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January 05, 2017
By: Jill Dailey

Start-ups and industry leaders showcase the healthcare ecosystem in action.

In healthcare, we talk about ecosystems. Yet it’s rare to see one up close, like I did not too long ago.

The occasion: the New York Regional Round of the Accenture HealthTech Innovation Challenge, bringing together start-ups across the healthcare industry to present technology ideas to industry leaders. Winners compete at the StartUp Health Festival, held January 9 in San Francisco.

Over 500 start-ups submitted applications, with 10 finalists selected to participate in New York and another 10 at the London Regional Round. I was a coach in New York, working with healthcare industry leaders who met with start-ups to see demos, hear pitches and determine which regional finalists would move on to San Francisco.

Contestants concentrated on four broad focus areas, including managing health, getting better faster, having easier access to care and keeping information safe.

Across those categories, judges saw an impressively diverse range of innovative ideas. Below, some examples:

UE LifeSciences, Inc. brought out the iBreastExam (iBE). This is an FDA-approved, battery-powered wireless device for early detection of breast lesions. Judges were particularly impressed at its potential for bringing breast-cancer prevention to the developing world, with an affordable solution that can be operated by community health workers.

PlenOptika’s project, the QuickSee, resembles a VR headset and allows accurate, immediate eyeglass prescriptions. Judges especially appreciated its cost-tiering options to meet different needs, including a less-expensive single-eye model.

InnaMed’s blood-testing device allows for in-house blood tests. Think of the implications for someone fighting cancer, wondering if they are okay to undergo a chemotherapy session. This product takes away the guesswork and the stress of a thwarted visit.

Enthusiasm was palpable everywhere. Judges went from presentation to presentation excited by the innovation on display. Start-up contestants shared their visions and made clear their passion for making meaningful differences in people’s lives.

The spirit of the event was summed up when a StartUp Health executive asked all participants, who included entrepreneurs, investors, clinicians, consultants, corporate innovation leaders, and digital and IT executives, to group up and link arms. The result, funny enough, was less like a daisy chain than an amoeba of intersecting entities, forming a symbiotic union committed to transforming healthcare.

For me, this sums up what our healthcare ecosystem is all about: Bringing together idea generators with idea accelerators to drive positive change through collaboration. Seeing it come together at the Accenture HealthTech Innovation Challenge makes me excited to be part of this healthy revolution.

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