TECH in AMERICA (TiA)

SHARING AMERICA'S TECH NEWS FROM THE VALLEY TO THE ALLEY

Scripps names new digital medicine director

by Paul Sisson, courtesy UTSanDiego –

Scripps Health said Tuesday it has hired Dr. Steven Steinhubl as director of its Digital Medicine Program, where his mission will be to help inventors prove that the latest crop of digital medical devices are better than the traditional tools they seek to replace.

Dr. Steven Steinhubl — Courtesy of Scripps Health

Dr. Steven Steinhubl — Courtesy of Scripps Health

Steinhubl will work under Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in San Diego.

Scripps recruited Steinhubl, an interventional cardiologist, from Pennsylvania, where he worked as a clinician and scientist for Geisinger Health System. Before his stint at Geisinger, he spent two years as a vice president for the Medicines Co., where he oversaw the development of anti-clotting medications.

In his newly created position at Scripps, Steinhubl will oversee the design and execution of clinical trials that will test high-tech medical devices like wireless glucose meters that can help a doctor monitor a diabetic’s insulin levels remotely or smartphone-based systems that can read a patient’s heart rhythm.

While these devices have been getting lots of attention, they will not be widely adopted by doctors, or paid for by insurance companies, until real clinical trials have proved conclusively that they work, Steinhubl said.

“Right now there are some spectacularly advanced technological devices available, but with no evidence of how they should be used or how they’re beneficial in a clinical setting,” he said. “Our main focus is to design and run the clinical trials that will figure out where these devices really fit into health care.”

Scripps is embarking on this investigatory mission with financial help from local tech giant Qualcomm which, through its philanthropic foundation, donated $3.75 million to Scripps in 2012. Qualcomm makes its own line of wireless health technology, some of which is being tested locally by Scripps and other health systems.

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