Innovation Challenge Encourages Collaboration Among Healthcare Entrepreneurs

Approximately 100 healthcare innovators came together last weekend at the Stanford (Calif.) School of Medicine for the StartX Med/Stanford Hospital Innovation Challenge, a 50-hour weekend event that brought together healthcare entrepreneurs for hands-on education and collaboration.

During the event, the participants, who were selected to participate in the event based on their involvement in healthcare innovation, included physicians, surgeons, physicists, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, computer scientists, data scientists, computer programmers, industrial designers, interface designers, interaction designers, start-up founders, entrepreneurs, inventors, PhD and medical students and marketing executives from all types organizations and institutions, according to Ryan Wynia, founder of Firebone, a Chicago-based healthcare design firm, and a participant in the event.

The participants kicked off the event by pitching project ideas, and 62 total ideas were presented. Participants then voted on the top projects, and 15 were selected to be developed over the course of the weekend. Participants whose ideas were selected had the opportunity to make a second appeal to the other participants, and those whose ideas were not selected joined the project team of their choice. Additionally, if challenge participants wanted to pursue another idea, there were ten spots available for ad-hoc teams for a total of 25 pitch teams, according to Mr. Wynia.

"The opportunity to pursue innovative solutions with such a curated group of individuals truly made the challenge formative for me," he said of his experience. His idea for a SaaS consumer-focused intelligent health dashboard was selected for further development, and he noted he was extremely impressed with the diversity of qualifications of his team members.

"I was honored to develop my team's project alongside the likes of a Microsoft speech recognition expert with a PhD in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon, a global marketing director for a leading device manufacturer, a patent-holding PhD in proteomics, a former Fulbright Scholar with a Harvard PhD in linguistics, two accomplished physicians, a developer who translates Stanford's genetic research into computer code and a PhD in neurobiology," Mr Wynia noted.

The 25 project teams presented at the end of the event, and a panel of six judges, which included Sumbul Desai, MD, associate CMO for strategy and innovation at Stanford Hospital & Clinics, and Daniel Morissette, MBA, CFO of Stanford Hospitals & Clinics, selected the winning ideas.

Winners from the Innovation challenge will become finalists for StartX Med, a non-profit startup accelerator, and receive special mentorship from StartX Med and Stanford Hospital & Clinics. The wining projects of the weekend included:

•    Overall winner — Rockfish —  A financial insights tool for long-term care, making the tracking and budgeting of financial resources for the elderly more efficient and predictable.
•    Most innovative — Acuity — A voice-recognizing software app that allows physicians to form conclusions about brain activity of patients.
•    Best industry pivot — Eyego — A tool for performing remote eye exams using a smart phone's built in camera.
•    Best user experience — Kids in Kitchens — Interactive tablet app that empowers children to cook their own simple, health meals.
•    Most audacious — The Beth Project — A startup making prosthetics more accessible in developing countries by using "jamming" technology developed at MIT.

More Articles on Healthcare Innovation:

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AMA Pledges $10M to Medical Education Innovation Program

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