PhenoMx promises advanced medical imaging, anywhere, anytime
Digital health futurist Maneesh Juneja and medical imaging innovator Mark Punyanitya discuss the future of healthcare and accessibilityShow transcript
“The products and services that will have the biggest impact on our health will not come from healthcare, but from outside of healthcare,” says digital health futurist Maneesh Juneja. As consumers we’re enjoying greater convenience – and we’re beginning to expect the same from healthcare providers. He and Mark Punyanitya – co-founder and CEO of medical imaging platform PhenoMx – discuss the future of healthcare, the need to technological health interventions more accessible, and the technology behind PhenoMx’s offering.
The New Economy: “The products and services that will have the biggest impact on our health will not come from healthcare, but from outside of healthcare.” These are the words of my guest: digital health futurist Maneesh Juneja; joining us also is Mark Punyanitya, co-founder and CEO of medical imaging platform PhenoMx.
Maneesh, tell me more about the innovations that you’re seeing – that are coming from outside of healthcare, but still to improve our health.
Maneesh Juneja: So what we’re seeing is the emergence of things like wearables, we’re seeing consumer health apps, which are being developed by entrepreneurs who are not necessarily part of the healthcare system; all designed to help people have a more convenient way of managing their health, possibly early detection of disease, and possibly even about prevention of disease through behaviour change.
Consumers are saying: hey, we’ve seen through retail, travel, banking, it’s possible to have more convenient products and services. So we’re asking that of healthcare now as well. So we’re starting to see this shift where technology is enabling healthcare to move outside of the hospital, into the home.
The New Economy: Mark, this is one of the places where PhenoMX comes in, because you’re revolutionising the technology that you’re using, to make it vastly more accessible.
Mark Punyanitya: Sure. So at PhenoMX we’re looking to take medical imaging, which traditionally has been quite behind-the-scenes, essentially liberate it, have an opportunity to use it anytime, anywhere. Whether that’s in a large city, a small village, or even a rural environment.
We’re currently using non-invasive MRI scanning to detect different changes in the major vital organs and tissues, to inform your likelihood of Alzheimers, fatty liver disease, or cardiovascular disease.
We look at automating and incrementing the efficiency, taking some of the consumer concepts of software as a service, pay-per-use, the ubiquity of technology, with a cheaper, quicker scan. A five minute liver scan, for example. Or a five minute brain scan. We drive down the cost of getting the scan done.
At this current time we’re still utilising the existing MRI infrastructure. But additionally, we’re looking at hardware that can be priced dramatically differently. Something that would make it possible to put an MRI scanner in the back of a truck, and take it to remote villages.
Being able to do imaging anywhere around the world, the automation we’re applying – whether it’s the software side or the hardware side – will enable a remote village to have the same level of scanning that could be done at a major academic university. Thus enabling remote patient monitoring – but from the inside of the body. The major vital organs and tissues, because of imaging.
The New Economy: And Maneesh, it is important that as well as being physically accessible, these innovative healthcare interventions are more financially accessible?
Maneesh Juneja: Correct, so, a lot of these technologies being developed are essentially only available if you are wealthy, or you live in a certain part of the world. And that’s scaring many people who are saying, we already have these huge social inequalities in health, and we don’t want these new technologies to make them even wider.
Today we’ve got 7.7 billion people on the planet, and there are literally billions that don’t have access to affordable, safe, high quality healthcare. And by the end of this century we’re going to have 11 billion people on this planet forecasted. So there’s a huge need for actually, how can we get as many people around the world to be able to access these new technologies?
The New Economy: Mark, is this sort of healthcare accessibility part of PhenoMx’s mission?
Mark Punyanitya: Absolutely. We’re taking highly advanced imaging capabilities, but using the ubiquity of technology to disperse it, dispense it, anywhere, anytime. Making the gap between the health disparities much closer together. Decreasing the prices, the efficiency, the automation. These are all components that we have expertise in, to make a more seamless user experience, and provide a package that can be implemented worldwide.
Maneesh Juneja: This kind of technology that we’ve been hearing about today could have huge implications to bring safe, high quality healthcare to everybody on the planet.
Think about that person in that village somewhere around the world, who’s living 200km from the nearest city with a big medical centre and all the equipment. If they can have access to these new technologies, and we can actually enable them to detect certain diseases, manage their health, just be able to live a healthier life: I mean that’s absolutely a fabulous idea.
Mark Punyanitya: So, we’re looking outside of the US. In the US it’s early adoption, but we see a broader perspective in Europe, the Middle East, Asia. Where there is a larger population number, but a familiarity with health screening and the ability to acquire data, medical records, bloodwork and things like that.
And we’re using imaging in that same manner. Can we acquire data on your body much more rapidly?
Additionally, we’re looking at public health and population health screening. And wanting to implement something that addresses some of the environmental factors, the social determinants of health, and tie them to these hard outcomes. Whether you’re developing asthma or something else; and then we’re enabling linking that to scanning your lung.
And then being unplugged. Having the same type of wireless capacity to attach it to the scanner, so it doesn’t have to be a hard line. Lots of technology to come that will make a big difference.
The New Economy: Maneesh, Mark, thank you very much.
Maneesh Juneja: Thank you.
Mark Punyanitya: Thank you.