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Cedars-Sinai Accelerator Goes Virtual

Pandemic Highlights Need for Continuous Innovation in Healthcare; Accelerator Class Tackles Chronic Pain Management, Expands Behavioral Health Accessibility, Simplifies Task Management

The Cedars-Sinai Accelerator has selected and welcomed seven startup health-tech companies from across the United States to its newest class.

This year's startup companies are creating high-tech solutions to a wide variety of healthcare challenges–from making behavioral health therapies more accessible to using robots to free up clinicians' time. And this year, in keeping with COVID-19 precautions, it's all virtual.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is transforming the way we look at new technologies and the digital space," said Darren Dworkin, senior vice president of Enterprise Information Services and chief information officer at Cedars-Sinai, who is one of the founders of the accelerator. "Now, more than ever, Cedars-Sinai recognizes the need for innovation, and as a community institution, we feel an obligation to invest in the future, to invest in technologies that improve peoples' lives. New companies bring new ways to engage with patients and we hope to foster that innovation."

Rather than operating out of the Cedars-Sinai Innovation Space in Los Angeles as previous classes did, teams from each company will spend three months working virtually with Cedars-Sinai's network of mentors, including doctors, researchers and administrators.

Now in its fifth year, the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator provides businesses accepted into the program with a $50,000 investment and access to mentorship from some of the most respected healthcare leaders in the nation. At the conclusion of the three-month program, each startup CEO will share their team's progress with an audience of investors, mentors, potential customers and members of the news media at Demo Day.

"I’m excited about the potential for each of these companies to improve care and care delivery for patients and providers, not only at Cedars-Sinai, but across the country," said Anne Wellington, managing director of the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator. "It’s been inspiring to see how our nationwide community of healthcare leaders has been able to engage virtually with this diverse group of entrepreneurs, and how Cedars-Sinai is able to take the lead in continuing to advance this type of innovation.”

The new Cedars-Sinai Accelerator class includes:

Butterflly Health–Leveraging the therapeutic power of peer groups using social media-style tools, Butterflly delivers behavioral health solutions­–including mindfulness therapy, culturally sensitive cognitive behavioral therapy, coaching and teletherapy­­–for underserved children, teens and adults. Co-founded by Areva Martin and Rodney Bell, Butterflly delivers a patient-focused experience that is safe, evidence based, highly personalized, de-stigmatized and designed to fit into a person’s life.

Dieta Health–With no cure for irritable bowel syndrome, yet hundreds of treatment options, including diet adjustments, medications, supplements and lifestyle changes, patients are often confused and overwhelmed with options. Co-founders Asaf Kraus, a data scientist and himself an IBS patient, and software engineer Ben Neigher created an app called Dieta to help people who suffer from IBS to improve their symptoms by providing personalized digestive health recommendations. Dieta captures high-resolution data on a patient’s diet, bowel movements, medications, and other factors, and then uses machine learning to generate precise recommendations for their path to relieving symptoms and improving quality of life.

Diligent Robotics–Diligent Robotics is an artificial intelligence company creating robot assistants that help healthcare workers with routine tasks so they can focus on patient care. Co-founded by robotics experts Andrea Thomaz, PhD, and Vivian Chu, PhD, Diligent's first product, Moxi, is a hospital robot assistant that performs non-patient-facing tasks like gathering supplies and bringing them to patient rooms, delivering lab samples, fetching items from central supply, and removing soiled linen bags.

Dock Health–Dock Health is a task management and collaboration platform built to help healthcare teams work better together. Co-founders Michael Docktor, MD, Nitin Gujral and Keather Roemhildt aim to utilize thoughtful design and simplicity in their web and mobile app to solve workflow challenges with the goal of freeing up more of clinicians' time for face-to-face patient care.

Fathom–Translating information about a patient's medical care from their medical record into billing codes is a critical part of healthcare infrastructure. Fathom uses artificial intelligence to take a "first pass" at certain medical coding tasks, allowing human medical coders to focus on the most critical charts. Co-founded by Andrew Lockhart and Christopher Bockman, the company's system can reduce coding costs by up to 70%.

Repisodic–Repisodic aims to simplify the patient discharge process and minimize readmissions by helping care teams manage patient discharges. The Repisodic platform generates a list of customized post-acute care provider options for the patient based on information such as insurance accepted, clinical services offered and driving distance, while highlighting providers the health system has partnered with, allowing the patient to receive quality care in the community. Co-founders Mike Cwalinski Jr. and Ryan Miller launched the company in 2017.

Upside Health–Chronic pain can be complicated and difficult for patients to manage, and frustrating and intensive for clinicians to treat. Upside Health co-founders Rachel Trobman, Jason Trobman and Ofer Wellisch, MD, have created a patient-facing platform called "Branch" to help clinicians monitor and manage patients' chronic pain care. It uses both self-reported and passively collected data to deliver targeted educational content, rewards for functional achievements, resiliency training and an active community support system to help sufferers manage their conditions, and helps health systems reduce the cost and time burden associated with pain care.

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Demo Day Highlights Healthcare Innovation