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.
YuviTal: Prioritizing healthcare in a digital era
Alon Silberberg, CEO & Co-founder, YuviTal
YuviTal: Prioritizing healthcare in a digital era
YuviTal is a digital rewarding and loyalty platform for positive behavioral change, that are providing organizations, insurance companies, HMOs, and employers worldwide with tailored solutions to improve their members’ life. With YuviTal, health insurers can personally influence their policyholders to improve their lives and prevent future diseases. The solutions are application-based and designed to incentivize healthier choices. To this day, more than a million people are using YuviTal’s apps such as Clalit Active, Ovdim Bari, Rumble, and more. Alon Silberberg, CEO & Co-founder, YuviTal speaks in an interview. Excerpts:
Conception of YuviTal
“The world of healthcare and insurance is constantly changing. The two most significant changes are the change in mindset of the policyholder and the change in mindset of the healthcare provider/insurer.” Says Alon that from the perspective of the policy holder, we want the institutions in our lives to be proactive about helping us as their clients and improve our wellbeing. This kind of thinking is becoming our ‘go-to’, when it boils down to how we select the service providers in our lives. From the perspective of the healthcare and insurer, there is a big, wide world full of meaningful and available data that has the potential to increase profits while personalizing and customizing different services and products for the end customer. “When implementing the YuviTal solution, these are the needs and pain points we address.”
Healthcare industry – challenges galore
Covid has taught us all a valuable lesson; if an insurance company or healthcare provider wants to remain relevant, it must maintain an ongoing relationship with its patients/members/policyholders. It is crucial to note that digital health and telemedicine solutions are no longer optional; they are “must have” products for every health organization. Especially those involving high engagement rates, excellent customer service, and behavior change rewarding systems.
YuviTal Health – benefits
YuviTal Health is a digital rewarding and loyalty customer engagement platform for healthcare and insurers. It is designed and developed to improve profitability and decrease risks while allowing the organization to understand its client base and create custom offerings and premiums from that data. “It works by encouraging a healthy & active lifestyle among the app users by utilizing three main incentives: Social, psychological, and economical. By incentivizing healthier decision-making, the company can promote preventive medicine and reduce risk and healthcare claim costs.”
This hard worker, mission-driven and passionate team builder, says that he lives by example- always try to work harder than your team. Always be willing to do exactly what you asked them to do. “Failure is natural and an important part of everyday life for entrepreneurs, if you don’t try and fail, you will never succeed. When failure occurs, you need to pause, look at the bigger picture and keep moving forward toward your goals.”
“Work hard, choose your teammates wisely, do not be afraid to make mistakes and always be willing to work hard and always be ready to give it you’re all on the field. It is important for me to say that this company would not be what it is today without my two partners and co-founders, Lior Klibansky and Yaron Levi. They are Best co-founders I could have asked for.”
uMotif: Promoting True Patient Engagement
Steve Rosenberg, CEO, uMotif
uMotif: Promoting True Patient Engagement
Rosenberg’s career in life science and healthcare spans more than 40 years. He has led the development and deployment of cloud-based solutions with a focus on driving more integrated approaches to patient-centric trial management. Rosenberg was recently Senior Vice President and General Manager of Oracle Health Sciences. Prior to that, he was the visionary behind the integrated clinical technology suite introduced by Phase Forward which Oracle acquired in 2010. Rosenberg joined uMotif, the patient-centric platform powering site-based to fully decentralized clinical, real-world, and post-marketing research.
Conception of uMotif
Established in 2012, uMotif has developed an e-Clinical platform that meets the real needs of patients, making trial participation and data capture as simple as possible. uMotif was born when its co-founders met two patients with Parkinson’s Disease, who wanted new digital tools to help them manage, track and understand their disease, treatments, medication, and healthcare journey. Like many patients, they wanted a better way to engage with their health, communicate more effectively with clinicians through data, and feel more empowered.
uMotif launched two large-scale research projects with over 18,000 people tracking and donating over 9 million Patient-Reported Outcomes, symptoms, devices, and other data points. This led uMotif to take its learnings from healthcare and pivot into patient-centered research. Whether one is talking about site-based, fully decentralized clinical, real-world, or post-marketing research, patient participation, and engagement are core challenges to study success. Study dropout rates are incredibly high across all phases of research, slowing the pace of essential new research, observes Steve. “uMotif saw the opportunity to address these research challenges by applying its consumer-grade design best practices and cloud-native applications to digital health technology. We started by understanding the burdens that trial participation puts on the patient and how that impacts patient engagement. We drove a patient-first mindset in developing the software.”
Healthcare challenges galore
One key risk is that sponsors and CROs can be too fast in putting technology first and being seduced to implement the next new tech innovation, says Steve. “Rushing to implement new technology is often risky, high cost, and can often fail to deliver value. Instead, pharma sponsors of clinical trials need to start with patients first, designing thoughtful solutions around the needs of the people involved in research. Tech should come later, once the patient-centered solution is designed.”
An integrated approach to patient-centric clinical trial
Patient-centric trials or patient-centricity is something that many people are speaking about. For the most part, they miss the real point. “The idea is to recognize two things. First, the patient sacrifices their time and body to contribute to the greater good. There are patients who believe that the trial is their last hope, but even in that case, they are sacrificing. It is also important to recognize that the clinical trial is just one aspect of a patient’s experience with their disease. That gives us the opportunity to meet the patient where they are and engage them accordingly.”
