Originally published April 30, 2014 on MedTech Boston.
In the TV show “Shark Tank,” potential investors—the sharks—listen to pitches by budding businesses. Once the sharks “bite” to show interest in an idea, the business gets to decide, on the spot, which investor to take on. On Monday, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Innovation Hub (BWH iHub) held its own pilot shark tank, drawing 10 finalists out of over forty applicants to the stage to pitch their ideas to the “sharks” (BWH clinical faculty). The prize, in this case, was not money but the chance to be paired with clinicians to test their innovative solutions in an actual clinical environment.
This is Brigham’s first open invitation to the private sector into the traditionally impenetrable walls of this academic powerhouse. From the very start of the program at 4pm, the auditorium was packed with standing room only–with entrepreneurial intellects eagerly awaiting the insights of the nimble private sector. Physician lead of Hacking Pediatrics and the Director of Clinical Mobile Solutions of Boston Children’s Hospital Michael Doctktor, MD said, “It’s exciting to see medical entrepreneurs with great ideas find the support they need to take their solutions to the next step. The iHub did a great job in getting creative and getting the word out about the potential of these innovative and disruptive technologies to change patient care.”
By the end of the evening, Twine Health, a company that has created a collaborative care platform with synchronized apps for chronic disease management, had four of the six sharks interested. The CEO and co-founder, John Moore, presented statistics from past pilots including a 90 percent success rate of patients achieving their blood pressure goal within three months of using the platform. Amongst the four vying sharks, Moore chose to team up with Stuart Pollack, who is medical director of BWH Advanced Primary Care Associates.
Three other companies out of the ten presenters won the opportunity to pilot their idea.Tenacity Health, a peer-coaching platform using incentives to motivate patients to change their health, garnered the interest of many of the “sharks.” It ended up pairing with a clinician from the audience who was introduced as a seventh shark: Katherine Rose, a primary care provider at BWH’s South Huntington practice.
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