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Engaging Our Colleagues

Health Care 2.0

F2 Solutions develops algorithm to diagnose faint and fall syndrome


ainting and falling are two of the most difficult medical conditions to diagnose. They have many causes, and they are often interrelated.

Sometimes the causes are neurological, sometimes they are heart-related, sometimes they are both – and sometimes they are something else altogether.

The condition becomes more problematic when considering the trouble patients must endure to receive a helpful diagnosis. They usually must see several specialists at different clinics over the course of weeks or months, and even then they may not get a satisfactory explanation.

Mohamed Hamdan, M.D., a cardiologist at the University of Utah School of Medicine, believes he has the solution, and his efforts to help patients are well underway.

After years of careful examination, Hamdan determined the best method was to create an algorithm that would follow professional guidelines and help doctors diagnose pa- tients with faint and fall symptoms.

“I came to the realization that patients with fainting spells and falls are often poorly managed,” Hamdan said. “Historically, these people undergo several unnecessary tests and are admitted to hospitals for observa- tion when in the majority of cases, there is little evidence that this approach improves outcome.”

The algorithm started as a flowchart. From there, Hamdan sought help from the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute at the Univer- sity of Utah. Programmers there helped Hamdan write the computer code and develop a web platform for deploying the algorithm. Hamdan also worked with the Technology Commercialization Office at the U to protect his intellectual property rights.

Meanwhile, Hamdan earned an MBA from the David Eccles School

of Business, where he honed his business skills and learned some valuable marketing lessons.

The result of these efforts is the startup company F2 Solutions, which launched in 2010. Hamdan’s business partner is Michele Brignole, M.D., a colleague based in Lavagna, Italy. Their first client is the University of Utah, which agreed to open the first Faint and Fall Center, a name that Hamdan trademarked.

The U’s Faint and Fall Center opened in fall 2010, and it provides many benefits. Patients are seen within 24-48 hours of scheduling. They can see all the specialists they need in one location. And the center uses the F2 Solutions algorithm to speed and improve diagnoses.

F2 Solutions’s algorithm is basically a deci- sion tree based on medical standards in the U.S. and Europe. After completing a patient’s history, physical exam and the necessary tests, hospital staff input this information into the

program, which then suggests a diagnosis. In addition, all the patient data in the system are stored for use in future diagnoses. In other words, the algorithm gets smarter the more it’s used.

Hamdan is preparing several studies on these subjects. His initial findings indicate the algorithm and new Faint and Fall Center are successful. They improve patient care, speed treatment, lower costs and help increase hospital efficiency.

If all goes as planned, Hamdan hopes to see Faint and Fall Centers, using the F2 Solutions software, in every major hospital in the U.S. and Europe. There is a long way to go before this happens, but other doctors and hospi- tals have already shown interest.

“Our goal with F2 Solutions is to create the tools needed for health-care providers to im- prove the management of patients with faint and fall symptoms,” Hamdan said. “The tools provided by F2 Solutions basically bring the practice closer to the professional guidelines.”

F2 Solutions’s

algorithm is used by hospital personnel through a web interface .




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