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Medicine Matters Home Education Augmenting Reality with Pokemon and EPIC: What’s Next?

Augmenting Reality with Pokemon and EPIC: What’s Next?

wbalIs there an ICD-10 code for technological phobias? I may have it. My diagnosis dates back to 1993, when I first encountered email. As a Duke intern, I was consumed by admissions and blood draws and distracted by my fellow intern who sat banging on a keyboard. He introduced me to “this new amazing technology,” claiming that it would change the way we communicate.  Declaring it folly, I went back to my late-night blood draws for fever.  This night set the pace for my technologic savvy: reluctantly catching up. I know I’m not alone.

Technology now drives both social and professional change. One relevant example is the Pokemon Go craze. People use the app to hunt strange electronic figures ‘hidden’ within our real world, providing an “augmented reality” experience. Businesses are strategizing on how to leverage a new Pokemon Go to get more foot traffic, creating a new word: Pokeconomy. WBALTV and the most recent issue of Inside Hopkins reported that Pokemons can be found inside our hospital, creating new incentives for patient ambulation. Is this Poketherapy?

While the world is consumed with digital creatures, we struggle to adapt EPIC into inpatient workflow. EPIC may indeed be our EMR version of augmented reality. Is it coincidence or a conspiracy that brought us these technological innovations during the same week? We’re now firmly planted in a world in which digital technology anchors healthcare innovations, enhancing implementation, assisting decision-making and connecting stakeholders. Here are some tips for developing the next digital health innovations at JHU:

  • Engage JHU experts early. The Technology Innovation Center ( is a multidisciplinary software development group and collaboration center with expertise that is critical for navigating the complex digital and data environment at JHU.
  • Security is of primary concern. Many good ideas don’t move forward due to potential HIPAA concerns. This is one reason to work with JHU experts early.
  • Consider deployment and business models. Is this a product (app), business or research tool? Colleagues in the Business Development Office are available to help think through these important questions (
  • Think about IP and whether the electronic functionality presents enhanced regulatory concerns. The FDA has published guidance for mobile medical applications. Experts in JHTV are good resources.

Questions? DOM Vice Chairs in Innovation and Commercialization (Jay Pasricha and Kieren Marr) and Data Integrity and Analytics (Stuart Ray) may be able to help.

-Kieren Marr, Associate Vice Chair for Innovation and Commercialization (InCMed)


Kelsey Bennett