Digital health platform Nutrimedy follows a recipe that seems simple but could help reduce the burden of chronic disease. The platform pairs patients to dietitians who specialize in nutrition counseling for a given chronic condition, resulting in a regimen that can improve care management. It was this focus on personalization that helped Nutrimedy win first place this week in the fourth annual Boston Scientific Connected Patient Challenge.
The challenge attracted 52 teams of innovators to an online community earlier this year, where they pitched digital health solutions for chronic care at both the population and individual levels. Crowdsourced voting and expert judges then selected six finalists who participated in a pitch-off before a crowd of physicians, engineers and visionaries on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at Google’s office in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“The Connected Patient Challenge fosters dialogue and strengthens relationships in the digital health community that will accelerate the pace of change,” said Jodi Euerle Eddy, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Boston Scientific. “The energy of the exchanges we experienced here will promote our continued commitment and efforts to improve upon patient care, and that is the most satisfying outcome of all.”
With first prize in hand, Nutrimedy won $30,000 in in-kind services from Boston Scientific and Google Cloud.
BreathResearch, a company that more quickly identifies respiratory disease through cloud and artificial intelligence technologies, earned second place. The team won $20,000 in in-kind services from Boston Scientific and Google.
During the pitch-off, director of nutrition services and engagement Mallory Franklin, Ph.D., R.D., LDN, represented Nutrimedy. She made the case for the startup by highlighting the need for nutrition to play a more significant role in preventive medicine, the large size of the market and Nutrimedy’s potential to partner with stakeholders across healthcare. The company’s web-based and mobile health platform could better engage and educate patients — and improve patient outcomes, Franklin said.
In a 2017 interview with MedTech Boston, Nutrimedy founder Jonah Cohen, M.D., noted that his focus on personalized nutrition for patients with chronic conditions filled a critical gap in healthcare.
“Physicians get minimal, if any, training in nutrition in med school. Because of that, we’re not really positioned as experts to help people on those journeys,” Cohen, a gastroenterologist, said. “Registered dietitians really are.”
Among the runners-up was Control:Diabetes, a mobile health app that educates patients with diabetes by directing them to predict their blood sugar, compare it to the actual number and then explain the difference. EinsWorld uses a customized wearable device and algorithms to deliver notifications that help patients avoid cardiac arrest outside the clinic. RTM Vital Signs develops a small, implantable, long-term cardiovascular monitoring system to foster medication dosing, diagnostics and predictive analytics. Finally, health app SpeechMed aims to empower patients by delivering comprehensible personal health data to patients, negating the effects of language barriers and disabilities.
In a keynote address before the pitch-off began, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center President and CEO Travis McCready said the event underscored the strength of Boston’s healthcare innovation scene.
“We very much believe that now is the time to start thinking about health a lot more systematically,” he said.
By showcasing, vetting and supporting digital health solutions that could one day transform healthcare, the Boston Scientific Connected Patient Challenge spurred advancements that can make a meaningful impact for patients in the near-term.
Boston Scientific, Google, Medstro and MedTech Boston teamed up to produce the Connected Patient Challenge.
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