Free & Near Free Technologies

The Other Side of Technology Transfer: Free or Near Free Technology

Many of technology transfer hits reach the headlines with the success of a new blockbuster drug, lifesaving medical device, or perhaps a ground-breaking diagnostic test for a disease. There are many others that don't hit the headlines and might not even be sold in the market place, but they have moved out of the lab to make a positive impact. Innovators are constantly working on the cutting edge of research and practice in their fields, but stepping back and looking for elegant, simple, and possibly even cost-free solutions to common problems requires just as much thought and careful consideration. Below are examples of free or near-free technologies developed by Emory inventors that make the mark.

Aiding Diagnosis and Treatment

HandyChart: “Read the smallest line you can see” – these are the words spoken during nearly every eye exam. Yet, a problem presents itself if a patient is too young to know the letters or if a language barrier exists. This is where HandyChart, a technology created by a group at Emory including retired Special Education teacher Cindy Lou Herrington, makes life easier. Rather than using letters or shapes, HandyChart consists of a series of drawings of hands that the patient can mimic using his or her own. A group volunteering in Honduras recently used the test to administer eye exams for orphans, allowing a group that may not have had access to eye care before to be able to see what the world can offer. You can purchase on the web here.

Algorithm and Software Application for Diagnosing Adverse Reactions to Blood Transfusion: Although most developed nations have ways to track adverse reactions to blood transfusions, up until recently, the United States did not. However, this all changed with the creation of the CDC’s Hemovigilance model. Thanks to John Roback and Geoffrey Smith’s work in changing the model to a web and mobile app, public health experts are now able to identify viruses in the blood donor pool and other threats to blood supply, saving countless lives. For more information view our technology brief. (Techid: 14022)

Emory Liver Transplant App: The hardest part of receiving a liver transplant can happen far before you’re ever admitted into a hospital. Far too often, there are dense layers of bureaucracy that have to be crossed before even getting a referral — but for the Emory community, Dr. Joseph Magliocca and Michael Palgon have made it simple with the Emory Liver Transplant App. Healthcare professionals in the Emory system can download an app to their phone and easily and securely submit referrals to Liver Transplant Center physicians, and read relevant biographies and experience for specific staff members. But most importantly, it saves time — time that could be critical for patients in dire need of a transplant. Free iOS and Android versions are available for download in Apple App Store and Google Play marketplace. For more information view our technology brief. (Techid: 16106)

iCHOOSE Kidney: For patients with kidney disease, there are two paths forward: dialysis or transplants. Kidney transplants tend to yield more successful outcomes; however, of the 26 million Americans suffering from the disease, only a portion of eligible patients receive information about kidney transplants. Emory’s Dr. Rachel Patzer’s iCHOOSE Kidney app informs providers and patients about their treatment options and possible outcomes. These treatments include basic explanations for patients as well, which include easy-to-understand graphics and charts. For more information view our feature here. (Techid: 13108)

Spinal Frame for Resource Limited Settings: New innovations in medical technology are made every year — but that doesn’t mean every patient reaps their benefits. That’s especially true in the operating room: as surgical techniques have gotten more advanced, new equipments, operating tables, and even specialized rooms have been designed to facilitate them, but those technologies are often far out of the price range of healthcare systems in developing nations. That’s where the Spinal Frame for Resource Limited Settings comes in. After Drs. Nicholas Boulis and Jonathan Riley saw spinal trauma patients in Haiti fail to receive proper treatment because of a lack of available OR tables, they went to the nearest hardware store and built an ultra-low cost spinal frame. Today, it’s already been used in numerous successful spinal surgeries, allowing patients that might have suffered from paralysis for the rest of their lives to regain mobility. Read more about this life-changing technology here. (Techid: 15083)

Managing Symptoms

Guide 2 Goals: Treating type 1 diabetes (T1D) is always a team effort — and that goes double for treating it in children. It takes an entire connected network of loved ones, teachers and medical professionals to make sure that every child living with T1D gets to lead a happy, healthy childhood. That’s where the Guide to Goals (G2G) web application comes in. It’s an online, cloud-based, one-stop shop for T1D management. Whether that’s coordinating data entry efforts between clinicians and lab technicians, disseminating questionnaires, or helping patients direct the course of their own therapy with goal-driven programs, it is all made easy with G2G’s user-friendly interface built specifically for monitoring pediatric treatment. For more information, view our technology brief. (Techid: 16054)

ReliefLink: Sometimes the hardest battles are the ones we fight against ourselves. Enter ReliefLink, the newest suicide prevention mobile app and the winner of The White House’s Suicide Prevention: Continuity of Care and Follow-up App Challenge. Dr. Nadine Kaslow, a psychologist at Emory University School of Medicine, created the app as a way for patients to keep track of resources and find help when they need it. With features like mood trackers, appointment and medication reminders, and a help center map locator, ReliefLink can pave the way to a patient’s wellness and healing. For more information view our technology brief. (Techid: 14006)

WebEase: Medications, sleep, and stress-levels are just a few of the many things patients with epilepsy need to keep track of in addition to managing their other daily responsibilities. With the use of WebEase, some of the burden can be lifted. In addition to medication management tools, WebEase also includes interactive modules, videos from other patients about different treatment options, and other information that patients can read at their own pace, putting some of the control of their disease back in patients’ own hands. For more information view the Epilepsy Foundation link here. (Techid: 08139)

Improving Environments

Emory University Urban Health Initiative Safety Manual: In order to survive, nonprofits have to stay lean — getting the maximum amount of good out of every dollar and minute is an imperative. That brings up a dilemma when temporary volunteers and students need safety training. Paid personnel will almost always be given that training, but temporary volunteers sometimes won’t — even though it’s absolutely necessary. Inventors at Emory have worked on a comprehensive, fine-tuned safety training manual. Originally developed for training volunteers involved in Emory’s Urban Health Initiative, this manual covers best practices for a variety of organizations, from basic safety to the specifics of incident reporting. It saves time and money without ever cutting corners. For more information view our technology brief. (Techid: 15121)

