Mobilehealthglobal.com meeting of brilliant ideas at the mobile world congress
Meeting of brilliant ideas at the Mobile World Congress
Feb 27, 2015
The innovation generated by start-ups will be one of the main features of the Mobile World Congress (#MWC15,
Barcelona March 2-5). Innovation will be present in several health-related sections of the congress. On the one
hand, there's the Health & Wellness, the congress that gathers most of conferences about health that will be taking
place that week. Within that event, solutions will be showcased at the Showcase Innovation sessions. Brian
O'Connor-Director of ECHAlliance, the congress organisers-explained in this interview that what these solutions
have in common is their business potential, their originality and their interoperability.
On the other hand, there will be the presentations and exhibitions at the 4 Years
From Now (4YFN) (Fira Montjuïc, Plaça Espanya). This will be the second edition
of the 4YFN, an event that seeks to connect young entrepreneurs with investors
that can give a boost to their companies. To its director, Aleix Valls, "this is a great
opportunity to network in a unique setting, and in a time when investors are
really interested in the health sector. The sector is booming right now. The
technology," he continued "can democratise access to healthcare and reduce
Challenges and opportunities
Mobile Health Global has talked to some of the entrepreneurs that will exhibit their solutions in Barcelona during
the MWC. Them, young and not-that-young, have talked to us about their goals, the difficulties they have
encountered in the road to entrepreneurship and what opportunities the MWC15 represents for them.
Richard Bowden is Assesspatients Founder and CEO, which is a web solution targeted to multidisciplinary teams
(health and social care professionals) working with the elderly, so that they can offer a better and more
coordinated care. "Elderly care is a service that involves many professionals who work separately. We have
proof that 80% of their time is spent on administrative tasks. Improving the way their tasks are managed
gives them more quality time spent with the patient," explained Bowden, who will be presenting his solution at
the Health & Wellness. This platform allows professionals to share data and coordinate interventions with the
Assesspatients is currently in its pilot phase at the Saint Mary Hospital in Dublin. The company is also in talks with
other health and social care organisations in the UK to provide their services. Bowden, who has broad experience
in the public and private health sector, states that "it is not easy to get the engagement of healthcare organisations.
One of the main challenges is proving a revenue stream." In Barcelona they hope to get in touch with other
European health organisations, since until now they have only worked in the United Kingdom.
Another start-up concerned with elderly care is Acvfit, whose mission is to empower older people so that they can
lead an active and healthy life. Through a mobile app, users can receive information, introduce data and be part of
a community by sharing their statistics and producing valuable information (Big Data). Doctor Caty Ebel Bitoun,
the startup's founder and CEO, states that it is difficult to stand out in the current health market "where every
day there's a thousand new apps and many end up just disappearing." Their value, she explained, lies in
"distinguishing ourselves form our competitors by focusing on the social aspect." In fact, Acvfit has been declared
by the French authorities an ESS (Social and Supportive Health Company). There are already 5,000 people using
the app, although the official launch will be in September. Ebel and Véronique Brunais, co-founder of the company,
think big and, in the future, they can see their solution integrated with the biggest healthcare providers.
Another Doctor-turned-entrepreneur is Patricia Sigam, at the front of DigitalMedLab, a startup based in Winterthur
(Switzerland) and focused on developing mobile apps for health professionals and patients. Their first app, after
two years and a half of trials and improvements, is WoundDesk, which helps health professionals manage and
evaluate their patients' injuries, a task that occupies a huge portion of the nurses' time-two thirds of it, precisely,
according to DigitalMedLab data. Thanks to this app they can take a picture of the injury, measure it and share the
information with their colleagues. A study by the University of Geneva, the Swiss Association for Telemedicine and
eHealth and DigitalMedLab has proven that the app improves the evolution of the patient's condition.
But the road to the final launch, which will take place during the congress, has not been easy. "It's quite
impossible to get finance before you have customers, that means that you have to finance everything by
yourself" Sigam stated. She also emphasizes the difficulties in "combining medical tools with technologies.
