Axial3D: Enhancing surgical planning & improving patient outcomes
Roger Johnston is a passionate entrepreneur. His specialties include business strategy, market positioning/product marketing, corporate development, sales and marketing, channel/partner development, venture capital/private equity, enterprise software, enterprise content management. With an excellent track record in international business development, marketing and sales track record, Roger has served a spate of industries including healthcare, financial services, oil and gas and government/federal. He has hands-on experience on growing companies (both product and services) in new markets and new geographies- from a business capitalization stage through to successful trade exits. His know-how on technology, investment and service delivery organizations has helped him create a niche in the industry.
He is the CEO of Axial3D, that specializes in patient-specific medical 3D imaging and modeling to enhance surgical planning, save time and costs, and improve patient outcomes. Axial3D aims at making patient-specific 3D models and 3D images easily accessible and affordable to physician teams globally, using its Segmentation-as-a-Service ™ technology to transform the care of their patients. Making each plan and treatment associated with a surgery bespoke to that patient to vastly improve their standard of care. In an interview, he speaks on an array of topics. Excerpts:
Conception of Axial3D
For the pre-operative planning of complex surgeries, such as orthopedics, trauma, neurology, cardiology, current medical imaging is often insufficient which does not allow clinical teams to confidently plan for surgery. This was the primary reason why Axial3D was conceived.
Axial3D – surgical care
Axial3D believes in democratizing the use of incredibly precise 3D imaging for patients. “Axial3D turns hard-to-understand 2D patient scans into incredibly precise 3D, that can then be printed, viewed on a tablet/phone to improve medical device manufacturers or used within a workflow to design patient specific implants and devices. With this new level of precision, clinical teams and patients now have access to a quality of medical imaging that has not previously been available at scale.” As a-Service platform running on the AWS cloud platform, the firm can provide its customers immediate results, without the need for them to buy and deploy any hardware or software and from any location, with the help of internet. “The fact that patients can entrust the firm with highest level of security and data privacy standards is yet another advantage.”
Point of care print labs
With the advent of consumer-cost-effective 3D printing, it has become possible for this technology to be adopted at a wider scale by different markets, with hospitals being a primary new adopter of the technology. This fact, with Axial3D’s scalable solutions has allowed point of care print labs to become even more prevalent. “Having a point of care lab with Axial3D’s technology allows hospitals to create 3D models from existing, traditional 2D medical images at scale. The most prevalent of which is in the creation of 3D printed preoperative planning models. Allowing surgeons to gain a much greater understanding of a patient’s pathology, unattainable from existing imaging. Meaning that hospitals can provide an entirely new standard of care, reducing time patients spend in operating theaters, dramatically reducing risks.”
Leveraging 3D imaging and modelling within healthcare
For healthcare providers around the world to scale their use of 3D imaging and modelling, enabling them to build these into the standards of care for all patients with specific conditions, the service needs to be super easy to use, massively scalable and responsive, and of course, affordable.
The two primary components of being able to deliver on this ambition include operating on massively scalable software platform that converts 2D patient scans into incredibly precise 3D files; and drawing up a comprehensive network of print and fulfilment partners around the world, who use the best 3D printer technology available. “We believe we have both of these fundamental components in place and at a level of capability that is not matched by any of our competitors.”
Case study 1:
This shoulder revision surgery case is a great example of why surgeons are in need of better tools than the 2D imaging that’s currently being used within the current care pathway, maintains Roger. “Before the procedure, it was critical for the surgeon to evaluate if there was enough bony anatomy to carry out a reverse shoulder arthroplasty. CT imaging is difficult to interpret due to an existing metal implant, making it difficult for the surgeon to define a surgical plan with confidence.” The surgeon requested a patient-specific 3D model to help evaluate the bony anatomy and was used to educate the patient on their own operation. Being able to more accurately plan the procedure resulted in a reduction of 60 minutes within theatre. It also reduced the amount of equipment needed, which led to approximately $1000 saved in sterilization costs. The full case study can be found here.
Case study 2:
A patient presented with rapidly destructive osteoarthritis (RDO) in the right hip and needed an urgent hip replacement. (RDO is a rare condition that can lead to joint degeneration and destruction of the hip in as little as 6 months.) The surgeon wanted to have a clear view of how badly the hip joint had been impacted, but the 2D patient scans didn’t provide enough insight. The surgeon requested a 3D model of the patient’s anatomy which supported pre-operative planning and enabled the surgeon to make decisions safely and efficiently. “The model was also used to support a more targeted approach of selecting equipment before the surgery. In this instance, the surgery was 40 minutes shorter than it would have been with only 2D scans available during pre-operative planning. Resulting in less anesthesia for the patients and a faster recovery as a result.” The full case study can be found here.
Staying ahead of the competition curve
Axial3D sees patient-specific surgery as something that will be routine practice in the future. To make that possible, we understand that traditional images found in a hospital need to be scalably created into patient specific 3D models. “To make this a reality, Axial3D have approached the issues in scaling in a completely different and novel way. Traditionally, for patient specific models to be created, trained personnel take hours, one by one, to create these models using manual computer software. Something which is completely unscalable for the global need.” Axial3D have unblocked this traditionally unscalable human intervention, using its novel cloud segmentation service to create these patient specific models in a whole new way, meaning that hospitals and medical device companies across the world can now begin to feasibly create patient specific solutions for every patient.
The future ahead
Axial3D have created the world’s most scalable solution for creating patient specific 3D printed models. These allow surgeons to dramatically improve how they plan procedures, vastly improving the standard of care they can provide. As a company, our goal is simple – to make all surgical care patient specific. To do this, we will continue to leverage our existing innovations to make all 2D patient scans coming out of a hospital into patient specific 3D models. Doing this, we will continue to create new applications, changing the standard of medicine a hospital can deliver in novel diagnostic and treatment solutions.
Healthcare- challenges galore
The economics of healthcare funding and delivery around the world are relentlessly moving to where the cost of healthcare and the funding of healthcare (whether private insurance based or publicly funded) are diverging further and further each year, says this entrepreneur. “This increasing gap, which is unsustainable, can only be addressed by adopting transformative technologies that reduce the cost of delivering the same healthcare with better outcomes year on year.”
Healthcare sector- the way ahead
In the healthcare sector, many of us are very fortunate to have the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of patients around the world. I try to focus my energies on this mission, and let the potential financial success flow as a consequence of this focus on our mission, as opposed to be the mission in itself, maintains Roger. “We’re fundamentally transforming how surgery is delivered throughout the world by converting patient scans into highly accurate 3D images and 3D printed models. Physicians globally use our anatomical models for pre-operative planning, briefing surgical teams and the patient consent process.”
Says Roger that while he was growing up, he played a lot of sports and that taught him a lot of life skills that have translated into his working career – the value of hard work, a never-give-up attitude, the importance of team but also balanced with the respect for your opposition. “Fear can become an all-consuming emotion for some people, and this is often reinforced by other people’s view on “failure”. My personal choice is to recognize that if I try and do the right thing more often, combining this with hard work, then however things turn out, I won’t have any regrets. Life is very much a roller coaster, but rather than worrying all the time, I choose to enjoy the ride.”
“I know for sure I am not the cleverest person in the room, so I can only succeed in my leadership role if I have truly put together a great team who together add up to more than the sum of the parts” he signs off.
Albert Health: A holistic approach for chronic diseases
Recai Serdar Gemici, CEO Albert Health
About Recai Serdar Gemici
Albert Health: A holistic approach for chronic diseases
Serdar is the CEO of Albert Health, a voice-based health assistant that enables people to manage their chronic diseases. The company intends to design disease-specific experience and help pharma companies to increase medication adherence in their therapeutic areas. In an interview, Serdar speaks on an array of topics. Excerpts:
Founding of Albert Health
Says Serdar that chronic diseases are, in fact, a part of all our lives, even if we don’t experience them firsthand. These diseases are health problems that affect individuals throughout their entire lives and require careful attention and care. According to the World Health Organization, chronic diseases are responsible for an average of 86% of deaths and 77% of health expenses. Effective tracking, treatment, and management of chronic diseases help slow down their progression. “Our specific focus is on treatment adherence in chronic diseases. Treatment adherence maximizes treatment effectiveness, while non-adherence is the leading cause of poor treatment outcomes. 50% of individuals with chronic diseases do not adhere to their treatment plans, resulting in the death of 200,000 people annually in Europe alone.” Albert Health assists patients in understanding their chronic disease and help them embrace the treatment adherence required by that chronic condition.
