Healthcare Collaborators

By Anna Lynn Spitzer

Eric Marton, executive director of Cedars Sinai's Heart Institute
tries out the exer-gaming project in the eHealth Collaboratory.

Irvine, CA, Oct. 15th, 2014 — A group of physicians and administrators from Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles traveled to Calit2 this week to view projects in the eHealth Collaboratory and discuss potential collaboration with Calit2 researchers. The meeting was the fourth in a series of visits between the two institutions.

“They were very interested in seeing our research projects first-hand and discussing new projects that could help them provide better options for their patients,” said Calit2 Irvine Director G.P. Li. “After spending the morning together, we identified several areas that we are going to explore further.”

The meetings between Calit2 faculty and Cedars-Sinai medical staff began earlier this year. In August, Dr. Bruce Gewertz, Cedars-Sinai’s director of surgery, visited Li and toured the eHealth Collaboratory. He was so impressed, according to Li, he wanted to return with some of his staff. “It’s really hard to get your head around this kind of technology unless you can ‘play’ with it,” Li said. “Seeing is believing.”

EHealth Collaboratory staff demonstrate the MusicGlove, a sensor-laden device and video game,
that helps patients regain hand function after stroke or other impairment.

Gewertz brought several staff members with him this week, including directors of the hospital’s Heart Institute and Regenerative Medicine Institute, as well as legal staff, medical staff and a project efficiency manager. 

EHealth Collaboratory director Mark Bachman took the group through the space on the Calit2 building’s third floor, showing them hearing devices, sensor-laden therapeutic and tracking materials and devices, gaming-connected exercise equipment and more. “I think they have some ideas bubbling up,” Li said after the visit. “They saw what we’re capable of doing and that we have ways to develop the technology to serve the medical field."

Gewertz was enthusiastic about the possibilities as well, commenting on the productivity of the meeting and Calit2’s spirit of collaboration. “I look forward to actualizing (i.e. ‘igniting’) our work together soon,” he wrote in a follow-up email to Li.

Cedars-Sinai director of surgery Bruce Gewertz (third from right) 
was pleased with the meeting's productivity and looks forward 
to additional collaboration.

Plans now call for the Cedars Sinai group to prioritize their “wish list” before the two groups meet again next month; Li hopes work on the projects will begin early next year. “They have ideas about what they’re looking for and we have the capability to produce prototypes,” Li said. 

“We have the bandwidth, we can recruit students to help and we can provide some matching funds through some of our programs, like MDP. That is what Calit2 is all about.”