The other side of technology transfer: Free or near free technology

By Holly Korschun | June 29, 2015

Story image
Handychart makes eye exams easy when a patient is too young to know the letters or when there is a language barrier.

The success of technology transfer – moving discoveries from the investigational stage into commercialized products – hits the headlines with the success of a new blockbuster drug, lifesaving medical device, or a groundbreaking diagnostic test for a disease. Emory’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) also has developed a group of free or near free technologies that are making a positive impact on a smaller, more personal scale.

Aiding Diagnosis and Treatment

HandyChart: “Read the smallest line you can see” are the words spoken during nearly every eye exam. But what if a patient is too young to know the letters, or if a language barrier exists? HandyChart, a technology created by a group at Emory including retired Special Education teacher Cindy Lou Herrington, 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. For more information view the feature here.

Diagnosing Adverse Reactions to Blood Transfusion: An Algorithm and Software Application: Most developed nations have ways to track adverse reactions to blood transfusions, but until the CDC created the Hemovigilance model, the United States did not. Emory faculty John Roback and Geoffrey Smith helped change the model to a web and mobile app, allowing public health experts to identify viruses and other threats to the blood supply in the blood donor pool and saving countless lives. For more information view the feature here.

iCHOOSE Kidney: Of the 26 million Americans suffering from kidney disease, only a portion of eligible patients receive information about kidney transplants, which tend to yield more successful outcomes than kidney dialysis. Emory transplant physician Dr. Rachel Patzer’s iCHOOSE Kidney app informs providers and patients about their treatment options and possible outcomes. The app includes basic explanations for patients with user-friendly graphics and charts. For more information view the feature here.

Managing Symptoms

ReliefLink: The suicide prevention mobile app ReliefLink was the winner of The White House’s Suicide Prevention: Continuity of Care and Follow-up App Challenge. Emory psychologist Nadine Kaslow created the app as a way for patients to keep track of resources and find help when they need it. ReliefLink includes mood trackers, appointment and medication reminders, and a help center map locator. For more information view the feature here.

WebEase: Medications, sleep, and stress levels are among the many things epilepsy patients need to keep track of in addition to managing daily responsibilities. WebEase includes medication management tools, interactive modules, videos from other patients about treatment options, and other information that patients can read at their own pace. For more information view the Epilepsy Foundation link here.

Improving Environments

SaniPath Rapid Assessment Tool: Many communities around the world do not have availability of clean water. Using SaniPath Rapid Assessment Tool, a community’s water supply can be examined for exposure to fecal matter in a cost-effective way, allowing for the implementation of plans to remedy the situation. 

SORT: Designed by a team of Emory researchers and clinicians, the Strategy for Off Site Rapid Triage (SORT) website is designed to prevent patient overflow in emergency rooms in the event of a pandemic. SORT consists of a series of questions designed to categorize, or triage, patients as low, intermediate or high risk. Based on this information, patients would be 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 the feature here.

Understanding and Bettering Patient Experiences

CancerQuest: 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, in one convenient place so that patients can have a better understanding of what is happening to them. For more information view the CancerQuest website.

RosaQoL, ItchyQol, and Scalpdex: For patients living with chronic skin conditions like rosacea and psoriasis, symptoms go beyond the physical and affect patients on an emotional level as well. Emory dermatologist  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 research on the skin diseases' effects. For more information view the feature here.

Preserving Research Integrity

eCOI: This electronic programs allows investigators to easily track required conflict of interest information as they are conducting research studies. If there is any potential conflict, the program generates a suggested step forward to remedy the conflict. This software has been made available outside of the Emory community and is currently used by other universities.