Shark Tank Finalists Dive into Innovation

February 25, 2021


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Innovation has become a staple of daily life during the pandemic. In post-acute and long-term care, practitioners and others have had to consider how to work, communicate, interact, document, help, support, and share in new ways. The four finalists in AMDA’s 2021 Shark Tank Competition, which will be held Tuesday, March 9, from 7:00 to 8:30 PM ET, are natural innovators. They’ve devised solutions to problems and created better processes, tools, and resources to master challenging tasks:

  • founders saw a problem and devised a solution. As co-founder Lara McKee says, “We knew that it was a huge problem for practitioners and teams to manage communication; it’s often very disjointed, siloed, and time-consuming. Many [individuals and organizations] are still using old methods including fax and phone calls. We decided there had to be a better way.” Enter, a streamlined HIPAA-compliant communication platform that enables everyone to spend less time on communication challenges and more time caring for patients. It is a person-centered messaging hub that organizes communication, stratifies and visualizes patient risk, and engages the workforce so they spend more time caring for patients and less time chasing each other. The web and mobile apps allow everyone on a care team to organize their communications around individual patients that may span across the care continuum (hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, at home, etc.). “The AMDA audience is so important to us. They have been on the front lines throughout this pandemic, and we are pleased to be able to present them with something that can save them time and eliminate many communication-related worries and hassles,” says co-founder Asif Khan.
  • “I’m a clinician and saw many patients in nursing homes. When I had to visit multiple facilities, I had to use different EMRs to document my visits. I spent a lot of time and energy getting my progress notes into the system,” says iTreatMD co-founder George Krucik, MD. iTreatMD provides a single universal tool to create a clinician note using evidence-based best practices as a guide. Notes then may be automatically sent to any interoperable EMR, hospital, skilled nursing facility, or referring clinician. This point-of-care app is easy to use, powerful, and secure (its universal tool resides on a cloud-based workflow platform). Dr. Krucik notes, “Our application is an important improvement that can simplify documentation and save clinicians huge amounts of time and frustration. It frees them for more direct patient care and solves the age-old problem of having to deal with multiple EMRs.” Company co-founder and CEO Nibha Aggarwal says. “The Shark Tank gives us a unique stage to reach AMDA members and help them see how this innovation can reduce documentation time significantly while increasing revenue.”
  • “We’re on a mission to give everyone the ability to eat independently, with ease and dignity,” says Meal Lifter™ founder Anne Royer. The company has a product that makes dining easier for those challenged with feeding themselves. In many ways, Meal Lifter™ was an innovation of love. She explains that her mother-in-law had Parkinson’s disease and, as her disease progressed, it was increasingly difficult for her to feed herself. Ms. Royer says, “She was so embarrassed, and she was losing weight. We wanted to do something to make her life better. We developed an aid to enable people to eat easier and better by increasing the visibility of the dinner plate and reducing the arm and hand movements required to feed oneself,” she says. The product, simple but innovative, has gained attention from organizations and individuals who care for people with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions that make it challenging for people to feed themselves. It also saves staff time, says Ms. Royer, which is particularly significant during crises such as the pandemic when facilities are short staffed and caregivers are overburdened. “Being in the Shark Tank competition gives us an opportunity to get in front of an important audience of professionals caring for our most vulnerable Americans. Whatever happens, we are honored to be part of this,” Ms. Royer says.
  • Memory Well grew out of founder and CEO Jay Newton-Small’s experience with her father when he entered long-term care and she wanted to ensure his care staff understood him. She wrote his story down; and the poignant, powerful narrative helped caregivers really know him. Ms. Newton-Small realized many great stories were being lost and needed to be captured and told. The result was Memory Well. The web-based platform creates connections, whether with paid caregivers or grandchildren and others. “We build bonds and empathy, start conversations and preserve history,” she says. “I am excited to be part of this program; and I look forward to the opportunity to get to know AMDA and its members,” Newton-Small says. “We often hear from physicians how important these stories are and how they change relationships with patients.” This is a perfect fit for the world of person-centered care, personalized medicine, and value-based care, she suggests. She adds, “We can identify social determinants of health issues for each individual and help providers get ahead of these and better align interventions.”

Presentations by the finalists will be pre-recorded and shown during the program. Then the audience will have an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback virtually at the conclusion of each innovator pitch. The audience will also be asked to vote for their choice to win the competition as the “Audience Choice.” Although the Competition is free for anyone to attend, only those registered for AMDA's PALTC21 Annual Conference will be eligible to vote. Following the Competition, those who attended and have registered for the Annual Conference will be sent a link via email to vote for their choice to win. A panel of esteemed judges will select a second winner for the “Judge’s Choice.” Liz Jensen, RN, MSN, RN-BC, chair of AMDA’s Innovations Platform Advisory Council (IPAC), will monitor the Shark Tank program.

Register now to attend. Attendance is free and open to anyone.