More than 50 health-care startups and innovators recently applied to participate in HealthBound, an innovation challenge that brought hospitals, government, industry and entrepreneurs together to address issues facing health care today.
The four-month competition kicked off with a “collision day” hosted at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital. Four hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area were invited to champion a universal health-care challenge, providing innovators with access to their clinicians and administrators who spent the day working to refine the potential solutions.
HealthBound is being led by the Biomedical Zone, a partnership between St. Michael’s Hospital and Ryerson University.
“The Biomedical Zone is an environment where health technology entrepreneurs have unequalled access to biomedical expertise and active clinicians to cultivate their initiatives into reality,” said Professor Steven Liss, vice-president, research and innovation at Ryerson University. “HealthBound is a natural progression for the Zone because it brings the creators of the technology together with the health-care system leaders who have first-hand knowledge of the true challenges facing the system today.”
HealthBound is made possible by the participating hospitals, which are each tackling a particular challenge in the health-care system:
- St. Michael’s Hospital: Improving hospital hand hygiene
- Southlake Regional Health Centre: Streamlining resources for caregivers during patient transitions
- Trillium Health Partners: Managing patient anxiety during transition and discharge
- William Osler Health System: Facilitating the monitoring and delivery of care in the community
Although each challenge is championed by one hospital, the challenges were agreed upon by all four. The universal nature of the health-care challenges means that any solutions could have a broad impact across the health-care system and community.
“All hospitals are working to address these challenges but the Biomedical Zone has made it easier to find potential solutions outside our walls,” said Dr. Matthew Muller, director of Infection Prevention and Control for St. Michael’s Hospital and lead champion for HealthBound’s hand hygiene challenge. “Through HealthBound, clinicians like me can work with companies to refine and validate the technology and, finally, develop a finished product that’s tailor-made for the health-care setting.”
Nine teams were selected at the collision day to move ahead into a “Rapid-Development Phase,” where they’ll evaluate the potential solution with the Biomedical Zone and the respective hospital champion.
During this phase of HealthBound, the Zone will also lead the selected companies — DotHealth, GestSure, Spyder, Mobio, ManagingLife, DashMD, Health Outcomes Worldwide, Excelion and Pilly —through seven workshops. Participants will be advised by industry expert mentors and given access to resources that will assist them in navigating the regulatory process, developing potential clinical validation trials and increasing the likelihood of entry into market.
A demonstration day will be held in the fall to show the end results.
“The calibre of startups applying for a seat at the table was remarkable,” said Dr. Linda Maxwell, executive director of the Biomedical Zone. “And for the fall, after the next phase of iterative validation between companies and hospitals, my expectations are even higher.”