In a world where our population is growing, and we are living longer than ever before, the demand for healthcare is steadily increasing. This is a challenge that society cannot tackle alone. It is, therefore, essential to employ innovation to help people remain fit, healthy, and independent for as long as possible. To promote this, the ZorgTech innovation program initiated a subsidy round in late 2021 on the theme of 'Aging Healthily.'
Eight project consortia participated in this initiative. After the completion of these projects, we now look back. How have these healthcare innovations progressed, and have these ZorgTech projects contributed to the improvement of healthcare? The answer to this question can be found in this article.
The ZorgTech innovation program is made possible by the province of South Holland, TNO, Metropolitan Region Rotterdam The Hague (MRDH), InnovationQuarter, and Medical Delta; its execution is managed by InnovationQuarter, TNO, and Medical Delta. https://www.innovationquarter.nl/item/projecten-zorgtech/#toggle-id-1-closed
In recent times, the eight participating consortia have made significant strides in the further development of their healthcare innovations. They have conducted pilots, testing sessions, and research, including user studies and scalability studies. Thanks to the formed project consortia, consisting of a healthcare innovation company, a healthcare organization, and other relevant parties, all of this has been achieved. These collaborations allowed the companies to validate their solutions in practice and make further advancements in technological healthcare innovation. An absolute asset for healthcare.
The participating companies confirm this: "The ZorgTech voucher provided a flying start to our project, and thanks to the voucher, we were able to further develop SmartCOPD, making the application more useful for our target group in geriatric rehabilitation," says Leonoor van Dam van Isselt from SmartCOPD.
Tim van den Ing from Rollz states: "The voucher scheme was a great way for us to create the necessary engagement with the healthcare organization and gave us that decisive push to truly enter it. Without ZorgTech subsidy, we would not have been able to experiment with the prototype in this operational environment."
The collaboration between companies with healthcare technological solutions and healthcare organizations makes the program special. An example of this is the project consortium of Rollz, Basalt (an expertise center for rehabilitation care), and The Hague University of Applied Sciences. This collaboration provides Rollz with better opportunities to evaluate future innovations and allows Basalt to apply and integrate the latest developments directly into their treatment methods. Additionally, The Hague University of Applied Sciences benefits from projects to leverage, expand, and deepen the knowledge of their researchers and students. A win-win-win situation for healthcare innovation companies, healthcare, and education.
This was just the decisive push to get inside the healthcare institution and demonstrate our prototype in the operational environment. – Tim van den Ing, Rollz
All the project consortia contribute to higher healthcare quality. Some examples from the participating companies illustrate this:
HealthyChronos developed a pre/rehabilitation home monitoring dashboard for oncology physiotherapists, improving the recovery process of cured cancer patients. Cue2Walk optimized the digital tool for easy use in daily practice, for both the user and the healthcare provider. The tool boosts confidence, contributing to a more active life for people with Parkinson's.
Linksight further developed the platform in data collaboration with Pieter van Foreest, the health insurance company and insurer DSW, and the Municipality of Delft, aligning it better with the elderly care domain. This allows relevant data insights to be obtained without sharing sensitive information, improving elderly care in the Municipality of Delft.
Most of the solutions lead to increased efficiency in the work of healthcare personnel. In a short time, Momo Medical developed a new product that detects inconsistencies in patients and promptly alerts caregivers. Hello 24/7 designed a digital portal for rehabilitation specialists, allowing patient data to be easily tracked and shared, facilitating a smooth transition from rehabilitation to home.
Doser made significant strides with the installation of MedPrint at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), where the product was assessed in practice. Doser's 3D printer solution optimizes medication for the elderly with polypharmacy through a poly-pill, reducing side effects and ensuring the correct personalized dosage. In short, a step toward personalized medication.
The future looks promising for the participating companies. Doser is currently conducting pilots at Leiden University's pharmacy and a specialized pharmacy in The Hague and is looking to expand further. Cue2Walk's wearable is already in use by over one hundred Parkinson's patients and is exploring possibilities for product scaling to reach even more people with Parkinson's. Many of the companies have raised investments, and teams have grown, such as Momo Medical, which welcomed ten new colleagues.
"The ZorgTech program is incredibly valuable for the participating companies. Through the project consortia, these companies have made considerable progress in their healthcare innovation in a short time. In this year and a half, all the participating companies have contributed to the overarching goal: improving healthcare in the Netherlands, which is sorely needed. With the ZorgTech program, we are highlighting the innovation strength within healthcare and the South Holland region, and I am incredibly proud of that," says Marieke Kodde, ZorgTech Program Manager.