BIP Innovation Challange by Richard Corbridge

Posted on 21st November

The first event of Health Innovation week is over, and what a wonderful event it was too! Three teams formed bright (and cold) and early on Saturday morning. They were set a task: “What digital solutions can do to support the care, treatment and awareness of Bipolar disorder”. In the room at the Innovation Academy in Trinity College, Dublin, were technologists, clinicians, patients and expert innovators all there to turn ideas into reality over 48 hours.

Mentors from across a number of sectors all came to help drive the idea and the thought process with Krystian Fikert and Iseult White (MyMind), Rick Rossiter (Sea Change), David Bowles (Delta Partners), Gavin Doherty (Trinity and SilverCloud), , Seamus MacSuibhne from the CCIO, Niall Sinnott(HSE) and Louise Andrews of the Innovation Academy.

Day one started with the very amazing Rick Rossiter, who laid out what it means to suffer Bi Polar disorder, how hard it is to get a diagnosis and as a patient coming into the room, what he thought an innovation to help this situation would be like. Throughout the day the various mentors helped each of the teams, “form, storm and begin to norm”. The teams knew they were in competition and yet collaborated helped, laughed and nearly cried with each other along the way.

By Day 2 there were three different answers to the question set. The first team to present, BIP App had the idea to create a digital, almost social, solution that would aid with diagnosis. When it can take up to 8 years to get a diagnosis of Bi Polar disorder, the buzz around this possible solution was huge. The impact on family and friends as well as the person suffering with the illness can be quite significant, so to know at last what it is that is having such a life changing impact can be transformational. A diagnosis can help with dealing with (what today is still) a social stigma that is associated with the disorder. Being able to ‘collapse’ the time frame for diagnosis is what the first team were going after as their goal, and they had some amazing ‘wire frames’ of what the solution would look like.

The next team up had created not just an answer to the question, but a brand and a company structure! Meet B.O.B. - the Bi Polar Outreach Bot - a clinically validated learning bot. Imagine being given the phone number or identity of a new friend who would be able to talk to you, react to you and offer assistance, guidance and alert the people you the patient want to have alerted based on your defined needs? That is what Bob can do! Bob can deliver timeliness to the care pathway and remove the need to rely on timeliness for the delivery of care. The sudden risk and trust could also be solved through Bob as the patient knows Bob is a virtual person, so there is no risk of passing on information or even capturing the wrong data, each Bob is there for just that patient.

The final team was MiPolar, a solution that can help a sufferer receive early warning of an episode being triggered. Based on the patient-defined parameters, an app and social monitoring set of APIs could warn you, the patient, that your behaviour is triggering you towards an episode. The information gathering is non-invasive and the patient decides what information they will allow flow into the app, whether its location information, personal banking information or sleep patterns, so, much of what is measured and gathered already can be captured and made available to an algorithm that alerts them and the people they have chosen to be alerted to the risk of a relapse of an episode. The team have already built a very information rich and beautifully designed app for the mobile, and by the end of Day 2 were able to demonstrate the app in use with some open data.

Judging the final pitches were; Richard Corbridge, CEO of eHealth Ireland; Sean Mulvaney, Trinity Technology Transfer Manager and Fergus O'Dea, Venture Lead at the NDRC. The judges comments after three faultless pitches were simply how close the competition had become, the judging team were impressed by the breadth of considerations that had been undertaken and the clear patient understanding that had been built across the three teams. eHealth Ireland’s CEO decided that all three teams would be given the opportunity to engage with the Chief Clinical Information Officers council and that would help them build their idea still further, but there had to be an overall winner.

B.O.B. team comprised Fiarcha Maguire, Duncan Healy, Thomas Duigan and Anne Byrne was picked by the judges as the winner, the team had clearly come together in just two days and were now really able to start considering how to pilot a solution. The judges were impressed by how the team were now working together and how much energy they had been able to bring to the delivery of a solution that would quickly benefit the lives of patients with this illness.

Sean Mulvaney commented that all three ideas were entirely viable solutions that could be taken forward by eHealth Ireland and maybe even as one platform rather than three teams.

A huge thank you has to go out to Trinity College and in particular Fionnuala Healy for helping eHealth Ireland create the event and to eHealth Ireland’s very own Clyde Hutchinson who drove forward from concept to the event, the format, style and content of the day.

With the first main event now completed and discussions about the meaning of innovation already underway on social media platforms, the team now moves on to the next event, the Health Tech strand of IoT World. See you there!

Health Innovation Week 2016