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By: Jim Kinney
SPRINGFIELD -- Looking for a health care future where your doctor spends time with you and not with your paperwork?
Dreaming of technology that lets your paramedic securely text your vital signs from an ambulance to the hospital emergency room instead of relaying it over the radio?
How about mobile games that teach kids to avoid life-threatening allergens or how to manage their asthma through the proxy of cute animated pets?
That future was the present Thursday as Baystate Health's TechSpring hosted its first ever health innovation showcase at Baystate Medical Center. The event was held in cooperation with MassChallenge, a Boston organization that fosters startups, and PULSE@ MassChallenge, a partnership between TechSpring and MassChallenge specializing in digital health care.
Baystate founded TechSpring in 2014 to give technology companies access to the health care system at Baystate. The innovators can use Baystate as a test bed to develop their technology in real-world conditions.
"We have the doctors, we have the nurses and the patients," said Joel Vengco, vice president and chief information officer at Baystate and a TechSpring founder.
Usually, TechSpring does its work from offices in the MassLive Building downtown. But Vengco said it was time to set up an event like a trade fair at Baystate's Daley Lobby to let doctors and nurses see what the companies are working on.
For Boston-based 3Derm, that's a robot dermatologist. Or rather a stand-up cart of technology that can take a 3-D image of a spot on a patient's skin and get it checked out remotely by a skin specialist. This cuts down on the wait times for always-busy dermatologists.
"It might be the dermatologist that you end up seeing," said Elektra Alivisatos, program manager for 3Derm. "But you may not need to see a dermatologist at all. It might be a a rash, an insect bite. It saves time and money by cutting down on those unnecessary referrals."
Twiage -- it sounds like triage -- is a secure data connection between an ambulance and an emergency room that replaces radio technology dating back to the "Emergency!" TV show, said Pete Batzinger, an EMS outreach specialist.
Praxify is already working with Baystate doctors on technology that lets them update paperwork from the bedside easily and while conversing with the patient, said Mohan Rao, co-founder and vice president.
Wizdy Games drew a crowd intrigued by its colorful characters, but Shena Lohardjo said those little digital pets are avatars for kids who need to learn how to avoid allergens or how to manage asthma.
In the game, the kids get a pet that lives with asthma. Players need to manage their pet's symptoms, make sure it takes its inhaler with it and that it learns how to use epinephrine in case of an asthma attack.
"It's a fun way for kids to approach a tough situation," Lohardjo said.