SORA using K-State engineering, Olathe campus to improve health care

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

OLATHE — A local biotechnology company is using Kansas State University's expertise and resources to improve health care.

SORA Medical Solutions LLC, an Overland Park-based company founded by five physicians, is using research space at Kansas State University's Olathe campus to develop its clinical decision support software called ApolloMED. The software helps physicians efficiently and accurately make a medical diagnosis and treatment plan based on standardized diagnostics and treatments. According to the company's website, nearly 12 million people in the U.S. receive an incorrect diagnosis or have symptoms of a harmful disease that goes undetected.

SORA is working with David Ben-Arieh and Chih-Hang "John" Wu, Kansas State University professors of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering and directors of the Health Care Operations Resource Center — or H-COR — which seeks to address operation inefficiencies in health care. They are collaborating on accurately detecting and diagnosing sepsis, an often fatal disease. Sepsis is a result of chemicals released to fight infection that end up creating a systemic inflammatory response.

"Sepsis has a very clear set of symptoms but is very difficult for physicians to detect," Ben-Arieh said. "Catching sepsis in the early stages is critical because it is contagious and can lead to shock, disability or death in a patient."

Ben-Arieh and colleagues in electrical and computer engineering and computing and information sciences developed several models that accounted for the risk and spread of sepsis. Researchers are working with SORA to look at how quickly the ApolloMED software detects sepsis symptoms.

While the data analysis is being conducted at Kansas State University's Manhattan campus, the university's Olathe campus provides SORA an access point to the resources in Manhattan, as well as a pipeline of students in the biomedical and engineering fields, said Rebecca MacKinnon, business strategy consultant for SORA.

"This is a great example of how a business in the early stages of commercialization is leveraging the resources and skills at K-State and its connection to Kansas City with K-State Olathe," MacKinnon said. "From our perspective, this collaboration has really been fantastic as we build our company."

The ApolloMED app is being tested in limited use scenarios in the Greater Kansas City area and rural access points in Kansas. Current tests look at the workflow of physicians, how the physicians interact with the app, and the app's integration with electronic medical records.

Photo credit: NEC-Medical-133 via photopin (license)