Startup SchoolChallenges

For the STARTUP SCHOOL, different stakeholders in healthcare will contribute real-world challenges for the participants to solve.

The list of challenges will be constantly updated until the beginning of the STARTUP SCHOOL.

User Retention (Midaia)

How to keep the user retention as high as possible in the long run with a digital application for patients with rheumatic diseases?

Midaia is a digital health startup that helps patients with rheumatic diseases find the best therapy. With the help of an intelligent chat service, patient data is collected in the app to determine in which areas (i.e. nutrition, exercise, mental health) the patient can make adjustments that will positively influence the disease. The patient receives the recommendations in a so-called Action Plans which help to integrate the behavioural change into the patient's life in small, easy steps.
The mobile app "Mida" must be used by patients for a period of 6 to 12 months in order to make the best prediction and achieve long-term behavioral changes. The challenge for the STARTUP SCHOOL is to develop a long-term (typically, more than 6 months) user retention concept. For this purpose, the team identifies different approaches, validates them with patients, improves and then implements the one providing the best results.

Digital Oncology (Pfizer)

How can digital applications for patients with metastatic tumour diseases promote patient empowerment and improve treatment satisfaction and outcomes?

Oncology is a dynamic field; the number of targeted therapies is increasing rapidly, and a multitude of new options are available for patients. Despite the increasing complexity, patients must always understand their situation and know the options available for them. Once a therapy is chosen, the patient must be able to derive a maximum of benefit from it. Your task in the team is to find out where patients see the biggest problems while communicating with the doctor or gathering information, and where the biggest problems occur during a therapy with targeted substances. After identifying a specific problem, the team will design a digital application that will provide support - from the technical implementation, and the preparation of a business plan, to the final pitch!

Deep Learning Mobile App (LogMyBody)

How can we develop an app that allows patients to document medical data and present it in a compact form and helps doctors to understand and diagnose diseases?

The project LogMyBody will be a mobile application that enables patients to log their symptoms, digestive data and other related factors, like pain or medication. The patient will be able to generate symptom reports that can be handed over to the attending doctor, and will give the patient and the doctor a detailed and readable report of the patients‘ health data. The objective is to help doctor and patient to better understand the patient’s condition.

Specifically, we want to recruit freelancers to gather images of feces, train a model to classify the images into seven stool types with deep learning and Tensor Flow and then implement the model into an Android application.

In this project you can learn how to manage a team of freelancers, create an image classification model with deep learning for stool type recognition and the strategy from the idea to the launch of an android mobile application. No programming skills required. Just curiosity!

Digital side effects monitoring (Sanofi)

How can elderly cancer patients and their physicians benefit from digital healthcare solutions in general and in terms of side effects monitoring? 

Cancer incidence is increasing with age. At the same time, it is well known that geriatric patients are at a higher risk of adverse events. Although targeted therapies are usually well tolerated also by older patients, monitoring during active cancer treatment is crucial. 

Conventional healthcare and therapy monitoring are restricted to medical offices and hospitals, which poses challenges for the timely detection of the onset of a therapy’s side effects. Whereas digital healthcare solutions could bring significant benefits to both patients and physicians, it is challenging to design meaningful digital solutions for geriatric oncology that are adapted to and accepted by this older patient population. Which solutions might be meaningful and suitable for elderly patients and would allow for early detection of side effects during cancer treatment?

Promoting patient autonomy and health competence through a digital medication plan (BARMER)

How can an understandable and personalized explanation be ensured for polypharmaceutical patients in case of a therapy change?

According to the current BARMER Drug Report 2020, millions of polypharmacy patients are at risk due to substantial information gaps between hospital and ambulant treatment areas. This group includes patients who take at least five drugs simultaneously. 

Especially in this high-risk group, information deficits often occur upon hospital admission or discharge from the hospital – with life-threatening consequences in the worst case. In most cases, missing or incomplete medication plans lead to serious treatment errors.

Even during a stay in the hospital, 30% of the patients interviewed in the Barmer Report state that a change of therapy was not explained to them by their physician. In addition, when the patient is discharged, important information about the change of therapy is not available and does not reach the following general practitioner. 

The challenge that arises from these findings of the current BARMER Report is how once can ensure that patients receive appropriate and comprehensible information about their medication plan in the event of a change of therapy, and thus ensure a successful long-term therapy.

Bridging Gaps (Startup School Participant)

Creating an app/web-based platform and using digitalisation in order to bridge the gap between patients, or patient’s families, around the globe suffering from rare genetic disorders. 

In the current pandemic world, we have realised how our health is of utmost importance. Like cancer and cardiological diseases, inborn errors of genetic disorders, which are mostly rare, are rapidly rising worldwide for known and unknown genetic mutations. Patients – and their families – who are aware of the diagnosis are disturbed thinking they are the only ones in distress. Also, they only have connections to their attending physician or hospital and/or keeping google at hand for gaining vast and unfiltered access to information.

This challenge aims to design an app/website which provides instant support to patients – and their families – who get diagnosed with rare conditions and don’t have any knowledge of the disease. The platform should also offer directions to social support, the right education about the disease and help identify the right doctor, who can provide a better treatment in close proximity to the patient’s geographical location. The solution is expected to be based on an artificial intelligence digital business healthcare model that can not only provide educational support but also proper advice on medical health. For this challenge, a versatile team of web designers, coders, techies, scientists and people with a business background are highly encouraged.