News & Events

Ben Franklin CNP Clients Answering the Call to Help with COVID-19

Many clients of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern Pennsylvania are answering the call to assist the commonwealth on a number of fronts in response to the many serious challenges connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are some of the ways clients are working directly and indirectly to support ongoing response efforts in Pennsylvania, by providing innovative solutions to improve the human condition.

Institute for Health Care Directives (IHCD), Erie

The Institute for Health Care Directives (IHCD) has seen a significant uptake in its core product, My Informed Decision on Video (MIDEO), because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of family members often not being allowed in hospitals and ERs with their loved ones, MIDEO has become an indispensable tool to accurately communicate the urgent and emergency desires of a critically ill patient who – and because no one is with them – may not be able to clearly speak for themselves and communicate their wishes. MIDEO is a video-based Physicians Order for Life Sustaining Treatment that has been proven to be 98% accurately interpreted. The MIDEO Card is available as a driver’s license sized card, carried in a person’s wallet/purse, that provides both medically accurate and appropriate language that ALL medical professionals can understand and through the use of a scannable QR code, the medical professional can watch a 2 minute video of the actual patient, describing in medically appropriate terms, exactly what they do and do not want in an emergency care situation.

Counselors Advantage Program for Success (CAPS),, Erie

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Counselors Advantage Program for Success (CAPS) is rolling out a virtual college and career readiness platform, My Readiness Coach, for public use. CAPS has traditionally been available through school districts, but because school districts have shifted to virtual/distance learning, students do not have ready access to their college and career counselors. However, to help maintain student support, CAPS is making the platform available on an individual student or family basis. CAPS provides students and their families with online access to video modules, worksheets and assessments to enhance their College and Career Readiness (CCR), without the financial burden that most are now experiencing. Additionally, real-time/live support is provided by CAPS-certified advisors. Rather than a curriculum, CAPS is a weekly content delivery process that provides counselors and teachers with the tools they need to be ‘facilitators’, and helps students – and their families – to independently advance to their individual and state-mandated CCR goals.

Actuated Medical, Inc., Bellefonte

Actuated Medical, Inc. (AMI) develops medical devices that integrate electronically controlled motion technologies that improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. AMI’s development process focuses on intellectual property, regulatory, and reimbursement strategies to decrease commercialization risk and attract medical device technology acquisition partnerships, and their devices solve unmet clinical needs in target markets e.g., GI, critical care and pediatrics. The company recently announced it started manufacturing Face Shields for first responders and medical professionals battling the Coronavirus pandemic. The 20-person medical device company created a production line for the shields in one week and is ramping up production toward 20,000 shields. Already, the first lot of shields shipped on Tuesday, March 31 to customers in Dallas, Tx., Baltimore, Md., and State College, Pa. AMI’s shields consist of a clear polycarbonate for visibility. Its multiuse design can be cleaned with bleach, alcohol, or soap and water.

AcousticSheep, Erie

Dr. Wei-Shin Lai, a family physician, and her husband Jason Wolfe, a video game developer, founded AcousticSheep in 2007 and manufacture SleepPhones® and RunPhones® brand headphones. Designed to maintain healthy, active lifestyles and rest more comfortably, AcousticSheep’s headphone products feature a patented headband design which is soft, comfortable and contains thin removable speakers to play any type of music, audiobooks, meditation, white noise, or talk radio. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Lai has continued helping her community stay healthy and informed by blogging on essential topics, including the important role sleep plays in overall wellness. Additionally, she has hosted webinars on COVID-19 related topics and has shared her insight as both a physician and entrepreneur as it relates to the pandemic’s impact on the health industry’s supply chains.