A device that embeds a urine diagnostic device into a postcard has been named the winner of the inaugural Digital Health Rewired Pitchfest.
TestCard – which enables individuals to conduct urine tests at home – beat off stiff competition during a fiercely fought final round during the Digital Health Rewired Conference and Expo at London’s Olympia.
Announcing the winner, Tara Donnelly – interim chief digital officer at NHS England – said the judges considered the device a “transformative innovation that could make a huge difference not just in this country but overseas as well”.
They also praised the “consumer-empowering focus” of the TestCard, something Andrew Botham – co founder and chief scientific officer – said was central to the concept.
“Point of care tests haven’t improved outcomes from what we’ve seen,” he said during his pitch. “We think this is because they happen in clinical settings. If we want to improve people’s outcomes, we need to push back into people’s home.”
Highly commended in the competition, meanwhile, was SurgEase Innovations, founded by bowel surgeon Fareed Iqbal. He said the company’s aim was to “become world leaders in making diagnosis of anorectal disease more efficient, more dignified and safer”.
The firm has developed an alternative to the traditional device used to diagnose rectal cancer – the second leading cause of cancer deaths, with almost 50% of UK cases diagnosed at late stage when chances of recovery are much smaller.
There were four finalists in all, whittled down from 70 entrants at the outset. Alongside TestCare and SurgEase were Mendelian, which aims to use data analysis to improve diagnosis of rare disease, and Cievert, with a chatbox designed to better manage follow up appointments.
The Pitchfest, which was sponsored by Silver Buck, was designed to give innovators from across health and social care the chance to pitch their idea to sector leaders.
The judging panel was made up of Manoj Badale, co-founder, Blenheim Chalcot; Will Gibbs, Octopus Ventures; Dr Jonathan Bloor, clinical director System C and co-founder of Careflow; Dr Mohammad Al-Ubaydli, CEO and founder of Patients Know Best; Julie Bretland, CEO, OurMobileHealth; Charles Lowe, CEO, Digital Health and Care Alliance.