Winners announced for unique digital health program

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Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI), in collaboration with innovation company Curve Tomorrow, has announced the two winners its its inaugural Bytes4health program.

The winners were officially announced by Health Minister Sussan Ley.

The winners were selected from a pool of 10 finalists to develop their health technology products, which are designed to benefit the health and wellbeing of seriously ill children and the wider population.

The Bytes4Health program is aimed at addressing limited opportunities for health technology companies to access medical research and clinical expertise to validate their technology for healthcare applications.

The winners will receive the opportunity to work closely with research and clinical leaders at MCRI. They will also receive $25,000 towards the development of their technology.

The winners are:

Phoria: Virtual reality company Phoria has designed a custom virtual reality (VR) experience for children in hospital. Its product DREAM3D allows patients to choose their own adventures whilst enabling researchers to validate the clinical benefits of using VR and improve the well-being of long-stay, chronically ill children.

SkinView: Company SkinView has developed a disposable device that clips on to a smart phone turning it into a digital dermatoscope to examine skin lesions. As a winner of the Bytes4Health program SkinView will develop its technology to diagnose and monitor paediatric skin conditions.

Phoria CEO Trent Clews-De Castella said his team are very excited about the opportunity to participate in MCRI's Bytes4Health program.

“By partnering with MCRI, Phoria can perform ground-breaking research into the efficacy of immersive media and virtual reality as an innovative drug-free tool that reduces pain and anxiety and helps improve the quality of life for patients in hospital.”

SkinView CEO Sam Holt said Bytes4Health is an essential element in helping Australia build a world-class digital health platform.

“Connecting leading healthcare providers, researchers and payors with the digital community is critical to ensure that great ideas can turn into clinically validated solutions.”

The Bytes4Health program is founded on the collaborative model established by MCRI and health innovation company Curve Tomorrow, which is now located at MCRI.

It brings together medical research with technology capability, enabling designers, engineers and technology experts to work side-by-side with health professionals and medical researchers. It has seen the development of innovative healthcare products and services that have a strong research evidence base and are championed by leaders in the research and clinical fields. Examples include the HeadCheck concussion app, supported by the AFL.

Dr James Dromey, General Manager - Business Development and Strategy at MCRI, said: “The Bytes4Health program addresses an unmet need in the health technology sector. While we have seen a growing number of startup incubators and accelerators in Australia, there are very limited opportunities for healthtech companies to access medical research and clinical expertise. This is an important step in enabling companies to produce high quality clinically validated products that meet the needs of the healthcare and patient communities.”

Bytes4Health foundation partners Konica Minolta, KPMG and Corum Group are key supporters of the program and see it as a valuable way to support innovation in healthcare.