2018 Medical Innovation Summit: Memorable Moments from the Startup Showcase & Women in Health Tech

The brightest minds in healthcare converged in Cleveland for three days of connecting, strategizing and disrupting for innovative change. Cleveland Clinic’s 2018 Medical Innovation Summit (MIS) attracted global thought leaders ready to reimagine healthcare and tackle big issues. Explore this recap below, which highlights two of the event’s most exciting engagements which were developed in collaboration with HIMSS: the Startup Showcase and the Women in Health Tech “Brass Tracks” breakout session.

It All Starts with Startups

The Medical Innovations Summit kicked off with a Startup Showcase powered by Cleveland Clinic, HIMSS, HealthXL, Jumpstart, and Plug and Play – hosted at the HIMSS Innovation & Conference Center with MC Will Morris, senior medical director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations.

Attendees ranged from investors, healthcare leaders, tech innovators and even local high school students from the Cleveland Clinic Civic Education program. Students spent months leading up to the showcase reviewing the startup projects and sharing their predictions on projected winners. 41 startup companies competed within two venues of pitch category: a clinical services/solutions track and a consumer/provider operational track.

Making the Pitch

Timing was tight as each startup was allowed five minutes to pitch concepts.  For three minutes post-pitch, judges from Healthbox (a HIMSS innovation company) Google Cloud, GE Ventures, Cleveland Clinic and other major industry players asked probing questions about business plans, markets, financing, operations and more.

Clinical Services/Solutions: 21 pitches featured innovations such as a pediatric tele-rehab system, a global pre-diabetes prevention program, enhanced imaging quality goggles for minimally invasive surgeries, and human breath diagnostics which monitor and improve medication adherence.

Consumer/Provider Operational Track: 20 pitches featured innovations including a work-life balance mobile app for healthcare professionals, a global medical records system, an at-home patient check-in platform, and a virtual packaging product driven by analytics to help consumers measure usage and improve medical non-compliance.

And the Winners Are…

Judges selected the following startups as winners of the 2018 Cleveland Clinic MIS Startup Showcase:

Clinical Services/Solutions: YouScript, a precision medication management system using analytics to identify patients at-risk for adverse drug interaction. 

  • Consumer/Provider Operational: Sana, designers of Sana Relief, a mask developed to help relieve severe chronic nerve pain.

Congratulations to the 2018 MIS Startup Showcase winners!

Listening to Women in Health Tech

The Women in Health Tech “Brass Tracks” breakout session shared career stories and strategies related to the topic of gender inclusivity in health tech. A variety of crucial conversations resulted from the following discussion points.

Women make 80 percent of healthcare decisions. As key customers, women need to be part of health IT development teams, panelists emphasized.

  • Women in health information and technology roles are typically paid less than men. The 2018 HIMSS U.S. Compensation Survey revealed the pay gap for women in the industry increased from 2006 to 2014, but returned to 2006 levels in 2018. Women of color faced an even wider pay gap according to the survey’s findings.
  • In order to move forward, mentoring and supporting other women in the field is integral. Panelists encouraged professionals to seek out mentor or mentee opportunities to empower the success of other women within a male-dominated field and/or work environment. Also emphasized was the importance of honoring confidentiality and commitment in mentoring relationships.
  • From a business standpoint, gender inclusivity just makes sense.  “Diversity is a huge thread in our company, but we need to do more. It should be a personal goal, not just a company goal. If we don’t have a female talent pipeline, let’s build one! Each of us has that responsibility.” stated Aashima Gupta, event panelist and global head of healthcare solutions, Google Cloud Platform, Google.

The panel acknowledged the qualities and value women often bring to business and healthcare decisions, including attention to details and empathy that allows for seeing situations from another person’s viewpoint. They agreed this is critical when developing new applications, since understanding the user is key.

  • Answer tough questions appropriately. One defining moment during the session included examples of how to respond to oppositional perspectives on the topic of gender inclusivity. This included a recollection of a crucial conversation, reminding attendees why gender inclusivity in health tech is so integral.

“Why do you people keep trying to carve yourselves out?” asked one colleague to another, referencing her focus on empowering women in health tech.

Panelists emphasized this as an opportunity to amplify awareness. Resist the urge to react negatively, they said. Instead respond with, “I’m really glad you asked me that.” These challenging moments can be leveraged as educational opportunities to provide industry data points and share research on the value of women in leadership in healthcare.

  • Diversity matters. Conversations focused on diversity as means to promote a healthy and versatile organizational culture. One compelling data point on diversity cited included the fact that only 24 Fortune 500 CEOs are women. Panelists discussed cultural implications adding to diversity challenges, the importance of generational diversity in hiring practices, and the need to support individuals facing unique physical or mental challenges in their day-to-day lives.

The event proved to be a major success, especially in spotlighting the talent, promise and potential existing in the space today, ranging from early-stage companies to industry professionals.