For all its negatives, the COVID-19 has driven tech innovation. Countless companies have developed new products or have adapted existing ones specifically to help companies and individuals better manage during the crisis. From healthcare tech to workplace safety and virtual fan noise in stadiums, the tech sector is innovating at a rapid pace to solve the problems the pandemic has created.
The advancements in healthcare – including government exceptions that have dramatically increased the use and development of telehealth solutions – can provide a much-needed boost to a system that was already overburdened and rife with inefficiency before the pandemic.
To help drive innovation in pediatric care, specifically, each year, the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National in Washington, DC, hosts a Pediatric Device Innovation Symposium to explore ways to bring solutions to market faster for children. The annual event features a medical device pitch competition in conjunction with the National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation (NCC-PDI).
This year, NCC-PDI added a special “Make Your Medical Device Pitch for Kids!” event, which was held virtually and focused on innovations in COVID-19-related medical devices to improve healthcare for children.
The eight winners of the special COVID-19 edition of the event were determined by a panel of 75 expert judges from healthcare, business, investor and regulatory sectors. Criteria for selecting winners included clinical significance and commercial feasibility of the devices. The focus of the event on devices that support home health monitoring and telehealth, as well as those that would improve sustainability, resiliency and readiness in diagnosing and treating children during a pandemic.
- Bloom Standard (Kaaria), Hong Kong, China – $20,000 awarded – wearable, AI-driven ultrasound for infant cardiac and pulmonary screening and diagnostics
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – $20,000 awarded – transparent reusable DIY origami facemask that reveals facial expressions & improves communication
- Hopscotch, Ithaca, New York – $20,000 awarded – gamified cognitive behavioral therapy-based computer exercises to encourage kids to stay engaged and complete treatment programs
- Medipines, Yorba Linda, California – $50,000 awarded – monitor device that displays critical respiratory parameters analyzed from a patient’s breathing sample
- OtoPhoto, Baltimore, Maryland – $20,000 awarded – a smart otoscope that quickly and accurately aids diagnosis of ear infections for home telehealth use
- TGV-Dx, New York, New York – $50,000 awarded – a novel, phenotype-based test system for rapid selection of effective antibiotic regimen
- Vitls, Houston, Texas – $50,000 awarded – wearable platform for remote patient monitoring of the vitals clinicians require to assess a patient
- X-Biomedical, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – $20,000 awarded – rugged, portable smart ICU ventilator for pediatric and adult patients
Each of the eight winners received a share of $250,000 in grants.
Grand highlighted the importance of the event in providing support for innovative companies that are driven to protect what he calls “our most vulnerable population.”
In addition to the funding, one of the companies will also be chosen by Johnson & Johnson Innovation to receive a one-year residency at JLABS @ Washington, DC. The facility will be located in the new Children’s National Research and Innovations Campus that is currently being built.