UHealth at eMerge Americas

UHealth played a prominent role in the global technology conference and expo, including co-sponsoring the Healthtech Innovation Hub with Jackson Health System.

April 19, 3:41 pm

A woman dons a VR headset at the eMerge Americas conference
VR headsets let health care staff provide feedback for medical buildings before construction even starts.

April 19, 3:15 pm

Dr. Azizi Seixas and team at the MILBox display at eMerge Americas
Dr. Seixas (second from left) and team at the eMerge Americas MILBox display.

Health care has the potential to be even more tailored to each patient with the introduction of the MILBox. The project, an innovative creation from the Media and Innovation Lab at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, will allow the user to explore their biological algorithm.

“This is where we can make health care more personalized, enabling us to capture a wide variety of data points for each individual,” said Azizi Seixas, Ph.D., interim chair of the Department of Informatics and Health Data Science and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.  “Now, we can capture patients’ health on the go, enabling us to take a 360-degree perspective and provide effective treatments.”

Inside the MILBox, users will find devices to capture data, such as a blood pressure monitor, an ActiGraph to measure sleep and wake cycles, a smart scale, an air quality device and a mobile phone to transmit data to the cloud securely. This data collection creates a digital twin for their, allowing providers quick and accurate diagnosis and treatment plans.

April 19, 2:16 pm

Dr. Yiannis Chatzizisis guides a VR headset user during eMerge Americas
Dr. Yiannis Chatzizisis at eMerge Americas.

Treatments for hypertension in South Florida have become more effective due to renal denervation.

Yiannis Chatzizisis, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Miller School, uses this minimally invasive procedure, with UHealth the first center in Florida to use the technology.

Renal denervation is traditionally performed through the groin, with a transition to a wrist-based approach in the works. Using specialized catheters, the surgeon targets the nerves surrounding the kidney arteries and delivers energy to disrupt nerve activity. This effectively lowers blood pressure by severing the connection between the brain and the kidneys, alleviating hypertension symptoms.

“Patients who previously struggled to control their blood pressure with multiple medications now experience significant improvements, often reducing their medication regimen to just one or two, with fewer side effects,” Dr. Chatzizisis said. “With a quick, safe procedure lasting about 45 minutes and allowing patients to return home the same day, the benefits are substantial.”

By effectively lowering blood pressure, patients not only improve their quality of life but also mitigate the risk of stroke and other complications associated with hypertension and kidney disease.

Computational Tools Key for Cardiovascular Innovation

April 19, 1:37 pm

Dr. Yiannis Chatzizisis flashes the U hand symbol at eMerge Americas
Advanced technology allows surgeon to perform surgical procedures more precisely.

Technology, particularly artificial intelligence and health simulations, is driving cardiovascular innovation.

Yiannis Chatzizisis, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Miller School, is at the forefront of cardiovascular care by employing computational tools to enhance precision in heart disease patient interventions.

Through the Center for Digital Cardiovascular Innovations, he harnesses the power of artificial intelligence, computational simulations and extended reality (AISER) to create detailed models of patient heart structures. By utilizing advanced technology, physicians can develop personalized treatment plans and navigate complex heart procedures more accurately and efficiently.

This innovative approach is promising to improve patient outcomes and revolutionize cardiovascular health care delivery.

“By digitizing anatomical structures and simulating procedures computationally, practitioners can meticulously plan interventions and anticipate challenges,” Dr. Chatzizisis said. “This approach ensures precision and efficiency in clinical practice, ultimately benefiting patient care and outcomes.”

April 19, 10:44 am

James Lindgren at a display booth at eMerge Americas
UHealth’s James Lindgren says facial recognition makes for more efficient, secure patient data management.

UHealth — University of Miami Health System’s partnership with Clear is transforming the health system’s engagement with identity.

Clear is known for its use of facial recognition at TSA pre-check stations and is working with UHealth on the next evolution of patient sign-in. While two-factor identification has proven effective for UHealth, Clear facial recognition adds an essential level of security when accessing patient medical information.

“Clear’s facial recognition technology is transforming the patient experience at UHealth,” said James Lindgren, UHealth executive director for health system optimization. “Similar to the airport’s eye scanning process, Clear scans a patient’s face, eliminating the need for multiple, repetitive steps. This seamless integration of Clear’s technology with UHealth’s patient management system is designed to optimize the patient experience.”

Robots and Lung Cancer

April 18, 8:01 pm

Dr. Dao Nguyen at a display booth at eMerge Americas
Dr. Dao Nguyen uses robotic technology to detect and treat lung cancer.

The earlier lung cancer is treated, the better the chance of survival. While CT scans help, physicians at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center use robotic bronchoscopy and robotic surgery to local small tumors in the narrow airways of the lungs.

“This technology will help with early detection and intervention in mitigating mortality rates associated with lung cancer,” said Dao Nguyen, M.D., professor of surgery and section chief of thoracic surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as well as a member of Sylvester’s Thoracic Surgical Oncology team. “At Sylvester, we are affirming the efficacy of their systematic utilization of cutting-edge technology in medical practice.”  

Detection starts with robotic navigation in the lungs to help surgeons access deep lung tissue and sample lesions. A dye spotlights the tumor’s location, should surgeons need to remove it. The approach utilizes advanced equipment to enhance diagnostic accuracy and streamline the transition to surgical intervention, ultimately improving patient outcomes.

April 18, 7:13 pm

A UHealth technology panel discusses its use of technology in the patient experience.
The VR pregnancy education and support headset at eMerge Americas.

Minority mothers are three times as likely to have poor mental health and no access to mental health services, noted Azizi Seixas, Ph.D., interim chair of the Department of Informatics and Health Data Science and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. 

