Clinical decision support tools for rare diseases and syndromes
Note: Ripon Paul was a Business Development Fellow in 2019/20. This interview was conducted in winter 2020.
Ripon Paul is pursuing his M.S. in health informatics with an emphasis on the development of the clinical decision support tools (CDSS) for the screening and detection of rare diseases (RD) and syndromes. Fascinated by the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning and IoT devices in the healthcare industry, Paul chose to study the hybrid science of health information to blend it with his clinical medicine background as a physician.
In a nutshell, describe your project or venture.
I am working on the development of a CDSS to screen patients affected by a genetically inherited mutation on their TP53 gene, leading to Li Fraumeni Syndrome (LFS). Patients and families affected by this mutation have a preponderance to develop multiple cancers over their lifetime. Due to the cost- and resources-related infeasibilities to perform genetic testing on every individual, I am developing a cost-effective and “machine-readable” technology algorithm based on the standard diagnostic criteria of LFS for screening individuals. This algorithm would have the capability of presumptive identification of the patients affected by the TP53 gene mutation.
My goal is to extend this algorithm to other rare diseases for the benefit of patients, society, healthcare providers and industry.
What are you most passionate about in your work?
I am passionate to leverage health information technology in clinical practices to produce products and algorithms to hasten the process of diagnosis making in patients affected by RDs. Scientists and researchers are discovering new therapies and drugs exponentially to effectively manage RDs, so it is vital to diagnose these patients quicker to start those therapies. Additionally, many RDs could be managed with just a few lifestyle or dietary modifications. However, delay in the correct diagnosis leads to unnecessary patients suffering for an extended period of time. I want to reduce this suffering.
What was the most important thing you learned at the Entrepreneurship Academy?
The power of networking. The academy provided me a mindset and tools to broaden my professional network.
The exquisite networking of people, ideas and organizations is the secret sauce to transform thoughts into innovations.
What is the most unexpected advice you received from a mentor?
“Only 10% of people create new knowledge, and 90% of people reuse and refine this knowledge to create innovation.”
“Even if your first project doesn’t succeed, it will teach you many valuable lessons to increase the chances of succeeding in future ventures. Learn from failures; don’t give up!”
What is most valuable about attending classes at the Graduate School of Management alongside MBA students?
To attend classes and work on projects in collaboration with the MBA students is an extraordinary and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This experience allows me to understand the concepts and pillars of business science to commercialize and take clinical health science projects to the profitable market while still serving humanity. The cross-exchange of domain expertise with MBA students—especially marketing and finances—has cleared my doubts about taking my research from the lab to market. I am more comfortable making a business model out of my clinical research.
I learned the importance of the correct configuration and commitment of people, ideas, organizations, technology and resources essential for any successful innovation.
What is the most useful thing you have learned in the GSM classroom?
I had believed that innovation happens only with brand new information and research. However, during class discussions and lectures, I have come to understand that innovations—from the “discovery” of penicillin by Flemming to Steve Job’s Apple store—are the result of “borrowing” and reusing already-existing information from multiple industries to apply in new innovations.
Moreover, I learned the importance of the correct configuration and commitment of people, ideas, organizations, technology and resources essential for any successful innovation.
How is being part of the Fellows community helping you as an aspiring entrepreneur?
I am attending all the meetings and conferences with Business Development and Keller Pathway fellows, guest speakers, entrepreneurs and investors. I am using these meetings as an opportunity to discuss and share my projects and ideas to sharpen my business skills to participate in the Big Bang! Business Competition in the future.
The Business Development Fellowship has further strengthened my ambitions to create cheaper and safer technology products for humanity across the globe.
How will your experiences as a Business Development Fellow help you to change the world?
The planet’s population is growing at a tremendous rate. By 2050 we will be nine billion people sharing essentially the same amount of resources that we have available on the planet today. Longevity has increased—and so have chronic diseases. There will be a shortage of healthcare providers to take care of chronic diseases and aging populations. By leveraging technology to increase automaticity in healthcare, I will contribute to reducing healthcare providers’ burden while improving patient safety and healthcare outcomes.