Post Covid-19 – Challenges galore in healthcare
In the post-pandemic era, healthcare providers should prioritize a holistic approach that combines technological advancements with personalized patient care to create a more resilient and efficient healthcare ecosystem, suggests Serdar. However, he adds that one of the key challenges is to ensure effective population health management. “Healthcare providers need to shift their focus beyond treating illnesses to proactively manage the health of both sick and healthy individuals. This involves allocating more resources to preventive medicine, early intervention, and lifestyle management. Additionally, technology adoption remains a critical factor in realizing the full benefits of healthcare innovations.” It is essential for healthcare providers to facilitate the seamless integration of technology into clinical workflows and patient experiences. This can be achieved by identifying the most convenient use cases for both doctors and patients and employing user-friendly interfaces, such as voice technology, to enhance engagement and usability.
Albert Health’s platform for digital natives- Features
Albert is an evidence-based, multi-chronic disease management platform that leverages AI. With Albert, patients of all ages can easily manage their treatments, granting access to personalized treatment management for users from all socio-economic backgrounds, and helping improve their quality of life by acting as a mediator for lifestyle changes.
The platform offers personalized chronic disease management programs for various chronic conditions, including diabetes, asthma, hypertension, MS, HIV, and cancer. Patients can receive online consultations from healthcare professionals through Albert. They can set medication reminders, access medication prospectuses, and receive alerts about medication interactions. They can also set reminders for tasks like drinking water and measurements. Patients can store their health documents and measurements in one place, effectively track their treatment progress and health status, and share health data with their loved ones and healthcare professionals.
Offering a voice platform that patients can consult anytime, anywhere, Albert’s Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology, users can verbally ask questions on their minds. Through disease-specific trained language models, Albert understands users’ needs based on their conditions and provides them with the most suitable answers. The entire Albert platform is developed to easily adapt and be configured to meet different disease needs” adds Serdar.
Curiosity, according to Serdar is one of the driving forces in the entrepreneurship journey. “I also think the traits of order and discipline are must-haves in entrepreneurship. Additionally, the perseverance instilled by discipline encourages both my personal growth and Albert Health’s achievements.
Lessons learnt from the healthcare sector
“From my journey in the healthcare sector, I’ve learned the invaluable importance of being patient centric. This principle underscores the fact that the goal of any healthcare endeavour should be improving the lives of the patients we serve. Alongside this, another critical point is to always consider the health economics aspect.”
Albert Health – The future ahead
Albert aims to reach more patients suffering from chronic diseases and help them with most reliable and scientifically backed support. We have dedicated ourselves to becoming an essential part of the lives of patients with chronic diseases.”
Since the future of digital health is evidence-based, the firm aims to prove the benefits they provide to patients and health economics through clinical studies. “In this direction, we have committed ourselves to become a global digital health company that offers evidence-based digital therapeutic solutions, that have proven clinical value and economic benefits, and are prescription and reimbursable. Digital Therapeutics (DTx) are evidence-based digital solutions that can prevent, treat, or manage diseases, either alongside traditional treatment methods or as substitutes. We aim for our DTx solutions to be prescribed and reimbursed, just like medication. In addition, we want to support our patients not only digitally but also physically. In the long run, we aspire to open our own clinics to enhance the delivery of healthcare services even more. By collaborating with expert healthcare professionals in our clinics, we aim to provide more comprehensive health services and directly and effectively respond to the needs of our users.
