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Pau Soler

Co-founder de MIRU Medical Systems

Pau Soler is the co-founder at MIRU Medical Systems. He has a degree in Telecommunications Engineering and a PhD in Medical Imaging. He later complemented his professional degree with training in marketing and entrepreneurship in the United States. Influenced by his father, a doctor and inventor, Soler has found a way to combine his two callings: generating value through a company that applies medical technology to benefit society. 

MIRU Medical Systems was created when Pau Soler and Josep Rodiera, head of Anesthesiology at Teknon Medical Center, joined forces. The two of them launched this entrepreneurial project that seeks to optimize medical processes related with anesthesia in order to ensure patient safety at all times.

The company is currently developing three projects: .doseok, .aims and .view. The latter has been in the media lately for its innovative app for Google Glass that helps medical professionals while preforming surgery.

MIRU will present all three of their products at the European Society of Anesthesiology (ESA) fair that will be held in Stockholm from 31 May to 4 June.

In 2012, MIRU Medical Systems was the first runner-up for the BioEmprenedorXXI awards. You received €10,000 for the .doseok project, an intravenous port that ensures proper dosage of medications. What impact did this contest have?

BioEmprendorXXI was a very significant boost, it was the embryo and helped us decide to jump into the deep end. It gave us six months with a mentor and helped us structure our ideas, to see that our proposal was viable and to develop our business plan. Since then, we’ve been working on .doseok, which detects and registers anything the patient is injected with in order to prevent human error. It isn’t available on the market yet because testing and certification processes in the medical arena are slow and products must be very robust; they can't fail.

How has MIRU Medical Systems evolved since participating in BioEmprenedorXXI?

From .doseok, we developed an associated IT system, .aims. This software stores all information regarding anesthesia throughout the surgery, acting like a black box for the whole process. At MIRU we are trying to have machines do the heavy lifting so that the professionals can focus on patients. For me it’s a personal view of technology: we apply engineering to solve problems.

The new app you’ve designed is called .view and allows anesthesiologists to see the patient’s vital signs in Google Glass instead of on an external monitor. How did you come up with this idea and how can it improve the work done in the operating room?

It all started with Dr. Josep Rodiera’s desire to ensure patient safety at all times. We have to remember that we are human beings and, therefore, can make mistakes. In medicine, however, any mistake can have tragic consequences. And while we were thinking about this issue, Google Glass appeared, offering a great opportunity to innovate in order to help medical professionals. With these glasses, anesthesiologists no longer have to turn around to look at the monitors. They can easily read the most important information without taking their eyes off the patient.

It’s not about trying to force Google Glass on anyone. It’s just that we saw it was a good way to allow professionals to do their work more comfortably. But this project has had a huge impact in the media, more than any of the others that also have really good medical applications. But we welcome the press!

The media interest may be due to the fact that no one expected to see Google Glass used in medicine yet.

Maybe so, but really Google Glass is being used more for professional than personal activities right now. One great advantage of the glasses is that they free up your hands, and in the medical arena that can be highly advantageous.

To design applications in the health arena, you need a multidisciplinary team to cover both medical and technical issues. Tell us about the MIRU team.

MIRU is a small group of four engineers and IT specialists. We’re a multidisciplinary team, not so much in regards to our training but to the fact that we are creative and each of us is multidisciplinary on an individual level. Complementing this work, we have a couple of people who work on marketing and design, and another working on user experience.

What new technological applications would you highlight in the medical arena?

On one hand, anything related with monitoring patients, because we understand more and can better control the body’s processes. And also robotics applied to medicine. We need go no further than the incision needed to operate, which before had to be as big as the surgeon’s hand and can now be minimal thanks to endoscopic operations. Robots bring a higher level of precision than humans can.

From another angle, "Big Data" is also drastically changing the state of things. We look at specific medical histories, but if we can group together all of the cases in the world and analyze that data, we would gain significant knowledge. The Multicenter Perioperative Outcomes Group (MPOG) at the University of Michigan registers the characteristics of cases in which patients die on the operating table without an obvious cause. This data is highly valuable and can be shared with other hospitals to be analyzed, look for patterns and, ideally, avoid similar deaths.

Another case would be applying engineering to develop low-cost technology to help countries with more limited economic resources. For example, a paper microscope has been created that costs less than one dollar and can detect bacteria like Escherichia coli or Chagas disease. Inventions like these can save many lives.

Despite all of this, there are still problems to solve, like for example automatization in hospitals or processes in need of optimization. If the bureaucratic side is easier and faster, medical staff can devote more time to patient care.

Give us your predictions: How do you think technology and new applications will change the state of medical devices?

Technology will increasingly be applied in the medical arena. In the middle term, we could see an instant messaging system for healthcare professionals to consult each other on complicated cases. Why should they have to make difficult decisions on their own? The immediacy we already have on our cell phones could be incorporated for use among medical professionals.

We will also see innovations to prevent problems before they occur. Right now medicine is reactive, meaning that it acts when something happens. But it is possible, when we know more about our body, that we will be able to predict the problems that will develop and curb them before they affect us.

In the long term, there is a wide range of speculations. Some experts at Singularity University believe that by 2045 we will no longer depend on our biological platform, meaning our body. It’s just an estimate but they predict that by then we will understand how the brain works and therefore be able to transfer it to a computer and live in a virtual world.

Another prediction focuses on how we deal with people: technology will automatize processes, giving medical staff more time to treat patients and allowing medicine to take on a more holistic function.

There will be more innovations; each year we’ll see new ones and they’ll advance ever faster. We’ll continue adapting!

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