Rethink Results, a urine testing startup, has won first place at Western Australia’s Health and Wellbeing Ideation Hackathon. The two day event brought together students and leaders of industry to develop healthtech prototypes to support new or better solutions to real health challenges.
Urine testing is not just important for catching drug cheats in competitive sports, but is responsible for catching diseases and informing doctors on what treatment and medication to provide patients.
To translate urine testing results in a more meaningful way, Rethink Results proposed a new format to reduce the unnecessary prescription of antibiotics. The startup concept was developed over the course of the two day hackathon to assist doctors and patients to prescribe and take the correct treatment and course of action. The overall aim of the startup is to to address the current problems with antimicrobial resistance.
Nearly 30 percent of all antibiotics are prescribed unnecessarily by clinics, according to a review of patient data collected by the Journal of the American Medical Association. The worst case scenario from taking unnecessary medication is death, but this issue extends beyond those one-off fatal cases and celebrity overdoses.
The world’s increasing antibiotic resistance has blamed the over prescription of antibiotics, which in turn has caused two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths annually, according to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
A re-formatted urine test, while quite a simple measure, may have the potential to save millions of lives and halt the build of such a strong worldwide antibiotic resistance.
The healthtech idea was created out of a three part ideation and hack over the course of the two day event. As well as the overall first prize, taking home $300 per team member, Rethink Results also won the ‘Re-visualising Results’ hack challenge where teams looked to improve health and behaviour around individual patient testing in bloods and urine through better communication and visualisation.
Results of blood and urine tests are often communicated face-to-face by a health practitioner and are sometimes provided in hard copy to the patient.
The hackathon challenge looked to find a more personalised information solution to the current face-to-face communication. Re-visualised results can lead to improved interaction and have the ability to change a patient’s behaviour and reduce the long term pressure on health services.
The second challenge, the ‘Better for Burns’ hack, aimed to find solutions to better manage burn patient outcomes and clinical intervention. It is important for the WA community to come up with real impact solutions as healing processes for burns in remote and rural areas are often costly. Fifty percent of burn injury hospitalisations in WA occur in outer-city communities where there is less access to health services.
This hack’s winner, taking home $200 per team member, developed a burn diagnostic app to assist patients located in those regional areas. The app aims to apply the nest type of treatment according to the severity of the burn and also assist with ongoing monitoring of the burn and the consequent healing process.
The final hack, ‘Rethinking BMI’, aimed to solve the problem of traditional inaccurate BMI calculation by taking into account body profiles, fat distribution, and communication. The total acute hospital costs attributed to excess body mass in Australia make up 5.7 percent of all acute hospital expenditure in Australia.
The $100 per team member prize for this hack went to a startup called BMI Out, which aimed to provide new applications for the MyFiziq app. MyFiziq provides a personalised avatar based on body measurements. By applying the body contour and weigh monitoring technology with other health information, a better risk assessment and BMI calculation can be made.
The BMI Out technology could be applied in the life and health insurance industry to provide insurers with a more accurate individual health status for premium assessments.
Challenge sponsors on the day included the team from MyFiziq app, Fiona Stanley Hospital with the Fiona Woods Burn Unit and PathWest, Perth’s Laboratory of Medicine. The sponsors found that the students took new approaches and asked intriguing questions which helped them to develop a prototype that could have practical application.
The Health and Wellbeing Ideation Hackathon was run parallel to the Science on the Swan 2016 conference, an academic conference that brought innovation activity and research to tackle real world health issues.
Australia has great potential in the medicine and healthtech industries and has increasingly been investing into startups offering real impact solutions to health challenges. While gaining traction in Australia, some of these startups are also finding viable markets overseas in the US and the UK, places where health practices are similar to our own.
Today Australian healthtech startup CliniCloud announced the launch of its home medical kit through an integration with leading US telehealth provider Doctor On Demand. Both healthtech solutions aim to bring the tools of the doctor’s office into the home for faster diagnosis of conditions and preventing unnecessary trips to the emergency room.
Image: Science on the Swan 2016 Conference. Source: Supplied.