Chicago is rapidly becoming one of America’s biggest innovation hubs, with more tech entrepreneurs looking to set camp in the city. And for good reason. Chicago is home to some of the most prestigious high-profile tech companies from Salesforce to Google, Groupon and Motorola. The tech talent, infrastructure and training programs placed the city on the top ten list of tech innovation hubs worldwide.
Most of that innovation is driven by the healthcare sector. With so many top-notch research universities and a revolving door of pharma and medical device giants, it’s not surprising that health innovators all across the globe are flocking to Chicago.
Their first pitstop? MATTER, the city’s he largest healthcare technology hub. Opened in 2015, MATTER’s mission is to accelerate innovation through collaboration. And what better way to foster partnerships than by organizing a summit?
Chicago and Israel, a match made in health tech heaven
Chicago’s and Israel’s health tech communities have been collaborating for over a year to accelerate the commercialization of new technologies.
MATTER and Sheba Medical Center, the most comprehensive medical center in the Middle East, signed a Memorandum of Understanding last October to foster collaboration between the two communities.
“Israel has one of the world’s most vibrant communities of healthcare entrepreneurs — and most of them look to the United States to commercialize their technologies,” said Steven Collens, CEO of MATTER.
Here’s the full list of attending companies: Clew Medical, Cynerio, Datos Health, Healthy.io, MDClone, MedAware, Medial EarlySign, Mediseen eHealth, MyndYou, Nym Health, Odoro, OpisoftCare, Pilltracker, Profility, RMDY Health, Uniper Technologies, Vitalerter, VRHealth.
Bringing disruptive technology to the U.S. health market
While all these startups hold the potential to break into the U.S. health market, we rounded up the ones that really push the envelope on disruptive technologies.
Datos Health is a mobile engagement platform that enables healthcare organizations to incorporate quality data from multiple medical devices, at a fraction of current costs. The company uses Big Data algorithms and cutting-edge validation techniques to integrate only relevant and reliable data into the clinical workflow.
Physicians can add new data such as blood pressure, glucose levels, activity, sleep, and medication adherence from any device.
Datos is currently helping physicians from New York-based Ridgeview Internal Medicine Group to better manage hypertension remotely. Ridgeview’s doctors remotely monitor patients suffering from hypertension anywhere and anytime, as well as receive novel medication insights.
VRHealth uses artificial intelligence algorithms to develop medical tools and content while delivering real-time analytics. VRHealth is the first certified Virtual Reality (VR) medical company in the world and all its medical applications are FDA Registered. The company managed to raise $6 million in funding and has strong roots in the U.S.
VRHealth announced a partnership with Oculus to focus on bringing pain relief to women in labor and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Besides catering to clinics and hospitals, the company also sells headsets for home use, which provides people with health insights that they can later share with a clinician. The Israeli health tech company is based in Boston and plans to open offices in UK and Australia.
Vitalerter is a mobile, wireless monitoring platform for long-term care patients. Placed under a mattress or a chair in a nursing facility, the Vitalert biosensor can accurately monitor heart-rate, respiration rate, and body motions and alert staffers whenever residents need assistance.
The device could be a game-changer for the U.S. healthcare industry, which is has been struggling for years with a massive shortage of nurses. Reports of staff neglect are on the rise even in expensive private facilities. Vitalert’s ability to prevent falls, ulcers, strokes, and epileptic seizures could greatly improve the quality of care in nursing homes and help staffers better manage their workload.
PillTracker develops a connected hard case for smartphones that promotes patient medication adherence. Many patients have trouble remembering to take their pills on time or simply forget altogether. This leads to poor health outcomes and raises overall health costs. In America, medical nonadherence accounts for up to 50% of treatment failures and around 125,000 deaths each year. Solving this problem would save the healthcare system up to $300 billion annually.
The Israeli company’s solution is to track a patient’s medication use in near-real-time on behalf of family members or healthcare providers. PillTracker’s technology is based on a printed electronics layer that is applied to the blister packaging post production. Here’s a video showing how it works.
In addition to one-on-one meetings between Israeli health tech entrepreneurs and Chicago executives, the summit featured presentations by leaders from Amita, Northwell Health, Northwestern Medicine, OSF HealthCare, and UI Health.