Sometimes it is difficult for IT people to understand the constraints in healthcare". Patricia will be presenting her
solution both at the Health & Wellness and at 4FYFN.
Ana Selva is another entrepreneur who will be showing her digital project at 4FYFN. Nuakea, an app that will help
women through their pregnancy, delivery and baby care that seeks to not be as medicalised as-according to
Selva-clinics are. The app provides information "free from commercial interests" and allows women and their circle
to interact and share information. Selva hopes to find investors interested in her project "without sacrificing our
Another young entrepreneur who will be at the 4YFN is Meritxell Molina, who will present Picto Connection, an app
to help people with autism communicate better with their environment. Molina, who is a neuropsychologist, knew
this would be practical due to personal experience. She used to work with people with autism and "because I
couldn't find a tool that could help me in my work with my patients I decided to create it myself." Receiving
awards from institutions like Telefónica, Vodafone or Ashoka gave her recognition and helped her to become part
of a business incubator. What she hopes at the congress is to "create synergies with other start-ups, network and
meet potential clients and investors."
Pablo Caballero, an entrepreneur focused on nutrition, will come at the Health & Wellness to present VitaDieta, a
tech solution that is able to generate personalised diets and that will facilitate nutritionists' work. The app
was launched some months ago and has already 2,000 users. "The feedback is excellent", Caballero stated. He
participates at the Health & Wellness to find business partners and network. Through the development of the app
Caballero and his team encountered several difficulties: economic-the development was quite expensive-,
technologic and content-related, because they had to generate "a database with thousands of recipes that would
allow us to make tailored diets." The company is working on a system that will generate automatically
personalised diets for people with cancer and other patients, people with diabetes, hepatitis, aids, etc.
And, of course, some of the solutions at the Health & Wellness
are addressed to patients suffering from chronic conditions.
Aurora Ferrádiz, IT consultant expert in mHealth and eHealth,
will introduce EducaXair: a web platform and a mobile app for
people with chronic respiratory diseases that has been
sponsored by the LovexAir Foundation. This solution allows
people to manage their disease by themselves, with the
support of a team who monitors their condition through the web
and with face-to-face appointments. EducaXair will soon enter
in their pilot phase in a medical centre. "It was something that had to be addressed, if you consider the lack of
health platforms that include shared areas for patients." The main challenge when creating EducaXair, according
to Ferrándiz, was to "put in common the different approaches of each of the stakeholders." One of the best
features of EducaXair is the fact that "it is a solution that can be adapted to any type of chronic patient,"
as Ferrándiz stated.
On the other hand, Chibuzo Anaso, an entrepreneur and doctor from South Africa, will present at the Health &
Wellness congress Anaso Diabitiz, an app and web platform that helps manage diabetes. "In Africa," he explained
"there are 15 million people with diabetes, but around 10 million are not aware of it." It is a tool that allows people
to monitor and manage their condition, as well as interacting with other patients while simultaneously generating
data. Anaso had the idea after he saw how many patients with diabetes came to his practice. "The main
challenge I encountered was my own ignorance. My background was as a medical practitioner and I had
no knowledge about how to start and run a company." The platform, he explained "will provide education to
people who live with diabetes. They will learn from people with similar experiences and they will receive
information on a regular basis." Anaso Diabitiz pilot project with some hundreds of patients has already finished
and it is ready to be launched by March 10 in South Africa, in a shared initiative with the Ministry of Health.
Health & Wellness congress will take place in two days in two different locations:
The 3rd of March the congress will be located in Mobile World Centre (Plaça Catalunya).
The 4rd of March the congress will take place in Mobile World Congress Fira Gran Via, Hall 8.0, Theater C.
4 Years From Now will take place from the 2nd to the 4rth of March in Fira Montjuïc (Plaça Espanya).
Teresa Bau, Mobile Health Global Editor
Links of interest:
List of exhibitors at the Mobile World Congress