Marc Albanese and Yaopeng Zhou, Ph.D met as graduate students at Boston University in 2002. The two entrepreneurs combined their expertise in electrical engineering, optics and business with the study of retinal imaging to create an iPhone auto-refractor. According to Albanese, the idea for their product began when Yaopeng read an article in 2012 about the one billion people worldwide who are unable to get glasses due to a shortage of doctors and easy-to-use technology. The young company was invited to participate in this year’s HX360 pavilion at HIMSS after winning Verizon’s 2014 Powerful Answers award in the healthcare vertical.
Their device underwent field-testing during a mission trip to Haiti August 2014 and, according to Albanese, “Our results were confirmed by optometrists, who reported similar results compared to standard, more costly equipment, and better results in children than they had ever seen before.” The device is now FDA registered and is being sold within the US.
In addition to increasing the ease of vision screening in the US, Smart Vision Labs plans to sell and lease devices to NGOs in developing countries. These organizations will be able to deliver corrective glasses “on the spot.” Last year, Smart Labs supplied free glasses to 300 people in developing countries after performing refractions with their technology. “This is a billion-people problem that we’re fighting,” says Albanese. The company’s goal is to expand vision screening in the U.S., and then expand screening and free glasses programs to developing areas of the world.
Dr. Hochron co-founded and is the Chief Medical Officer of Practice Unite, a mobile solution that improves healthcare communications and provides healthcare systems with a platform for their mobile strategy. His approach to coordinating care using customized, integrated mHealth tools has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, HIMSS Media, the Journal of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, MedCityNews, MedTechBoston, and by American College of Healthcare Executives and the New York eHealth Collaborative. Dr. Hochron’s approaches to mHealth integration are used throughout the care continuum to coordinate acute care, post-discharge care, and to monitor and manage long-term care.Hochron has more than 25 years of experience advising and working with healthcare systems and providers in his roles as a practicing physician and healthcare attorney. He received his MD degree from New York Medical College, and his JD degree from Rutgers Law School. He is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine at UMDNJ-Rutgers medical school.
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