SORT: A common fear of the medical community is if a pandemic were to strike, emergency rooms would overflow, causing crowds that would not only delay care but also spread disease. This scenario is exactly what SORT, or Strategy for Off Site Rapid Triage, was created to prevent. Designed by a team of Emory researchers and clinicians, the SORT website consists of a series of questions which categorize, or triage, patients as low, intermediate or high risk. Based on this information, patients are advised to stay home, see their doctor, or proceed to the emergency room, thereby preventing a backup of patients at ERs, reducing the spread of contagious disease, and ensuring that everyone receives the care they need. For more information view our feature here. (Techid:10012 )

Survey for Adolescent Bullying and Isolation: There is a diverse array of statistics on cyberbullying available, but academic studies have been lax on rigorously defining and labeling just what exactly the behaviors associated with cyberbullying are. That’s exactly the niche Dr. Taaha Shakir developed SABI, the Survey for Adolescent Bullying and Isolation, to fill. SABI consists of 19 questions that determine key patterns of internet use associated with cyberbullying (types of social media sites used, frequency of use, etc.) while maintaining total anonymity. The survey has already been conducted successfully with over 200 children. For more information view our technology brief. (Techid: 15091)

WASH App: Nowhere is having clean, safe water and sanitary conditions more important than in hospitals. It can be the difference between ending an epidemic or starting one. For some patients, it can be a matter of life and death. Safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) metrics have been developed by public health experts to measure the quality of conditions in healthcare facilities, but professionals in developing nations rarely document or have the tools to measure how sanitary their hospitals are. This mobile app developed by Katharine Robb’s team makes it easy to assess and track water sanitation. The app provides a series of checklists that cover a wide array of relevant questions regarding WASH infrastructure, answered by using a simple traffic light (red, yellow, green) system. It can be filled out in a matter of hours by a single evaluator, and provides comprehensive feedback on strengths and weaknesses after submission. It’s already been used to assess 55 healthcare facilities throughout Zambia to inform further Emory research on designing effective programs to improve WASH conditions. Read our feature on this app here. (Techid: 15232)

Understanding and Bettering Patient Experiences

CancerQuest: Cancer is a battle, but the one thing patients shouldn’t have to fight for is their right for information about their health. CancerQuest is a free website that focuses on breaking down complicated processes into simple explanations, collecting information about cancer biology, cancer treatments, patient support, and more all in one convenient place so that when it comes to what is happening to them, patients can have a better understanding and hopefully peace of mind as well. For more information view the Cancer Quest website. (Techid: 03038)

E-TRIP: Approximately 7.7 million American adults are or have been affected by PTSD. Only a fraction of those millions will receive treatment, and only for a fraction more will that treatment be successful. Many patients are afflicted with what’s known as treatment resistant PTSD (TR-PTSD), which if improperly treated with normal techniques can lead to needless further suffering. Thanks to Drs. Boadie Dunlop and Barbara Rothbaum’s work, mental health care professionals around the world have E-TRIP, the Emory Treatment Resistance Interview for PTSD. E-TRIP is a clinician-administered questionnaire that quantifies treatment resistance levels in patients based on past experiences with specific therapies and techniques. With the results from the survey, researchers can better understand the mechanisms of TR-PTSD and develop more personalized treatment plans for affected patients. For more information, view our technology brief. (Techid: 17018)

RosaQoL, ItchyQol, and Scalpdex: For patients living with chronic skin conditions like rosacea, a chronic skin disease resulting in redness of the skin, and psoriasis, a condition resulting in increased skin cell growth, symptoms go beyond just the physical and affect patients on an emotional level as well. With this in mind, Dr. Suephy Chen created three Quality of Life (QoL) indexes to measure the effects of these non-curable diseases on patients’ day-to-day life. With information collected from these QoL indexes, doctors can better treat patients and perform further research on the skin diseases’ effects. For more information view our feature here. (Techids: 05067, 06082, 06083)

Preserving Research Integrity

eCOI: An important step in bringing any invention to the public is the investigation, and with the usage of eCOI, or the Electronic Conflict of Interest application, Emory has worked to keep this process running smoothly. The program works by requiring investigators to input any personal financial information that could sway their investigation, such as their own personal investments or stocks. Based on this information if there is any potential conflict, the program generates a suggested step forward, such as a second review of the publication. (This software has been made available outside of the Emory community and is currently used by other universities to protect their research investigations as well.)

Informed Patient: With constant advances in fields like personalized medicine, it’s becoming more and more important that patients not only have a stake in their own health, but a strong understanding of the ways healthcare professionals help them maintain it. That’s the idea behind Informed Patient, a phone app developed by Emory researchers Drs. George Mathew and Neal Bhatia, designed to expose the general public to accurate and accessible information about the latest developments in medical research. With this application, patients won’t just have a better understanding of lifestyle practices and treatment options, but a more confident voice in the examination room and beyond. For more information, view our technology brief. (Techid: 15020)

Study Management And Retention Toolkit (SMART): A smart acronym with an even smarter function. The Study Management and Retention Toolkit, or SMART, is a centralized management tool designed specifically for tracking multiple aspects of human subject research studies of various designs. Data records and patient information can be input from multiple research sites at the same time and are organized within the system for easy retrieval and export. SMART also tracks subject enrollment in studies, and even automatically sends out reminders for upcoming appointments through text, email and calendar alerts. It’s a one-stop shop for research personnel that keeps things easy, organized and simple. For more information, view our technology brief. (Techid: 17054)