Bold Health: Creating holistic gut care
Elena Mustatea, Co-founder & CEO, Bold Health
About Elena Mustatea
Bold Health: Creating holistic gut care
Elena Mustatea is the Co-founder and CEO of Bold Health, a digital health company helping individuals improve their digestive health with holistic gut care. Elena received the 21st Century Icon Technology Innovator award and was named in the Forbes’ Europe 30 Under 30 List, while her company Bold Health has been recognised for digital health innovation in numerous industry awards. Previously Elena worked in venture capital as investor with leading European VC fund Atomico, in investment banking at J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs, in management consulting at Oliver Wyman, and ran a media business in university. She also started a political activism group to represent the tech industry voice during Brexit called TechTogether UK, and represented her birth country in Children’s Parliament of the World. Elena is a Romanian native and received her Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, USA.
In an interview, she speaks on an array of topics. Excerpts:
Conception of Bold Health
Elena explains that when she started Bold Health, she was coming out of her own health journey of healing her gut and her relationship with food. “After suffering an intestinal infection and as a result of poor lifestyle choices such as stressful job, poor sleep, drinking alcohol and eating too much raw food, I suffered long term digestive issues such as abdominal pain, food sensitivities, bloating and fatigue.” She added that she was quick enough to recognise the benefits and the need for holistic, root-cause medicine that brings together Western science with traditional approaches like food and plant medicine, nervous system regulation and human support in the form of specialist experts. “We brought all these together in an online platform, conveniently accessible and adapted to the needs of the modern individual who is empowered to have agency over their health. We wanted individuals to feel bold and empowered about their health, supported and hopeful!
With Bold, patients feel in expert hands, validated and understood in their health journey, supported with leading edge science-based solutions they can trust from a team of medical professionals, to solve not just their digestive health, but boost their mood and overall wellbeing.”
Healthcare industry- challenges galore
Says this healthcare professional that in the post pandemic world, health workers face ever increasing patient demand, burdensome regulation and administrative tasks. “The opportunity is to deliver virtual-first, stepped care that triages patients into the right service (which is not always seeing a human, but could be going through a digital program), using data at every step of the care journey, automatising steps wherever possible, and making things easier for the provider by for example using AI to write the charts.” She noted that our providers have to freedom to work from where and when they want to, can spend sufficient time with the patient, and leverage content and tracking in between visits to maximize self-management and treatment impact outside the provider visit.
Key features of Bold Health’s comprehensive platform
Bold Health’s comprehensive platform offers a set of self-help tools, patient education, psychobehavioral techniques, relaxation and lifestyle change, and where necessary medication and supplements, to support patients in healing their gut for good. “Depending on the symptoms and condition, we also offer the services of a team of clinicians specialized in treating gut health such as doctors or specialist nurses, registered dietitians, health coaches or therapists, who can support patients with the different aspects of holistic care. By bringing together different disciplines and types of therapies, the patient can get the combined benefit to transform their digestive health.”
Bold Health has become a global leader in digestive health in a few short years due to a unique combination of daring to think differently about the patient care experience, while staying loyal to medical evidence. “I am focused on service and solving human problems from a place of integrity and care. I also love technology’s ability to make healthcare data-informed, accessible, convenient, so I like to bring in the value of innovation and human-centered design.”
A word of advice for entrepreneurs
Elena urges startups to not go into regulated spaces, unless you have very strong, unique, defendable IP and solid financial backing. Do a business where there is a clear existing business model and you know for sure someone will pay for your product or service. Develop health economics / ROI evidence early.
Bold Health- The way ahead
We will be expanding our multi-disciplinary, stepped care model across other chronic conditions outside GI, to be able to treat the whole person including when there are multiple co-occurring illnesses that will all benefit from lifestyle improvement, nervous system regulation, dietary improvements and expert medical advice.
