HealthSpark 2018 unites disruptors at SXSW
This year's HealthSpark 2018 event, Igniting the Next Wave of Health Tech, presented by AbelsonTaylor, Juice Pharma, HCB Health, and MIT Hacking Medicine, demonstrated that if your aim is to improve healthcare, you'll have to disrupt it.
To help empower people to use this data in their daily lives and extract it to have a meaningful conversation with their physician, Shore explained, the project worked closely with patient advocates.
“At the time I did not feel comfortable asking my parents, who are both physicians, for help,” Reeves explained. “I wanted to remain anonymous, but also make sure my friend was getting accurate and useful information.” Her concept led to the creation of emojiHealth, a chatbot that lives on Facebook Messenger and connects with users through health alerts, reminders, and emojis. “There are plenty of teens who would be more comfortable engaging with a bot when it comes to some of the more uncomfortable or taboo topics in health,” Reeves noted.
Kaplin, chief product officer at ConversationHealth, predicted the tech will allow pharma companies to create patient-specific bots that cater to certain disease states.
“The back and forth model of chatbots will allow us to interact with the healthcare environment the same way we do with other sites and social media outlets throughout the day,” Kaplin said. “We need to get back to a point where conversation along with content is also king.”
Day two kicked off with Matter, a community of healthcare innovators that is part consultancy, part incubator. CEO Steven Collens led an abbreviated version of its Tales from the Trenches workshop that showcased entrepreneurs who have “built interesting things and led interesting lives,” featuring Dr. Alex Leow and Sandeep Pulim, M.D.
The event's grand finale was the Barracuda Bowl final, which featured the winners from the previous day's contests, PhotoniCare, Motiv, Sunrise Health, b.well, Gryt Health, and Nuro, a neurotech app that helps touchless and voiceless patients communicate. Nuro's creator, Francois Gand, walked away with the grand prize of $7,000 cash and one year of .health domain support.
While all the leaders of the startups were focused on the importance of tech in improving healthcare, they emphasized the patient must be at the heart of any successful healthcare initiative. As Eugene Borukhovich of Bayer said, “At the end of the day, it's still all about people.”