MATTER opens simulation studio for healthtech entrepreneurs

04Meg Graham, Blue Sky Innovation, 11/4/2015

Photo: Kristen NormanPhoto: Kristen Norman  Dr. James Madara, CEO of the AMA, speaks at the opening of the AMA Interaction Studio.

When trying to start patient-referral startup Fibroblast, Scott Vold says he and his co-founder had to “barge in” to clinics to ask doctors and staff for feedback on the platform.

To bridge that divide, Matter announced a partnership with the American Medical Association in February to build the “physician office of the future.” The 450-square-foot facility officially opened with an event Tuesday night.

“If you’re an entrepreneur, you need access to physicians [and] you need access to industry leaders in order to develop your solution,” Matter CEO Steve Collens ⇒ said. “But if you’re an entrepreneur … and you go knock on the door of a physician office or you go knock on the door of Northwestern or NorthShore, you’re not going to have a great response.”

The new studio includes areas that mimic a waiting room, office area and examining area, with the intent of allowing startups to connect with physicians in-person and virtually to test products in a simulated setting.

Entrepreneurs can use technology like a medical imaging device using Echopixel, for example, to explore a CT scan in 3D or pick up a virtual aneurysm with a wand. Nearby sits an exam chair with a built-in scale and blood pressure monitoring, which can send data to an electronic medical record at the push of a button, Collens said.

The room also includes ContextMedia screens and an area where entrepreneurs can discuss products with physicians using video conferencing. During the event, metaME Health founder and CEO Danny Bernstein discussed his product with a Northwestern physician to simulate how he might work with clinicians to refine his product without leaving Matter. MetaME builds software that helps patients manage diseases like IBS.

“You close the door and you can go through, have a production session, look at refinements and move forward,” he said.

Dr. James Madara, CEO of the American Medical Association, said many companies attempt to launch products without the help of the medical community but aren’t tapped into how things really work. The AMA is also building a community of physicians to work with Matter startups.

“To be there at the creation of the idea — you don’t get products that are 10, 20, 30 degrees off,” he said.