A doctor’s visiting time is a limited resource. Yet patients worldwide increasingly demand more knowledge and control over their health. The need for new strategies to effectively diagnose and treat patients, without constant face-to-face consultations, is exactly what is spawning the rise and use of digital tools, such as video and specialized apps. But, while this new way in which both doctors and patients relate to one another may work for some illnesses, others like skin diseases, still require frequent monitoring and follow up visits.

Contributing to the healthcare revolution

Photo: Contributing to the healthcare revolution. Credit: Courtesy of the organization.

Psoriasis, a long-lasting skin disease, is a perfect example of how poor treatment continuity, lack of knowledge on behalf of patients and the need of frequent monitoring affects the quality of life of a significant amount of those who suffer from it. What if there was a new and more efficient and scalable solution to diagnose and treat psoriasis?

Reimagining medicine to improve people’s lives in ways we never thought possible is what fuels Novartis, the global health leader who created Novartis Biome. a network of innovative centers which strengthens the connection and interaction between the company and all the agents within the digital ecosystem. So when they contacted Opinno to help them identify and gather the best startups in the world for the Derma Pitch Competition de Novartis Biomewe knew this was an exciting opportunity to contribute to a revolution in healthcare.

“The first question we asked ourselves was how to attract the best talent out there,” recalls Patricia Mizrahi, Opinno´s Project Leader. “At Opinno, we know from experience that launching a competition of this kind implies a clear definition of the challenge presented to the competing startups, an appealing proposition that truly adds value to independent entrepreneurs and a transparent set of selection criteria that clears the path and chances to win for all competitors,” says Patricia.

Contributing to the healthcare revolution

Photo: Patricia Mizrahi, Opinionno Project Director, speaking with one of the finalists. Credit: Courtesy of the organization.

The scouting process began. It involved emails, phone calls and weekly reminders to potential startups, which resulted in a long list of 101 candidates. “After an evaluation of in-depth phone interviews, we narrowed that list to 20 startups, who were then placed under the scrutiny of a group of dermatologists who attended the 5th National Psoriasis Congress in Madrid, ” Patricia explains.

That team narrowed the candidates to thirteen, and after the final reports, led by Novartis experts, a final short list of 6 startups was created. In order to win, each would have to integrate their idea in an app and integrate the best of AI and digital images.

It consisted in optimizing the attention received, allowing both patients and dermatologists to obtain relevant information in order to provide ongoing recommendations based on skin symptoms. For example, a potential solution could include medication reminders, information about healthy habits or personalized recommendations, according to the symptoms detected.

Derma Pitch

Photo: Two of the finalists presenting their projectCredit: Courtesy of the organization.

All six candidates knew what winning would mean: gaining impact and visibility, financial opportunities, ongoing support from Novartis experts and dermatologists, as well as a world of connections. But first, they would have to pitch their ideas in Barcelona, at the coveted Pilot Project Program.

During each phase of the competition- Launch, Scouting, Evaluation, and final Pitch Day – we analyzed, improved and helped execute the methodology, as well as the results. “But we also wanted to extract the best practices and areas of improvement for future editions,” Patricia says remembering the exciting process leading up to the final pitch day. This involved designing an efficient and appealing communication strategy including the initial launch, web site architecture, visual and copy management as well as the development of information kits.

Finally, after two intense working sessions to help them prepare, the 6 finalists were ready to pitch their groundbreaking ideas to the jury. And the winner was Captureproof a groundbreaking, scalable telemedicine app that could help change diagnosis and treatment of psoriasis forever.

The end results: a happy client, a winning startup, a proud team, and a giant step forward in innovative digital solutions that will disrupt and shape the healthcare revolution that is here to stay.