January 31, 2018
By: Dean Brody

Industry leaders meet startup finalists to discuss innovation ideas, business plans

One word came to mind for myself and other participants of this year’s Accenture HealthTech Innovation Challenge: Velocity. Velocity of innovation. Velocity of change to the healthcare landscape.

The culmination of 700+ digital health startups competing for the hearts and minds of global healthcare leaders, this year’s Challenge—held in the heart of Silicon Valley as part of Startup Health Festival—provided real evidence that industry change is not only here, but that both the velocity and degree of change is more than you think.

The Challenge finals were spent in a small space (a garage actually—Steve Jobs would be proud) with founders of nine digital health startups selected as the best of the 700 applicants. Senior leaders from a who’s-who list of established healthcare companies served as judges. The result: a full day of idea sharing, pressure-testing new concepts against today’s realities, exploring the art of the possible and paving the way to future partnerships.

It was “open innovation” at its finest. After each startup presentation, typical reactions from client judges were “Wow,” “I never thought of it that way,” and “I want to bring this to my team and my customers.”

Meanwhile, startup leaders got a crash course on making their company and value proposition resonate with Fortune 500 leaders. They were reminded of the importance of a strong business model, a clear path to revenue, articulation of key differentiators including intellectual property, and a good plan to scale.

Overriding themes included a heavy focus on artificial intelligence and influencing consumer/patient behaviors.

This year’s Challenge champion is Nanowear, from New York City, with their groundbreaking product, SimpleSense. SimpleSense is a non-invasive undergarment which aims to capture and transmit data to a set of algorithms to help identify potential issues for patients with congestive heart problems. It sets new standards for home-monitoring devices with its “smart” fabric lined with microscopic nanosensors, fully washable, with an endless supply of future use cases (think industrial, military, athletics, etc.).

Another standout, Georgia-based Jvion, takes a new approach to predictive analytics using the mathematical power of Eigen Spheres. (FYI, heavy math theory.) They’ve demonstrated an ability to help predict with more certainty the health risk and likely adverse events for certain patient populations and with that data recommending actions to help mitigate those risks.

It wasn’t all next-gen technology that impressed judges. New York-based Wellth demonstrated their new application which pays consumers for such healthy behaviors as remembering to take their medications every day. Building on Nobel Prize-winning research on behavioral economics and incentivizing the right behaviors, Wellth opens doors to new thinking on driving patient compliance.

I left the Accenture HealthTech Innovation Challenge both inspired for the changes ahead, and motivated to help my clients better face the velocity of change upon us. Change isn’t coming, it’s already here.

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