Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Systems-based Approach to Product Design and Development in Patient–centric Health Care

By Lois Slavin, SDM Communications Director

Anand Yadav
A systems-based approach to product design and development in connected health will be the topic for the March 25, 2013 offering of the MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series. Anand Yadav, SDM alumnus and co-founder/product lead of Neumitra, will discuss how the company is developing a patient-centric product for healthy behaviors with aggregate analytics for clinicians to evaluate the effects of medications, therapies, and treatments. Pre-registration is required and can be completed here.

The product, named "bandu," is designed to fit into watch and bracelet templates and continuously measures the autonomic nervous system. The biosensing technology connects to a smartphone app to help the wearer stay healthy and productive. The autonomic nervous system is the body's regulatory mechanism for controlling heart rate, respiration, and perspiration. Variations in symptoms are associated with stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, digestion, blood pressure, and other health metrics. Studies are underway to examine a wide range of symptoms from our stressful daily lives.

The technologies behind bandu monitor real-time changes in the user's motion, temperature, and skin conductance to encourage healthy habits including exercising, practicing meditation, and listening to music. During daily life events, the watch-based biosensor alerts the wearer with suggestions on how to increase health, productivity, and happiness. The resulting data is used to triage medical care, evaluate treatment options, and identify pain points.

During this webinar, Yadav will:
  • provide an overview of brain health challenges, the current state of brain treatments, and the opportunities for innovation;
  • describe Neumitra's technologies and their goals to address daily life demands and encourage healthy habits at home, during work, and for fun;
  • discuss the product development strategy that addresses the needs of clinicians and patients; and
  • describe an approach used in developing a connected health device balancing strict regulatory requirements with user-driven experiences and aesthetics at an affordable cost.
Yadav, then a SDM fellow, and co-founder Robert Goldberg, a neuroscientist, met at MIT in the Neurotechnology Ventures course taught by Ed Boyden and Joost Bonsen. They currently lead a team of engineers in driving the growth of their operations. Neumitra was founded to blend eastern and western approaches to medicine with "Neu" coming from the Latin for "new" and "mitra" from the Sanskrit for "friend". They soon realized the subtle homage to the Institute as well. The company has received seed funding from the founders of Boston Scientific and Yahoo and has won several prestigious awards. The company's technologies are inspired by the effects of mental health treatments on their family members and the benefits of daily exercise, meditation, and even music in their personal lives. Yadav is a mechanical engineer who previously led an engineering group at The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. As a team member at the Whitehead Institute, Yadav helped developed a large-scale automated system for the Human Genome Project. He is deeply motivated to bring the benefits of meditation to daily life.

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