Providing a decentralized clinical, real healthcare world
The uMotif platform powers all study designs, in all research settings. “Our software is available from app stores on any device and is designed to provide pharmaceutical, biotech, MedTech and Contract Research Organization (CRO) clients with the most engaging patient data capture experience.” The platform captures regulatory-compliant eCOA / ePRO, symptom, eDiary, device, and other data for clinical trials and real-world studies. “Our relentless focus on high quality, patient-centric design and modern cloud-native software, allows uMotif to deliver high rates of data capture, patient retention, data quality and delivery speed – ultimately helping achieve faster, better trials.”
“I find that respect is the key trait. Also, the ability to use humor, remain calm in a crisis, and encourage risk taking. I also believe that both in my personal life and professional life – taking the time to explain the context of what is going on to people, encourages teamwork and commitment. I think the fear of failure can be a good driver as long as it doesn’t limit the ability to take risks and try new things. I have learned a long time ago that if you aren’t willing to change and adapt, you will fail.”
“Empathy is extremely important. Especially in the healthcare and pharma services sector, understanding what your end users are trying to accomplish in their job is the only way you can come up with good solutions.”
TimelyMD: The virtual health solution for college students
Luke Hejl, CEO, TimelyMD
TimelyMD: The virtual health solution for college students
Luke Hejl is the CEO, chairman and co-founder at TimelyMD, the leading virtual health and well-being solution for college and university students. He is an entrepreneur at the intersection of higher education, health care and digital transformation. A champion of finding good people, creating great teams and empowering them to achieve amazing results together, Luke finds company building to be incredibly interesting, challenging, motivating, energizing and fun. In an interview, he speaks on an array of topics. Excerpts:
The inception of TimelyMD
Luke Hejl co-founded TimelyMD in 2017 with Chris Clark and Alan Dennington, M.D., with a vision to help students be well and thrive in all aspects of their lives. “Building upon our team’s previous experience in health care, we identified higher education as an underserved market where students often waited weeks for campus health center appointments,” notes Luke. Seeing increased interest and adoption of virtual care platforms and understanding the reality of a looming national primary care provider shortage helped them to recognize and act on a huge market opportunity for a telehealth company focused exclusively on college students.
As college and university leaders seek solutions that improve student well-being, engagement and retention, they turn to TimelyMD more than anyone else for a best-in-class 24/7 virtual extension of campus health and counseling center resources. With licensed providers in all 50 states, TimelyMD is the only higher ed-specific virtual care company trusted to care for over a million students at more than 200 colleges and universities nationwide.
TimelyCare: A platform for digital natives
“This generation of students is connected to technology more than ever. Whether it’s their phones, laptops or tablets, wherever they go – they’re online. Digital natives need a digital solution for health care that is available on the go, after class and after hours. That’s where TimelyMD can help. Sixty percent of students who sought mental health support through our TimelyCare platform said they would have done nothing if the service were not available.”
Luke adds that since college students are always plugged in, TimelyMD’s on-demand medical and mental health care optimizes campuses’ existing services and gets students care the moment they need it. TimelyCare includes a range of services, including mental health counseling, on-demand emotional support, medical care, psychiatric care, health coaching, basic needs assistance, faculty and staff guidance, and digital self-care content. With services available 24/7, TimelyMD becomes an extension of on-campus health resources and gives students the accessibility they crave.
A virtual health care solution that works
This entrepreneur is grateful for the campus leaders who trust TimelyMD to provide equitable, on-demand care to their students. By increasing convenience, staff capacity, and provider diversity and eliminating barriers such as insurance, co-pays and long wait times, TimelyMD delivers peace of mind as well as positive clinical outcomes. “One of the reasons TimelyMD has experienced such growth is because our proprietary TimelyCare platform allows colleges and universities to implement an unparalleled hybrid model of care in collaboration with on-campus resources, at no cost to students.”
Focused on leadership and relationships
Luke is people-focused, strategic, innovative, creative and compassionate. “At TimelyMD, everything we do is centered around our company’s core values of passionate people, accountability, innovation, growth, quality of service and positive impact. We have proven that a laser-focus on serving students first is key to meeting and exceeding our board’s high expectations for annual recurring revenue, customer retention and quality of service.” As a people-focused CEO, relationships are the connective tissue of his leadership style – as well as TimelyMD’s business. “To build lasting relationships, I embrace and model three key principles: trust, transparency and self-reflection.”
Charting a course for the future
Identifying key metrics for the business and being agile to pivot as needed, based on the ongoing metrics, is a very important factor for Luke. “Following our Series A in 2019, we had planned for 2020 to be a year of significant growth. When the pandemic hit, we were ready with solutions to support students’ health and well-being when colleges and universities were forced to shut down.”
For several months, the company focused all of its attention on developing and marketing a new program that helped schools to quickly bridge the care gap for students, as well as building up the infrastructure to support the influx of students long-term. “Knowing when to pivot and throwing all of our resources at that decision was central to our success today,” he said. “It has been two years since telehealth adoption became a norm in higher education, and the demand has never been greater. While TimelyMD has scaled, our programs have evolved, and our impact has grown, our vision to help students be well and thrive has not changed.”