In fall 2017, the Digital Health Accelerator got underway in a co-working space on BIH’s premises. The Digital Health Accelerator is part of Berlin Health Innovations, the joint technology transfer unit of BIH and Charité. It aims to provide innovation teams with the crucial impetus and necessary professionalism required to bring business models and products successfully to market – and thus ultimately to patients. Four interdisciplinary teams of about 25 members have been receiving financial support and intensive coaching and mentoring from Berlin Health Innovations in areas such as data science, patient-centered product development, regulation, and design and business model development, enabling them to further develop their ideas over the past months. The teams are also receiving advice and support on knowledge transfer, on starting a company, and on building a network of researchers and entrepreneurs, as well as in selected cases on validating product benefits on patients.
The strengthening of digital medicine efforts – including the transfer of innovations created through these efforts – is one of BIH’s most important activities. On January 24, four innovation teams from the Digital Health Accelerator program and two Charité start-ups presented their digital health solutions in the packed Lecture Hall Ruin at Charité. “I am very proud of what the first teams have achieved in such a short time, and of what they presented to investors at the Demo Day. I’m certain that this initiative of the Berlin Institute of Health is making a major contribution to the digital health start-up dynamic in the Berlin metropolitan area,” says Dr. Rolf Zettl, chief financial officer and BIH executive board member responsible for Berlin Health Innovations.
Simulation program for stroke prognosis
Strokes are one of the most frequent causes of death worldwide. In Europe alone, more than a million people suffer a stroke each year. Some are fatal and others lead to severe health impairments. Researchers believe many strokes are avoidable and expect the number of strokes to increase significantly because of rising life expectancy. Dr. Dietmar Frey from the Charité and his team have developed a simulation program for individualized stroke prognosis that links a wide range of clinical and personal data. The program aims to make it possible for physicians to choose the optimal individualized treatment strategy for stroke prevention. The team is seeking to bring the digital app to market in mid-2019.
Patient and imaging data for better treatment methods
The team headed by Dr. Marc Dewey, a professor at Charité, is using artificial intelligence to analyze clinical and radiological imaging data. Their goal is to predict a patient’s individualized risk of developing heart diseases. The project is therefore tackling a major global health issue: Each year some 50 million people report chest pain to their doctors. Assessing individual risk has traditionally been imprecise and often leads to complications during treatment. Using well-validated patient and imaging data, the team has now succeeded in improving, individualizing, and digitalizing heart disease risk assessment, and in optimizing treatment processes.
Under the direction of Professor Dewey, the team led by Dr. Florian Michallek from Charité is creating a new digital technology for diagnosing a number of heart diseases and cancers, including breast, liver, and prostate tumors. They have developed a non-invasive imaging analysis method based on the fractal analysis of dynamic imaging data, a technique patented by the team. This technique is extremely well suited for the precise characterization of tumors, without having to perform a biopsy.
Digital solutions for ICU patient care
The team led by Dr. Alexander Meyer from the German Heart Center in Berlin is seeking to improve patient care in the intensive care unit (ICU).Their predictive app aims to provide an individualized prediction of post-operative complications in ICU patients, such as internal bleeding or acute kidney injury, so that they can be proactively avoided. This involves combining existing monitoring and lab data from ICU stays and analyzing this data using artificial intelligence programs. In Germany alone, more than two million ICU visits could benefit from this solution each year.
Digital health spin-offs receive initial assistance for market entry
In addition, Berlin Health Innovations is helping entrepreneurs and their early-stage digital health spin-offs from Charité and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) get a solid start on the market. Two start-ups receiving support also presented their digital apps to the large audience of interested professionals. Sebastian Mansow-Model introduced Motognosis, a video analysis-based solution that clinically evaluates the motoric symptoms of patients with neurological diseases. Dr. Alessandro Faragli from Boca Health has developed a mobile sensor for keeping track of the hydration levels of patients with cardiovascular or kidney diseases.