Elizabeth Asai

Elizabeth Asai, CEO and co-founder of 3Derm Systems, a company that provides meaningful telemedicine for dermatology medical practices, was selected during the Baylor Scott & White Health Digital Summit last week as the company to pilot a program with Baylor Scott & White Health.

AUSTIN — The Digital Summit held last week brought some innovative concepts to Texas and Baylor Scott & White Health.

There were two intentions in holding the digital summit: provide information to Baylor Scott & White staff and let the market know the health system is interested in new technology and is paying attention to what is being offered, said Nick Reddy, chief digital officer at Baylor Scott & White.

 “We’re a large complex organization with different skills so we’re trying to provide a base level of knowledge to clinicians, nurses, physicians, senior executives, business leaders and technologists,” Reddy said.

Technology available to health care has grown considerably since the invention of the iPhone in 2007, said John McWhorter, chief operations officer at Baylor Scott & White Health.

“We may have as many as 10 to 12 companies a month approach us with a new technology or a new mobile application or innovation they think may be good for our patients,” McWhorter said.

Baylor Scott & White developed a digital health office that can screen and evaluate the proposals.

“Today is our first attempt to bring companies in and let them have 20 minutes to present their products,” he said. “We have physicians and nurses, informaticists and scientists sitting in the room who then have an opportunity to ask questions of each vendor.”

In the end, Baylor Scott & White selected one company to further investigate and possibly pilot its technology.

There was a screening process for companies to participate in the summit that started with an application.

Applicants that didn’t fit the healthcare system’s model — to be more affordable, provide a better patient experience and improve quality — were screened out, McWhorter said.

“Some companies may have had one of the three, but not all,” he said.

After each summit presentation Baylor Scott & White staff rated whether the product would provide a good solution to an issue within the system or it wasn’t a realistic solution.

The presentations during the morning sessions were all over the board, McWhorter said.

“We had a company that wanted to change people’s behavior, we had some companies that were device oriented,” he said. “The next summit may be more theme related, with one focused on heart and another on the brain.”

Those companies invited to participate were focused on a few areas of interest, such as genetics, transformational solutions, artificial intelligence and wearable technology, Reddy said.

About 100 companies that worked in those areas were considered. The dozen or so companies selected were leading in technology or had something unique that was a priority for Baylor Scott & White.

“They are American entrepreneurs,” he said.

The companies came from East Coast, West Coast, Chicago and areas that are entrepreneurship friendly.

“We’re getting a diverse perspective,” he said. “We’re going for the best solutions.”

The ultimate goal is to work closely with the selected vendor and have them solve an existing problem.

After listening to pitches from companies about behavioral health, 3D medical imaging, Bluetooth-enabled stethoscope, cloud-based clinical genome interpretation platform, a trackable hand sanitation device, and others, Baylor Scott & White chose the company that uses telemedicine to triage dermatology care.  

3Derm System, based in Boston, provides an imaging system that enables non dermatologists, particularly primary care providers, to take clinical-quality 3D skin images. These images can be sent to a dermatologist on a communication system to be reviewed.

The program provides efficient monitoring of a high volume of patients’ lesions without putting an excess strain on specialists’ time.

“When researching Baylor Scott & White, we discovered primary care is very accessible, there are primary care sites all over the area,” said Elizabeth Asai, co-founder of 3Derm Systems. “In Dallas, you can get a next day appointment with a dermatologist, but in other areas, the wait time could be 83 to 100 days.”

“We would love to pilot this program in the system’s primary care sites,” she said.

The system has a quick training process for the primary care doctors, Asai said. Each site would have an imager and one physician per clinic can be trained to use the equipment in about an hour.

“They can then train other users in about five to 10 minutes,” she said.

It takes about three months to get 3Derm System up and running and it’s now a matter of Baylor Scott & White to decide what it wants to do and what clinics will be involved.

This opportunity is great for the company, condensing the sales growth goal by a large margin. Asai said.

It was a shot in the dark that paid off, she said.

Asai said she was impressed by many of the pitches she heard at the summit and was surprised by some of the available innovations.

“It was nerve wracking, but I’m very honored to have been selected,” she said.

 “We believe the diversity of our system is our strength,” Reddy said, “We have so many different assets and we genuinely believe we are a very good environment to try things.”

One of the summit goals was to leverage the Austin, Texas, feel to the individuals coming in from other parts of the country, as well introduce the presenters to Scott & White and Baylor.

“There was a lot of interest internally,” Reddy said.

One way of gauging interest is to look at how many people are on their phones.

“You’ll notice nobody is playing on their phones,” he said.