

Nutrition & Fitness

  • Massive growth of wearable devices—21% of US consumers own a wearable device according to a PWC study in 2014. The Consumer Electronics Show in January 2015 was dominated by new wearable devices such as Apple’s Watch and HealthKit iPhone software hub.
  • Increased interest in eating better and, more importantly, matching individual nutritional needs of consumers with meal plans and eating habits.
  • BU Sargent College has the Sargent’s Choice meals in BU dining halls.
  • BU undergraduate students have developed the BU Food mobile app.

Personalized Healthcare

  • Using big data predictive analytics to support patient health such as:  clinical decision support; readmission prevention; adverse event avoidance; and, chronic disease management.
  • Projected growth in healthcare data from 500 to 25,000 petabytes 2012-2020 with patient data from wearables being an area of growth. Rock Health estimates close to $2B of venture capital investment has gone into healthcare data analytics companies in the past couple of years.
  • BU researcher, Brian Jack, has developed evidence-based ‘Project RED’, a patient discharge process to reduce readmissions and used by many hospitals.
  • BU researcher, Swathi Kiran, has launched an analytics driven software startup, named Constant Therapy, for stroke and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation, a platform with over 15,000 users.
  • Stem Cell Research and its commercialization potential is exploding following the discovery of iPS (Induced Pluripotent Stem) cells by Shinya Yamanaka in 2006
  • BU researchers at CReM (Center for Regenerative Medicine) used beating heart stem cells derived from patients’ skin cells to personalize drug therapy so children won’t receive ~100 electric shocks monthly to counter arrhythmia.

Genetic Screening

  • Using minimally invasive molecular diagnostic tests and genome sequencing to detect diseases and genetic anomalies
  • BU researcher, Avi Spira, has developed the BronchoGene lung cancer diagnostic test which is being marketed by Veracyte.
  • BU has licensed intellectual property to Sequenom for use in pre-natal DNA testing for genetic disorders such as Down’s Syndrome.

Global Population Health

  • Big data and Mobile Health (mHealth) are experiencing dramatic growth in emerging countries to address population health. According to PWC, worldwide mHealth revenue is expected to reach about US$23B with Europe and Asia-Pacific (APAC) at 30% market share each, followed by the developed markets of North America (USA and Canada) with 28% share. Latin America and Africa will comprise 7% and 5% share, respectively.
  • BU researcher Christopher Gill has developed a novel mobile app that captures biometric data of patients in the field by taking a photo of their ear.

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