DocHQ: Empowering healthcare through technology
Madhur Srivastava, Founder, CEO- DocHQ
About Madhur Srivastava
DocHQ: Empowering healthcare through technology
DocHQ is an UK employee benefits provider, that helps people make informed health choices and inspire them to improve their quality of life. The health service provider is a specialist medical technology provider aimed at enhancing employee wellbeing at work and home – connecting businesses, providers, and consumers through technology. From employee health and wellness programs to physical wellness in the workplace and at home, DocHQ combines medical expertise and technology to offer wellbeing services and solutions in a post-pandemic world.
Founding of DocHQ
In 2018, tech professional Madhur Srivastava embarked on a journey to revolutionise the approach to employee benefits, insurance, and healthcare through the lens of technology. This led to the birth of DocHQ, a platform initially designed as a user-friendly telehealth service, before expanding its reach to include unique offerings such as travel healthcare for those journeying abroad.
“In the healthcare market, we recognised a pressing need for integrated, scalable solutions that facilitate better patient-provider communication. DocHQ emerged as a response to bridge these gaps and offer a comprehensive healthcare solution designed especially for the digital age” observes Madhur.
Healthcare industry- challenges galore
The pandemic accelerated the digital shift, but it also highlighted the importance of data security, a human and personal touch in digital environments, and the need to constantly validate the accuracy of tech solutions, especially in healthcare, opines. “Providers must prioritise these aspects to maintain trust and deliver efficient care in the post-pandemic era.”
DocHQ’s comprehensive platform – Features
Central to DocHQ’s offerings is ‘DocHQ Physio’, an AI-driven platform tailored for today’s digital landscape. This platform provides comprehensive patient assessments, both physically and online, leading to personalised exercise prescriptions, explains Madhur. “As patients engage with their rehab exercises via our platform, the AI-movement tracking technology delivers visual and audio real-time feedback, optimising their movements for therapeutic benefit. Behind the scenes, the system gathers vital data, offering physiotherapists a rich tapestry of insights to monitor and guide a patient’s progression.” A standout feature is its asynchronous progress tracking, where physiotherapists can adjust exercise regimens based on the collected data, ensuring a continually optimised recovery journey. With DocHQ Physio, the practitioners have melded the precision of AI with the indispensable human touch of physiotherapy, ensuring comprehensive, effective and dynamic care tailored for the digital native.
Madhur believes in collaborative leadership, listening to his team, valuing feedback, and fostering a culture of innovation. He feels that all these have played a part in the trajectory of both his personal journey and that of DocHQ. “I’d add that I’m curious and ever adaptive. The healthcare landscape is ever evolving, and staying curious allows me to anticipate changes and adapt swiftly.”
Word of caution for healthcare entrepreneurs
“First and foremost, always keep the customer at the centre of everything you do. In the race to innovate, it’s easy to get swept up in the allure of new technologies and cutting-edge solutions. However, as a CEO, I’ve seen first-hand that the most enduring and impactful solutions are those that directly enhance customer care and experience.” Also, while agility is a strength in the start-up world, in healthcare it’s vital to balance it with thoroughness and caution. Due diligence, customer safety and regulatory compliance are not just boxes to tick, but are foundational to building trust and longevity in this sector. Stay customer centric. Technology and innovation are essential, but they should always serve the primary goal of enhancing customer care and experience.
One principle stands out unequivocally: healthcare is fundamentally about people. Whether we’re discussing patients, their families, or the professionals serving them, every decision we make, every innovation we introduce, and every change we implement should have the wellbeing and betterment of individuals as its guiding star.
DocHQ – Forging ahead
At the forefront of the firm’s innovation pipeline is the integration of behavioural science into the DocHQ Physio AI system. “We believe that the most effective healthcare is holistic, addressing not just the physical but also the emotional and psychological aspects of wellbeing. We’re exploring how subtle behavioural cues, discerned from voice and visual data, can provide insights into a customer’s mental state.” This has enabled them to send targeted nudges to users, not just improving the information they receive but potentially influencing positive health outcomes. Imagine a system that, beyond diagnosing physical ailments, can also sense distress or anxiety and respond empathetically. “By bridging the realms of AI, behavioural science and healthcare, we’re taking a leap towards a future where digital health solutions truly understand and cater to the multifaceted nature of human health.”