Dr. Caleb Hernandez
chief medical officer of CertaDose
Some of health tech’s brightest minds have risen to prominence courtesy of innovation contests sponsored by big pharma. And so it was with Hernandez, whose Certa Dose pediatric dosing system won Johnson & Johnson’s Advancing the Safe Use of Healthcare Products QuickFire Challenge last November. Certa Dose, whose flagship tech color-codes – and thus simplifies – the process for calculating milligrams per kilogram body weight, received its share of spoils: $100,000 in research grants, plus mentoring from experts at J&J and its JLabs innovation arm.
Like many health tech innovators, Hernandez built his idea off a novel and somewhat terrifying experience: He saved a child’s life by catching a misdosing of 10 times the intended amount of medicine. “Hundreds of thousands of children are injured and roughly 7,000 kids die each year from medical dosing errors,” he said upon winning the J&J competition. “The Certa Dose system offers a simple, intuitive way to quickly and accurately administer medications to kids in need, and studies show our system reduces critical dosing errors.”
Joanne Waldstreicher, M.D., J&J’s chief medical officer, added that Certa Dose’s fix was true to the spirit of the innovation competition. “With prescription medication errors causing at least one death every day and injuring approximately 1.3 million people each year, our goal was to positively impact health outcomes by connecting with entrepreneurs, academics, scientists, engineers, or startup companies who are advancing exciting new solutions in medication safety,” she explained.
Hernandez hasn’t yet quit his day job. In addition to serving as Certa Dose’s chief medical officer, he is an attending physician in the University of Colorado Health’s emergency department. He is board certified in emergency medicine by the American Board of Emergency Medicine and a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians.