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August 9, 2018

60 clinicians, patients and industry experts “Solve Sleep” in Cleveland

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I have just landed back in Dublin having spent the weekend with an amazing group of patients, clinicians and innovators as we worked through the patient’s journey from pre-diagnosis to management and monitoring of a sleep disorder. HealthXL hosted a Solve Sleep ideation weekend in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic, Allegheny Health Network (Highmark Health) and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, as well as the patient advocacy groups American Sleep Apnea Association and COPD Foundation.

"It was enlightening to hear all sides of the story -- the patients', the healthcare providers', and ours, the entrepreneurs!" Ben Bronsther, Co-founder Chrona Sleep

Who was involved in the HealthXL Weekend?

Saturday started with a human centered design workshop led by Denny Royal and Lisa Helminiak , Principal Designer and CEO at Azul7. Having collaborated with Azul7 in the past on empathy mapping and understanding the problem from a much more user-centred approach we felt it was a great way to equip the participants with the toolkits to understand the arising problems from both clinicians and patients. The goal of the weekend was to take the current status quo for diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of sleep disorders (with a particular focus on Sleep Apnea) and understand what are the blockers, barriers and frustrations felt by both the clinicians and patients and then to propose what successful solutions might look like. **We heard from the health care providers.

Clinical discussions, led off by Dr Nancy Foldvary,  Director of Cleveland Clinic Sleep Institute, gave the opportunity for healthcare providers (sleep specialists, dentists, pediatricians, nurses and technologists) to share their opinions on the patient journey and aspects where they find challenges and perhaps digital technology can play a role to improve the situations. To summarise the two biggest points that I took from listening to each clinician speak was Education - medical graduates spend very little time focusing and learning about sleep disorders and thus for those that don’t go on to specialise in this faculty they are poorly equipped with the ability to screen and recognise the symptoms of sleep disorders, especially for patients that have complex comorbidities. Ownership of sleep patients - for those patients who present with multi-morbidities e.g. diabetes or heart failure and also have an underlying sleep disorder who owns the care coordination of this patient and how can these patients better streamline in hospital systems. Both problems, probably not unique to the field of sleep medicine in terms of care coordination and complex chronically ill patients, but given the huge numbers of people affected by sleep disorders they are certainly pressing questions for this forum. We heard from the patients. After a lovely lunch and some great views of Lake Erie from the HIMSS Innovation Centre our attention turned to the patient’s story and their experiences from diagnosis through to current management. The overall sense was frustration; patients were frustrated with speed of diagnosis, treatment options and reimbursement models. Listening to the people speak during this session makes you realise the true impact of sleep disorders, they affect every aspect and stage of a person's life from childhood to senior years.

Equipped with the knowledge of clinician and patient challenges our expert teams composed of clinicians, patients, designers and entrepreneurs set out to identify and prioritize all of the problems associated with diagnosing, treating and  monitoring sleep disorders. Each working group had to select the top 3 challenges they felt was expressed by both clinicians and patients.Day 1 culminated with voting by all present on the top challenge in each section for both clinician and patient. The HealthXL and Azul7 team worked over a beer  to create point of view statements for each challenge statements selected. With Denny and Lisa’s guidance all the generic statements were brought to life. For an example of what the teams got to work with on the Sunday, the top challenge in the diagnosis phase from a patient’s perspective was “time to diagnosis”, this was transformed into Sarah’s story. “Sarah, working mother of two, realizes she is constantly tired from poor sleep and needs a way to be diagnosed quickly and effectively, because she’s frustrated about her condition and needs to be a better mom for her family.”

Turning problems into solutions

After hopefully a good night’s sleep (aided by our meditation session to finish up Saturday), on Day 2 the teams regrouped and started ideation on potential solutions to the prioritized problems. The dynamic teams presented their solutions that addressed clinical and patient needs with the end user in mind. Dr. Frank Papay (Cleveland Clinic), Paolo Appley (LeanDog), Jessica L. Rousset (Children’s Hospital Los Angeles), Patrick Beard (Inspire) and Dr. Todd Coy (Cleveland Clinic) were awarded with the Solve Sleep Ideation Award for their solution ‘My Sleep Health App’. Congratulations!

During the afternoon,start-up companies currently in market addressing sleep disorders presented their products to the Solve Sleep attendees. The solution that was appreciated the most by  the “Solve Sleep” audience was Neuro:on an intelligent sleep mask from Intelclinic which monitors users biosignals and uses light therapy to help users manage sleep. Congratulations to Kamil and Tomasz who presented Neuro:on and won a space at HealthXL’s booth at Cleveland Clinic's Medical Innovation Summit! 

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