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7th Medica App Competition Reaches Final Stage

By Medica | 11.12.18

Focus not only on the app—well-thought-out solutions are key.

The winner for the seventh Medica App Competition will be decided Wednesday and this means one thing: The search for the best health app solutions in the world is nearly over. Here, the main focus is not solely on the app, but rather on a well-thought-out overall solution for the day-to-day use of patients, doctors, and clinics, as organizer Mark Wächter explained. “A drone that delivers medical products and can be controlled via smartphone, for example, is a possible award-winning solution.” The competition is for applications for smartphones, smartwatches, tablets or AR/VR glasses—however, fitness or wellness applications are excluded. Submitted applications had a connection to professional medical technology—and start-ups that are still in an early stage were more than welcome. 
 
Out of all submissions, the Medica App Competition’s jury of experts has selected 10 start-ups to compete in the live pitch, which will take place during the Medica 2018 (12 to 15 November 2018) in Hall 15 at the Düsseldorf trade fair center. Here, the finalists will present their applications on the Medica Connected Healthcare Forum stage on Wednesday, 14 November, starting at 3 p.m.
 
A glance at last year’s winner gives an impression of the scope of the developers’ creativity. iSikCure, the ambitious winning project, strives to give users access to healthcare, particularly in Africa. Dr. Moka Lantum, founding member of MicroClinic Technologies, describes his service’s use: “Whilst a large part of the world is mostly talking about the ‘Internet of things,” we focus on the ‘Internet of people’.” The iSikCure application allows patients to communicate with their doctors, laboratories, chemists and other suppliers in the field of healthcare via smartphone. For example, the application enables users to make payments, obtain second opinions and verify a supplier’s reputation. Lantum himself is also the CEO of Sagitarix Ltd Kenya. He considers the start-up as part of Silicon Savannah. Here, young “nerds” develop applications for mobile phones that will also work on cheaper phones and can therefore be used even by rural population with lower incomes. Therefore, iSikCure, for example, allows payment via M-Pesa. This is a smartphone currency that can be used to carry out basic transactions such as money transfers and cashless payments via smartphone and does not require access to a regular bank account. It is becoming increasingly more popular, not only in Kenya. 
 
Contacts to Business Partners Are More Important Than the Prize Money 
To Dr. Moka Lattum, the MEDICA App Competition prize money of 2,000 euros, however, was little more than a pleasant side effect. “For us, it was far more important that we came into contact with three partners, among them companies from America and Finland. We are still looking for further partners. This network is extremely valuable for our project.” 
 
To Laktum, the MEDICA represents a special event in the health IT field. “It offers the opportunity to meet experts on the healthcare system and learn about different perspectives—from the technical medical side to the patient’s view.” In contrast to other IT events, everyone here is a healthcare industry expert: “The participants know a lot about regulatory conditions, business models and medical technology.” This is one reason why Lantum recommends that other internationally active start-ups also take part. With Boehringer Ingelheim and Ashoka, iSikCure already has partners, however, they would like to further develop the service in order to continue growing. Lantum emphasizes that mobile technology is particularly important in growing markets in order to maintain contact with patients and consumers, increase treatment adherence and carry out studies. As last year’s winner, Lantum will be on the MEDICA App Competition jury, which pre-selects applications (this pre-screening of the top 10 start-ups for the live pitch will take place at the beginning of October). 
 
From Participating in the App Competition to Exhibiting at MEDICA 
Last year, the second place was taken by the Air Smart Spirometer project (by NuvoAir/Stockholm), which is the first spirometer that is linked with a smartphone. Shortly before the award ceremony, NuvoAir announced their strategic partnership with Novartis Pharma. They have announced a cooperation with London’s Royal Brompton Hospital, one of the leading lung centers worldwide. The hospital will use the NuvoAir platform to improve medical care for its 6,000 cystic fibrosis patients. This year, NuvoAir will be one of the more than 5,000 exhibitors that make this the world’s largest medical trade fare—participating in the MEDICA START-UP PARK. "Using our hardware and application, users can measure their lung capacity themselves at home. We hope that we will be able to get more business partners excited about our project at MEDICA 2018,” explained Max Ladow, Product Manager at NUVOAIR, delineating their objective. 
 
Germany also brings practical health application solutions to maturity, as emphasized by the application Kaia from Munich, which came third in the MEDICA App Competition 2017. Kaia brings multidisciplinary therapies for back pain which are in line with directives into the digital world. On this year’s day dedicated to back health, the team of developers announced a success: Persons who are suffering from back pain and are insured with AOK Nordost can use the certified medical application “Kaia Health” free of charge for one year. 
 
No matter which of the developed applications takes first prize, one thing is certain: Every finalist of the MEDICA App Competition can count themselves on the winning team. And without a doubt, their prize is the global attention that MEDICA offers, regularly attracting 120,000 trade visitors from over 120 different countries in the last years. In addition, this year’s first place winner will be honored with 2,000 euros, the second place will be awarded 1,000 euros and the third place will receive 500 euros. As in previous years, partners and sponsors will be donating numerous non-cash prizes, among them 2 tickets to the global technology event SXSW. 
 
For further information on MEDICA 2018, the program for accompanying conferences and integrated forums as well as on exhibitors and their new products, please click here: http://www.medica-tradefair.com.