When Dr. YiDing Yu founded Twiage, a cloud-based platform using best-in-class security technology to bring telemedicine to doctors and physicians, she didn’t know where it would take her. With her co-founders, Crystal Law and John Rodley, she hoped to accelerate patient care at crucial moments – during heart attacks, strokes and other serious medical moments.
“Using a smartphone or Google Glass, first responders are able to provide hospitals with a complete picture of incoming patients through the platform,” she says. Then doctors and nurses at hospitals can see information about incoming patients on a central dashboard, helping hospitals to manage resources like cath labs, operating rooms, and hospital beds. Dr. Yu also hoped that the new technology would improve patient outcomes and reduce costs.
As with all new ideas, Yu and her co-founders had to first depend on their own confidence to keep at the development of the platform. But then, the team won the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) Committee on Information Technology (CIT) Award, a moment that YiDing says made a lot of difference.
The Massachusetts Medical Society’s CIT recognizes a medical student and a member of hospital house staff or training programs each year, funding projects that use technology to assist physicians in the practice of medicine, teaching medicine, or in the pursuit of clinical research. The MMS CIT promotes the effective use of information technology by physicians in order to improve the quality of care and help to put efficiency and joy back into the practice of medicine. Leon Barzin, Director of Health Information Technology at the MMS, says. “The MMS has awarded these cash prizes to students and residents every year since 2001, making this the 14th year of the awards. The purpose is to both support and showcase projects in a wide field of Health Information Technology.” Twiage fit this bill perfectly, and Yu won the award last year.
“We recognize some of the best and brightest ideas in information technology from some of the best and brightest young physicians and medical students in the Commonwealth,” says Richard Pieters, M.D., President of the Massachusetts Medical Society. “Dr. Yu’s Twiage program is a prime example, bringing efficiency to one of the most demanding areas of health care, emergency medicine. We applaud her initiative, and look forward to fostering more such innovative developments in the years ahead.”
Now, Twiage is live at one of the busiest emergency rooms in Boston. “It’s being used by parademics at three EMS companies,” Yu says. “We are also currently Global Finalists for Mass Challenge and are partnering with other hospitals in Boston to launch soon.”
Twiage is built to be both powerful and agile, because, Yu says, no two EMR agencies or emergency rooms are the same. As such, the platform is available on any web browser, on smartphones as a mobile app, and on Google Glass as a voice-activated system. Most importantly, Twiage has jumped through one of the biggest hoops in medical technology development: HIPPA compliance.
“Our real goal is to show that connecting first responders to hospitals saves lives for real patients,” Yu says, “and that’s why we built Twiage. Our preliminary data already suggests that Twiage is saving time for first responders, nurses and patients on arrival.”
Dr. Yu won last year’s award, but you could be next. To apply for the Massachusetts Medical Society’s CIT award, you must be a student, resident or fellow at the time of submission. You must also be enrolled in one of the four Massachusetts medical schools or working at a Massachusetts hospital or training program.
Full applications are due on October 26, 2014. Semifinalists in both categories – medical student, and hospital house staff/ training – will present in Waltham in December 2014. To apply, visit MassMed.org.
Jenni Whalen is the Executive Assistant of Editorial at Upworthy. She was previously MedTech Boston's Managing Editor and has an MS in Journalism from Boston University, as well as a BA in Psychology from Bucknell University. Whalen has written for Greatist, Boston magazine, AZ Central Healthy Living and the New England Journal of Medicine, among other places. She has also worked as a conference planner, ghost writer, researcher and content developer.
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