Most Innovative Companies 2012 - Industries Top 10 - Healthcare

Top 10 Healthcare

01 - National Marrow Donor Program
For matching technology with critical transplant needs. In the U.S. alone, 10,000 people a year require a bone-marrow transplant, but less 5,600 are performed worldwide. NMDP’s tech upgrade has cut the time to transplant by 15% and incorporated new algorithms to find the best donor matches. And social media campaigns have increased annual donations by up to 60 percent and given NMDP access to 18.5 million candidates. The program’s donor registry, says Greg Bourdeau in donor services at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, is "the fundamental go-to tool for any transplant-center search department." READ MORE

02 - Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospitals
For bringing high-quality medical care to Indians' doorsteps. In addition to its network of hospitals offering everything from heart surgery to dialysis, the low-cost, high-volume provider started a new program last December called Home Health Care Services. Professionals administer care and treat minor illnesses in people's homes, curbing long and costly trips to distant and crowded hospitals. READ MORE

03 - Walgreens
The $70 billion company, the largest drug store chain in the U.S., is redefining the role of pharmacists and the pharmacy itself. Its new store design moves them out from behind the counter, freeing them from some administrative tasks and making them more available as frontline health-care consultants. In new private and semi-private rooms, they can review customer’s medications and administer blood pressure and blood-glucose tests. The overall emphasis of the stores, which feature a more open layout, is wellness. Walgreens is adding fresh food to its shelves and designating an iPad-equipped health guide to serve as a roaming health help desk for customers.

04 - Castlight Health
For bringing easy comparison-shopping to choosing a doctor. Most people are loath to hunt for a medical bargain. They associate high prices with quality care. Castlight, which began offers online tools that put that assumption to the test. When companies sign on, their employees can compare prices and patients’ quality rating for various providers, a boon given that individuals increasingly pay more through high-deductible plans. The rates are derived from a database of what employers have paid in the past.

05 - AssistiveWare
For creating apps which speak for people who can’t. Assistwave, based in the Netherlands, calls its product Proloquo—Latin for speak out loud. Its specialized software line converts text to speech for people with autism, ALS, or other speech-impairing conditions. The programs work on an iPad and other mobile devices, a less expensive option than conventional medical equipment. Proloquo predicts words as you go, facilitating communication for a child with autism using a keypad or for someone who’s paralyzed and uses a muscle-activated sensor to manipulate the mouse-like on-screen pointer.

06 - IBM
For applying its supercomputer Watson to unravel complex diagnosis and treatment. Its "Jeopardy!" cameo was fun, but the value of IBM’s high-profile supercomputer lies in solving real-world problems. In a partnership with insurance giant WellPoint, which has the most members in the U.S., Watson will be used to do what even the best doctors can’t: analyze up to 200 million pages of medical research and make a diagnosis—within a few seconds. That could lead to faster diagnosis of complex symptoms and ultimately better treatments. The program begins this year at a number of cancers centers.

07 - Össur
For building the "smart" knee, the first motorized, personalized prosthesis. The Icelandic company’s breakthrough device uses highly sophisticated motion sensors to measure the knee’s position and the force applied to it. The information is relayed wirelessly to an embedded computer, which uses artificial intelligence to formulate and predict the appropriate physical response. The AI also analyzes the person’s gait, "learning" their individual movements and adjusting, reducing stress on the rest of the body.

08 - Heritage Provider Network
For funding a data-mining competition to reduce unnecessary hospital visits. It’s the Netflix Prize for health care. Just as Netflix spurred the development of a more accurate predictor of movie preferences, Heritage is out to spark the creation of an algorithm that analyzes historical patient data and predicts how many days someone winds up in a hospital in a year. Based on that information, health-care providers can work backwards, trying to prevent medical emergencies. The grand prize is $3 million for the winning team, but the benefit of reducing hospital stays could be in the billions.

09 - Esri
For jump-starting "geo-medicine" with maps revealing health risks by location.
The world’s largest mapping software company provides tools for "disease surveillance" to connect the dots between illness and geography. In the big picture, this sort of medical intelligence allows health officials to identify patterns and target care. On an individual level, it redefines the notion of a medical history. In addition to genes and lifestyle, where you live and what you’re exposed to in that environment can tell a doctor what to watch for.

10 - 3M
For developing a cardiology-grade electronic stethoscope to elevate telemedicine.
Audio quality often suffers when stethoscopes are used in telemedicine. 3M’s device combines a digital sensor and noise-reduction technology to produce high-quality heart and lung sounds. They can be streamed via Bluetooth to one or more specialists located elsewhere, allowing remote patients access to top-notch care, whether they’re in Canada, where telemedicine is common across the dispersed population, or even in outer space. Last year, doctors in Japan used 3M’s Littmann scope to monitor astronauts on the International Space Station.

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