Thursday, March 4, 2021
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Director of Center for Health Insights enters medical competition

Mark Hoffman, UMKC’s director of the Center for Health Insights is taking part in the “Wearables in Healthcare Pilot Challenge.” According to medstro.com, the contest is open to all individuals with “ideas to use wearables to improve patient outcomes, population health, physician workflow and job satisfaction and/or decrease healthcare cost.” Winners of the initial seven awards offered will be given a chance to pitch their ideas to Google’s Boston headquarters in hopes of receiving up to $10,000 for their projects.

Hoffman’s two entries were ranked in the top five of 89 total entries, and both were leading in their categories in late March. Hoffman entered two emerging devices – Wristify cooling/heating and a Wearable thermometer.

The Wristify device is designed to provide relief for patients with dysautonomia, a condition that interferes with one’s ability to regulate body temperature. Relief for the condition generally requires the use of temporary heating or cooling pads and/or the alteration of temperature in a large space. The Wristify would make relief more easily accessible for patients.

Hoffman’s Wearable thermometer is also designed to aid patients with dysautonomia. The thermometer captures a continuous stream of body surface temperature readings of the wearer in order to establish what a “personal normal” body temperature is for a person with dysautonomia.

Hoffman’s work is inspired by the struggles of his church choir director’s three grandchildren. The children suffer from dysautonomia and are unable to cool down when they become warm.

Hoffman has been at UMKC since 2013, and currently serves as the director of Translational Bioinformatics at Children’s Mercy hospital. Before coming to UMKC, Hoffman spent 16 years working on genomics, public health and research initiatives as a vice president at Cerner.

The grand prize winner of the challenge will be announced on Apr. 23.

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