Hippo Virtual Care Making A Difference to Wound Care at Michigan Medicine

At Hippo, we’re always looking to highlight innovative people in the healthcare community. We recently sat down with Dr. Alton R. Johnson, Jr. to talk about his role as a current Fellowship Innovator in the 2023 “Research | Innovation | Scholarship | Education” (RISE) program at the University of Michigan and to discuss how Hippo Virtual Care has helped Dr. Johnson achieve his goals for the program.


Meet Dr. Johnson

Dr. Johnson, DPM, FACPM, FASPS, CWSP, is a Clinical Assistant Professor, Podiatrist, Podiatric Surgeon, and Wound Care Specialist at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Mich. He is one of 10 current 2023 RISE Fellowship Innovators. He loves a lot of things about his job, but there’s one thing in particular that brings him great satisfaction: “There is nothing more gratifying than healing a patient that has a chronic wound. The physical, psychological, and financial burden that comes with caring for a chronic wound cannot be qualified, so my goal is to heal these wounds as soon as possible.”


What is RISE?

The purpose of RISE is to innovate education for better health. Per their website: “RISE aspires to create a Michigan Medicine culture where bold, scalable education innovations impact health and science, and thrive through collaboration and access to a broad, diverse network of resources, expertise, and stakeholders.”

The RISE program, Dr. Johnson explained, is exclusive to Michigan Medicine. They guide the selected innovators for the 12-month calendar year to develop and implement a health science education idea that will impact science, health, and/or healthcare. “Throughout the year, we meet monthly to learn and implement innovation strategies, translational education, and pedagogical principles,” he shared.


Dr. Johnson’s involvement in RISE

After applying and interviewing for the RISE program in the fall of 2022, Dr. Johnson was accepted into the third RISE cohort in January 2023. The proposed project, he explained, is creating “workflows” for podiatric and wound care-related pathologies, procedures, and surgeries to aid with active learning of medical students and residents. “Once I have developed templates oriented for podiatric medicine and wound care, the goal is to execute the ‘workflows’ using augmented reality (AR) during medical education and clinical experiences.”

The project’s secondary goal is to aid with the enhancement of educational experiences of visiting nurses that use real-time evaluation, management, and assessment of homebound wound care patients.

Hippo’s role in RISE

Throughout 2023, Dr. Johnson will utilize the Hippo Virtual Care voice-activated headset and platform to develop and execute his novel innovation ideas. “I am in the piloting stages and will be publishing the findings soon,” he said. “The feedback from users and patients has been overwhelmingly positive so far, mainly in the areas of accuracy, focused evaluation, and patient assessment.”

Dr. Johnson said that Hippo’s device and proprietary software has boosted the confidence of the residents and fellows that utilize it for patient workups, which has translated to more meaningful patient care experiences.

We asked Dr. Johnson to share what he liked best about Hippo Virtual Care, and he responded, “My favorite thing is that it’s HIPAA-compliant, which puts both providers and nursing staff at ease when it comes to protecting patient-sensitive information.”


Future uses for Hippo Virtual Care

Dr. Johnson sees many opportunities to use Hippo Virtual Care in the future. “With the current and impending physician shortages, Hippo Virtual Care could be a valuable solution for any health system. As time goes on, it will be more of a challenge to get face-to-face care from a specialty physician like myself. Utilizing safe and effective technology platforms like Hippo Virtual Care will likely be the solution for the foreseeable future.”

About Dr. Alton R. Johnson Jr., DPM, FACPM, FASPS, CWSP

Dr. Johnson is a Clinical Assistant Professor, Podiatrist, Podiatric Surgeon, and Wound Care Specialist at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, MI. He is one of 10 current RISE Fellowship Innovators, and has been the recipient of several awards including the 2022 American Podiatric Medical Association President’s Award, the 2022 Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine Young Physician Professional Achievement Award, and the 2022 Association for the Advancement of Wound Care Emerging Leader Award.

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