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HealthTech Innovation Challenge Asks Participants to Use 3D Printing and Other Technologies to Solve Problems

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[Image: Anne Rayner, Vanderbilt University]

The healthcare field often turns to 3D printing to help solve problems, whether it’s by producing medical models and training mannequins or creating implants, prosthetics, and other medical devices. We’ve seen many times that one of the best ways to inspire problem-solving innovations is by holding a contest, which is exactly what global professional services company Accenture is doing now.

This week, the company launched the application period for its third annual Accenture HealthTech Innovation Challenge, which is looking for applicants who want to disrupt the field in order to improve upon how people access and manage healthcare. The challenge, from the company’s Health and Life Sciences practices and part of its broader HealthTech Innovation Program, brings together some of the top startups from well-known health and life sciences companies – in its first two years alone, nearly 1,200 startups applied.

“With the HealthTech Innovation Challenge, Accenture serves as a vehicle to connect the next generation of startups with an ecosystem of organizations and individuals that can make a meaningful difference in bringing their fresh ideas to fruition – and ultimately work to solve some of healthcare’s greatest challenges,” said Brian Kalis, the Managing Director of Digital Health and Innovation Services at Accenture. “We are excited to be at the forefront of this digital healthcare revolution and look forward to continuing to help startups push the boundaries of healthcare technology.”

In this program, healthcare technology innovators and disruptors that are just hitting the scene have the opportunity to take on some of the biggest health challenges plaguing our society, including quality, access, and affordability-of-care options.

“The Accenture HealthTech Innovation Challenge tackles some of the world’s most pressing health challenges using breakthrough digital technology. The passion, determination and curiosity of the startups and other program participants will help established players make the pivotal move to delivering better patient outcomes and collaboration,” said Anne O’Riordan, Senior Managing Director of Accenture Life Sciences and a co-author of the book Healthcare Disrupted. “Engagement last year was overwhelmingly positive, and the program’s success is a testament to our intent to help our clients and the industry embrace the digital revolution and market shifts that are changing how healthcare will be developed and delivered to people around the world.”

Applications are now being accepted for the program through September 1st, and should address some important criteria, including disruptive business model, potential impact on patient outcomes, and the solution’s design quality, innovation, and scalability. There are a total of three categories for this year’s Accenture HealthTech Innovation Challenge:

  1. Keeping the population healthy through wellness and prevention
  2. Using digital health solutions to deliver better patient outcomes
  3. Improving healthcare delivery for the patient

The first focuses on better education, minimizing hospital visits, creating remote care delivery models, managing lifestyle and wellness, and the social determinates of health. The second category is centered on leveraging digital health solutions, like 3D printing and artificial intelligence, in order to deliver the best possible outcome; additional technologies include blockchain, digital clinical trials, digital pills, drones, the Internet of Things, and telehealth.

The final category focuses on bettering healthcare services, and making them more efficient, through the use of care coordination, cost transparency/payments, enterprise workflow, health records, office and patient management, and strategic sourcing.

The chosen finalists will have the chance to present their ideas to an exclusive panel of judges, made up of senior executives from well-known health and life sciences companies. This will give them the necessary access and exposure to successfully bring their innovations to the market.

Last year’s Innovation Champion, New York City-based Nanowear, now manufactures a congestive-heart-failure monitoring undergarment and the SimpleSense machine-learning platform.

“The Accenture HealthTech Innovation Challenge built significant awareness and momentum for Nanowear as we continue to approach a prominent clinical study and commercial launch later this year. Accenture’s program provided one-of-a-kind connections to more than 50 stakeholders across the very complex healthcare ecosystem, fostering outstanding mentorship opportunities and relationships with providers, payers, device manufacturers, the pharma industry, IT executives, regulatory bodies and healthcare investors. The experience and opportunities are so valuable to a young company like ours, working to solve some of the world’s most challenging healthcare problems,” said Venk Varadan, the Co-Founder and CEO and of Nanowear.

This year, the competition will have four regional pitching sessions, the first of which takes place in Tokyo on November 1st. A second session will be held in Sydney on November 15th, along with one in Dublin on the same day, and finishing up with a session in Boston on November 29th.

The competition’s final judging round will occur on January 7th, 2019, at the invite-only StartUp Health Festival in San Francisco during the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference; Accenture is the festival’s Lead Innovation Partner.

Champions will receive the chance to engage with other healthcare and life sciences startups and network with peers and investors, along with the opportunity to receive media exposure by being a program partner. Winners will also get to build relationships and collaborate with some of the industry-shapers and innovators, and gain some practical experience with Accenture’s Innovation Architecture and design-thinking approach.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below. 


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