Dr. Seixas and his team are working on using virtual reality to provide these mothers with crucial pregnancy education. Through VR headsets they see what the pregnancy process entails and can access support, which is particularly important for women whose pregnancy care may not be of the highest standard. 

“The goal is to bring quality mental health care to their fingertips,” Dr. Seixas said. “Since stress can occur anytime, we also want to provide these headsets on demand. By doing so, we can provide solutions to mothers no matter where they are.” 

The VR headset has completed its pilot stage, with 50 mothers approving the experience due to its affordability and the practicality of not having to rely on a fixed practitioner or location for help. The project’s next steps involve a deeper dive into whether participants do well with just the headset alone or need access to other mental health measures.

April 18, 6:21 pm

A UHealth technology panel discusses its use of technology in the patient experience.
The Veggie Meter® in action.

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is using eMerge Americas to showcase the use of patient data on a grand scale. 

Through an interactive display, Sylvester demonstrates how its Sylvester Cancer Data Ecosystem is connected with critical clinical and research instruments and databases to fuse different types of patient data. The information can be used to augment research studies and improve cancer patients’ overall health.

Sylvester also uses tools like the Veggie Meter®, which accurately measures the amount of fruits and vegetables in the body. These tools and other wearable data devices can create algorithms that identify optimal care paths.

April 18, 5:09 pm

A UHealth technology panel discusses its use of technology in the patient experience.
The AR program introduces patients to the pre-operative process.

When patients are gearing up for an operation, anxiety and fear of the unknown can be pervasive.

The Sports Medicine Institute at UHealth—University of Miami Health System has developed an augmented reality (AR) experience to make the pre-op period easier. 

When patients put on the AR headset, they see what their operating room looks like and receive a script, narrated by their surgeon, of what to expect during surgery. Incorporating AR into the pre-op process proved successful in a Sports Medicine Institute randomized trial that compared a set of patients who prepared for their procedures using AR to those given paper handouts.

“Patients with this AR experience had decreased preoperative anxiety by about 10 percent,” said Michael Rossi, M.D., an orthopaedic fellow at UHealth/Jackson Health System. “Our institute is piloting this technology, which was developed within medicine. We want to apply this experience outside of orthopaedics while looking at patient anxiety and satisfaction levels.”

April 18, 3:13 pm

A UHealth technology panel discusses its use of technology in the patient experience.
The UHealth technology panel: Dr. David Reis, Dr. Tanira Ferreira, Brianne Neuburger and James Lindgren

UHealth—University of Miami Health System patients have already noticed how technology is improving their experience.

Some of the key players behind that experience led a “Technology & Patient Experience” discussion panel at eMerge Americas, including:

  • • David Reis, Ph.D., the University of Miami’s senior vice president and chief information and digital officer
  • • Tanira Ferreira, M.D., chief medical officer of University of Miami Hospital and Clinics
  • • Brianne Neuburger Simon, UHealth vice president of operations
  • • James Lindgren, UHealth executive director for health system optimization

UHealth has incorporated a litany of tools in its software ecosystem, including e-check-in, MyUHealth Chart and facial recognition, while maintaining patient privacy and a catered experience.

The technology UHealth wields is easy to use and optional for patients, meaning they have the tools they need to make informed decisions about their technology preferences. Physicians also benefit, as a good number of patients have enrolled in a derivation of MyChart when seen at other health care organizations. Those patient histories can be accessed by UHealth physicians and contribute to current care.

UHealth currently has 90 artificial intelligence (AI) projects in the works, all of which use spatial technology around the patient without being tied to an app.

April 18, 2:49 pm

Harvey, the full-size manikin that simulates over 50 cardiac diseases
A conference attendee uses the Bascom Palmer VR headset.

Technology meets accessibility in the latest virtual reality (VR) experience from Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.

Students and ophthalmology residents are taking part in a week-long, virtual reality course that uses VR technology to teach them how to operate a slit lamp, the microscope with solar-folded light ophthalmologists and optometrists use to examine patients.

Slit lamps rate low in accessibility because they’re usually in a room that can hold at most three people. Bascom Palmer’s transformative idea two years ago was to create a simulator that grants broader access to the lamp. Users don a headset and are transported front and center to the virtual microscope, which they operate using remote controls. The VR software also comes with a number of eye case studies.

“Our booth is all about showcasing the University of Miami’s commitment to expanding virtual reality education,” said Joao Eduardo Llano Ribeiro, programmer for the University of Miami’s Frost Institute of Data Science and Computing. “We see this technology as a way to leverage skill transfer and give students access to things they would otherwise find difficult to approach or access.”

A VR guide to the Jose Berrocal Auditorium within Bascom Palmer accompanies the course. The guide was engineered by creating a digital twin of the original building followed by a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) scan of the auditorium replicated in virtual reality.

Future Bascom Palmer implementations involve more VR courses and partnering with doctors to build out a virtual medical campus.

April 18, 1:45 pm

Harvey, the full-size manikin that simulates over 50 cardiac diseases
A peek inside Harvey, the Gordon Center’s simulation manikin.

The name Harvey is well-known when it comes to simulation in medical education. Since 1968, the famed manikin created at the Gordon Center for Simulation and Innovation has been a beacon of innovation. 

Harvey is effective because it’s built to mirror the real patient experience. Harvey is available in different skin tones and has a textured feel similar to human skin. Its mechanical composition simulates the functions of a real person and is regulated by a computer that sends out pulses of accurate body sounds while providing fluid blood motion throughout the heart and lungs.

“Harvey provides students and trainees an accurate patient experience,” said Adrian Gonzalez, a Harvey development specialist. “Through our classes with Harvey, we are increasing our fidelity to education through simulation.”

Tags: Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, eMerge Americas, Gordon Center for Simulation and Innovation, Harvey, ophthalmology, technology, virtual reality