Editorial: Birmingham's Innovation Depot

Editorial: Birmingham's Innovation Depot

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The following is an editorial from FOX6 WBRC-TV General Manager Lou Kirchen, first aired on Tuesday, March 18, 2014.

Imagine, if you will, for a moment, that someone you love, an aging parent, is taking multiple medications…some of the pills look virtually the same, but must be taken at different times in the day to insure they don't interact adversely with each other and cause your loved one to end up in the hospital or worse.

Then introduce a new home health care nurse to the situation, who's seeing the medication for the first time. What if the nurse could put those pills on a tray side by side and take a photo via an app on her phone, and within seconds, be able to not only identify all of the pills but also identify any dangerous interactions among them. In fact, the leading cause of hospital and emergency room re-admissions is due to just that…dangerous interactions with prescription drugs.

Well, this potentially life-saving technology is available right now. It's called Med Snap ID. But, where was it developed…in Boston…in the Silicon Valley? No, it was created right here in Birmingham at the Innovation Depot. It's just one of the many revolutionary and evolutionary products being developed there.

The concepts of research and technology seem pretty vague to most of us, but the products and services that are created at the Innovation Depot are, in the words of its President and CEO, Devon Laney, "the embodiment of the research and technology at UAB," its partner. These are products that have real, practical applications both nationally and internationally.

Innovation Depot houses 91 companies employing 550 people, creating amazing products, getting recognition, and drawing entrepreneurs from around the country to Birmingham. This is just a taste of all of the exciting innovation being done here. Mr. Laney says we should be aware of what is happening here and be proud of it! I agree!

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