The Los Angeles-based University of Southern California (USC) Center for Body Computing (CBC) and the Special Hope Foundation announced a collaborative partnership to advance the development of digital health tools and services to meet the needs of persons with disabilities.
The CBC is the digital health innovation incubator unit of the Keck Medicine of USC medical enterprise, while the Silicon Valley-based Special Hope Foundation has served as a leading advocate for filling a void in America’s healthcare system. That void is in addressing the needs of people with developmental disabilities — a diverse range of chronic disorders associated with mental and/or physical impairments such as cerebral palsy, autism and Down Syndrome.
The CBC cites a U.S. Census Bureau metric estimating that some 48.9 million Americans — almost one in five residents — live with a disability. To fill the void and provide a voice for these individuals in the rapidly evolving field of digital health, the Special Hope Foundation chose the USC CBC as its partner in working to create and enhance awareness in companies that focus on digital health product development. The collaborative partnership’s mission is to encourage these companies to include in their design and marketing considerations related to digital health products and services the needs of people with developmental disabilities.
Since its founding in 2006 as one of America’s first academically affiliated digital health innovation centers, the USC CBC has been a global leader in digital health tool innovation with projects such as wearable devices, smartphone apps, and social media contentment — products and devices for assisting a wide range of healthcare populations, including people with chronic conditions, top-tier athletes, wounded warriors and others.
Through collaboration with both private and public companies, the USC CBC has developed and conducted programs designed to synthesize technology, business, engineering, entertainment, design and medicine into new healthcare delivery paradigms, and have developed tools and programs that disrupt existing healthcare models, and enhance quality of life of persons living with disabilities. It also has become the country’s first formalized training institution for young physicians interested in learning the use of digital health tools with its announcement of the nation’s first Digital Health Fellowship earlier this year.
“By partnering with The Special Hope Foundation and embracing the needs of millions of Americans with disabilities, we extend our role as a leading international center for digital health innovation,” said Leslie Saxon, MD, founder and executive director of USC CBC, in a press release. “People with disabilities are a vibrant part of our communities and we believe encouraging companies to develop digital health tools with them in mind will enhance the efficacy and impact of the power of digital health for everyone.”
“We know that health care is shifting dramatically over the next 15-20 years and the key role that technology will play in our communities of those with disabilities,” added Lynne O’Hara, executive director of The Special Hope Foundation. “Our strategic partnership with the USC Center for Body Computing gives us an insider position to influence and leverage relationships with other USC CBC members for the good of all everyone whether they are a weekend golfer, a youth soccer player, a Special Olympics athlete or a ‘couch potato’ should have the tools that enhance their health care and their lives,” said O’Hara.
The USC CBC’s collaborative research and development partners include leading innovators in various industries including AliveCor, Apple, BMW, Boston Scientific, Karten Design, IMS Health, Medable, Medtronic, NFL, Proteus Digital Health, Sanofi, VSP Global and others.
The USC CBC recently announced its Virtual Care Clinic, a first of its kind digital health platform that coordinates the multi-disciplinary expertise unique to USC, including medical and scientific experts at Keck Medicine of USC, the USC Roski Eye Institute, and the USC Institute of Urology, along with the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. Other projects include USC partners, such as the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, USC Cinematic Arts and USC Stevens Center for Innovation.
Click on this link to watch Lynne O’Hara of The Special Hope Foundation and Dr. Leslie Saxon of the USC Center for Body Computing discuss their new partnership.