In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

March 5, 2015

Because, Technology: What (and Who) Tomorrow’s Patients Will Be Wearing

By In the Loop

BodyGuardian805We here at In the Loop are hip to the latest tech and innovative inventions. (Sliced bread. Light bulbs. Don’t even get us started on the four-slice bagel toaster.) Which is why, when a recent Fast Company article on wearable technology highlighted one of Mayo Clinic’s very own technological innovations, we took notice.

Preventice BodyGuardian is not a fashion statement or simply the latest wearable technology fascination. According to Fast Company, the new FDA-approved device “leverages technology to either entirely replace or alleviate the need for a caregiver.” That may be a little dramatic, but the magazine offers some explanation. The folks at FastCo say that while ”human connection, emotional closeness and nurturing support continue to be priorities in the patient-caregiver relationship,” medical responsibilities can “drain the care provider” and take precedence simply because they are, well, medical.

This is where the BodyGuardian comes in. It automates important activities such as “biometric monitoring, emergency alerts and medication administration” so that caregivers can pay attention to the just-as-important emotional needs of the patient. (Not to mention interpreting results and coming up with treatment plans.) An early report about the device said “the designers at Mayo wanted to make sure patients didn’t become amateur doctors,” but would be able to track “what a doctor wants to order monitored,” allowing patients to feel “safer, healthier and more comfortable.”

The story of BodyGuardian is an example of the impact of the work of Mayo Clinic Ventures, the business development arm of Mayo Clinic. In 2009, entrepreneur John Otterstatter teamed with Mayo Clinic to develop the combined device-and-software system that would allow health care providers to monitor key biometrics while patients go about their daily activities. “We had the IT knowledge and Mayo had identified a clinical need and developed an enabling device and vision of remote care — it was a perfect intersection of technology and expertise,” Otterstatter says. And the rest is start-up history.

If this all gets you wondering, like we were, about more of Mayo Clinic’s innovations, take a peek at the Mayo Clinic Ventures website. There, you’ll learn that in 2014 alone, Mayo Clinic Ventures was involved in 20 startup companies. Since its inception, the venturers have been involved in 110 startups using Mayo intellectual property, have licensed and optioned 2,639 technologies, filed 5,575 patent applications, and issued 1,703 patents. (They’ve been busy.)

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Tags: Employee Stories, Innovation, Innovation, Mayo Clinic Ventures, Practice story, technology

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