This morning I strayed from my usual hangout in the basic sciences sessions to investigate the hottest new products in the Health Innovation Pavilion at the Health Tech Competition. In this event, 8 highly talented applicant companies were allotted 3 minutes to pitch their company or product, followed by 5 minutes of Q&A from a panel of venture capitalists and AHA VIPs. Contestants were scored on novelty, innovation, potential patient outcomes, ability to address patient and provider needs, and strategy to launch and sell, among other criteria.
A focus emerged early in the competition: data aggregation. We’re seeing start-up companies developing digital platforms that collect massive amounts of patient data and process it to improve cardiovascular health outcomes. The target consumer varied from individual to hospital system, and the aims and applications stretched from prevention to detection and diagnosis. I particularly enjoyed hearing about Seqster’s software that integrates health records, DNA and fitness data in one place, though I thought all the panelists in the “real-life Shark Tank” had interesting and educational pitches.
The judges’ deliberations illuminated potential advances and pitfalls facing the field, and I think we need to ask ourselves a few things as both scientists and consumers. How might we respond if an adverse event is detected, and what are the consequences if something is missed? How efficient and accurate are the technologies? Who owns the data?
The pitch competition today demonstrated that health technologies hold great potential. It’s clear that as our tools evolve to improve patient health, the direction and guidance provided by our congregated cardiovascular experts, like those at Session 2018, will be invaluable.
Annie Roessler is a PhD Candidate at Loyola University in Chicago, IL. Her research focuses on the neurobiology and molecular mechanisms of electrically-induced cardioprotection. She tweets @ThePilotStudy and blogs at flaskhalffull.com