Boston Scientific hosted a Connected Patient Challenge earlier this month, challenging companies to compete for funding to develop their products or systems and advance their ideas with Boston Scientific and Google. The challenge attracted 46 submissions, and six finalists got to present their work at the event. Online voters narrowed down the finalists, and the finalists then presented to a panel of judges made up of chief innovation officers and digital health leaders from a variety of technology companies.
The winners included:
•Medumo: This team won first prize for their work on an automated patient engagement platform. The problem Medumo aims to solve is the lack of guidance patients typically receive before medical procedures. The goal was to develop a solution to allow physicians to have automatic touchpoints with patients before a procedure in a way that is affordable, effective, and efficient. Medumo’s tool gives physicians customizable automated messages to send to users via text or email to instruct them and check in before procedures. The team focused on colonoscopies – a procedure that requires patients to prepare in advance of the procedure.
•Pillo: This company makes a robot for the home to target medication adherence and won first runner up. The robot stores patients’ medications and reminds them to take their medication. It can answer health-related questions and connect patients with their care teams. The robot may help aging and isolated patients feel more connected at home.
•Dive Health: This company is developing analytical tools to support chronic disease management. Its platform uses data from claims and electronic health records to identify which patients are at high-risk for chronic conditions. The interactive reports could be used to triage patients and refer them to specialists. Dive Health presented early results from a pilot.
•Tueo: “Tueo” is the Latin word for “to care for or to protect,” and this company focuses on children with asthma. The team developed a sensor that attaches to children’s beds; the sensor passively monitors their heartbeat and respiratory rate and sends data to a mobile app. It alerts them when they should use an inhaler to prevent an episode. The app also features targeted guidance and education.
•Tufts University and Heartbeats: This team presented their work on analysis of electrocardiogram signals. While prior work with electrocardiograms have documented the rhythm and variation in the time between successive beats, this team plans to look at the shape of each beat using statistical analysis to map beats use the information for clinical decision support.
•Multisensor Diagnostics: This team’s device, Mouthlab, was compared to Star Trek’s “Tricorder” because of its ability to assess the overall health of a patient. The device goes into a patient’s mouth for one minute to measure breathing rate and pattern, blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate, blood oxygen saturation, electrocardiogram trace, and spirometric lung function. The data goes to the cloud and provides a comprehensive, real-time overview of how a patient with a chronic condition, such as congestive heart failure, is doing. If the device detects abnormalities in the biometric data it collects, it sends an alert to the patient’s caregiver.
Analysis: Competitions and challenges that crowdsource ideas can be a great way to generate new, creative solutions to pressing problems. For example, hackathons have become a popular strategy in recent years to generate innovative ideas to help solve complex problems using limited resources. The Boston Scientific competition likely garnered so many good ideas because the focus called for companies to come up with solutions to specific problems. While cash prizes are one incentive, so is the opportunity to work with leaders in the field.
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