23 February 2021
25 February 2021
Do you want to know more about the latest cross-over innovations in medicine and health? Then you certainly have to attend the 3rd ‘Life-on-Chip Conference – Exploring the Convergence in Health Technologies’ organized by Smart Hub Flemish Brabant together with flanders.health (DSP Valley, flanders.bio and MedTech Flanders), BioWin, imec, Antleron, VIB, Leuven.Inc and EIT Health.
Micro- and nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, design thinking, robotics, novel manufacturing technologies and big data have made major impacts across all industries, but perhaps their greatest potential impact will be in health and life sciences. Combined with ever-growing biological insights and discoveries, resulting innovations will enable amazing applications that can change the healthcare system.
The conference will present testimonials of roads travelled and lessons learned from pioneering researchers, entrepreneurs and first application movers. You can attend a visionary seminar on nanotech in health and 4 thematic sessions covering how to increase efficiency in the healthcare system through the introduction of new technologies, health-tech solutions for patient specific treatment, digital diagnostics & therapeutics, and progress in shifting the boundaries of knowledge at the forefront of medicine and healthcare. A crash course on internationalization in health & life sciences, matchmaking (B2Match) and virtual booths, abstracts and posters will also be part of the program.
Together with our partners Minalogic and OES, we are proud to announce a series of online sessions bringing SMEs, Midcaps, Labs and RTOs together around Flexible & Wearable Electronics (FWE) Business Opportunities.
Flexible& Wearable Electronics have enormous potential, from healthcare to automotive to textiles, and the business possibilities are endless.
Cooperation and networking are essential to get the tech just right, and to bring viable products to (new) markets.
In three sessions spread across January and March 2021, we invite you to
meet with potential partners through
visionary key notes
pitching sessions (possibilities as well as challenges)
Members: Apply to pitch your tech or your application!
We’re currently offering spots to pitch to DSP Valley members only. If you think you have a can’t-miss pitch, feel free to get in touch via email: jane.judge[at]dspvalley.com
Flexible & wearable electronics (FWE) in healthcare is a combination with a bright future, in part because of the many combinations of possibilities between the two domains.
Personalized medicine, medical devices, digital medicine, diagnostics, and therapeutics are all robust trends within the healthcare industry. They all promise fertile ground in which to bring the digital and electronic together. By one estimate, the market size for flexible electronics in healthcare will exceed $8.3 billion by 2030.
Whether we’re discussing creating medical devices with flexible electronics inside them, or matching flexible electronic technology to digital applications in the healthcare sector, there are many ways the two sectors offer each other fruitful collaboration.
DSP member Verhaert Masters in Innovation has received a research grant from VLAIO to develop state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI-)driven robot technology.
In the research project, Verhaert will develop a robotic platform for spinal surgery which uses algorithms developed by Deep Learning (AI). The developed algorithms will transform high resolution preoperative 3D images, like CT scans and MRIs, to high resolution images of the patient in his or her new physical laying position during surgery. The novel part of the proposed procedure is the significant reduction of the use of cancerogenous ionizing x-ray beams during surgery, like CT-scans, while still being able to perform sub-millimeter surgery and catheter tracking.
3-step surgical procedure Defining the concept The physical laying position of the patient changes before, at the start and during surgery, which has an impact on the physical position and form of the spinal cord. All these changes in position need to be taken into account in order to perform sub-mm surgery.
Before: the patient is laying on her back for high resolution CT/MRI scans.
At the start: the patient is laying on her stomach.
During: the patient is laying on her stomach and slightly moves because of breathing, heartbeat and the impact of the surgery itself.
A high resolution sub millimeter 3D image is taken from the patient several days before surgery. This is done either by a CT-scan or MRI. Typically, the scan is taken while the patient is laying on his/her back. Based on the image the surgery is planned and a trajectory is calculated in order to reach the desired location in the spinal cord.
At the start of surgery At this stage the patient will be laying on his/her stomach. Markers are placed on the patient which are detected by a set of Infra-Red cameras in order to create a 3D model of the patients’ physical position on the operating table. In this new position, a low dose low resolution (supra-millimeter) 2D image is take of the patients’ spine. The 2D image is taken with a C-arm 2D fluoroscopic scanner.
The 2D image and the external marker localizations are used to transform the high resolution pre-surgery 3D image into a newly reconstructed high resolution 3D image of the spine in its new position and form. At this point, the surgeon and its team has a 3D image of the patients’ anatomy in combination with an external reference frame.
During this online event Yves Verboven (Director Market Access and Economic policies at MedTech Europe) will introduce us to the world of Value Based Healthcare. Mr Verboven will also present a practical instrument that was developed by MedTech Europe to help you, as a company, enter into dialogue with procurement departments in healthcare institutions. He will explain how to define your value proposition to make it better match your customers’ expectations.
Additionally, Carl Van Himbeeck (Global Head of Platforms and Technologies, and Adjacent Hearing Indications, General Manager Cochlear Technology Centre) will illustrate a practical case about how Cochlear experiences value based healthcare. Mr Van Himbeeck will share with you some insights on their approach to value based public tenders.
Free Free for flanders.health Connect or higher members
flanders.health members only
This webinar aims to better inform the ecosystem in order to accelerate the development of innovative healthcare solutions. It is open only to flanders.health members, with at least a Connect membership. If you want to participate, please register here. If you are not yet a Connect member (or higher), we kindly ask you to apply for a Connect membership within your registration.
For any further information, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.
DSP Valley active in Flexible Electronics and Healthcare
Healthcare is a major market for both established and emerging technologies. Flexible Electronics is a growing field gaining more and more momentum. Flexible electronics in healthcare is a combination with a bright future.
As our Newsletter readers and members will know, DSP Valley is currently active in three Flexible (and Wearable) Electronics projects: Flexlines (focused on creating a one-stop-shop for flexible electronics), SmartX (specifically geared towards flexible electronics in textiles), and SmartEEs (aimed at helping innovative companies digitize). This is by design: flexible (and wearable) electronics have high potential. This is in part because of their many possible applications.
One of DSP Valley’s core programs in Smart Health. We’re co-founders of the IBN flanders.health. This year, we’ve worked hard alongside our partners Flanders.bio and MedTech Flanders in getting a Spearhead Cluster for Health Tech off the ground in Flanders.
Collaborative Digital Business Breeding
Our work in the health technology and flexible electronics sectors is essential to our central mission: breeding digital business through collaborative business development. The European Flexible and Wearable Electronics projects and the flanders.health IBN and coming Spearhead Cluster are concrete examples of creating collaborative business opportunities. These go beyond single company, or even single application, vision and seek to build and support strong ecosystems that will be economically sustainable.
This is why we were delighted to read IDTechEx’s analysis. The abstract of their report “Flexible Electronics in Healthcare 2020-2030” confirms DSP Valley’s perceptions. It reinforces our resolve to continue to work hard to bring Flexible Electronics and Health Tech together, in our region and beyond.
Click here to read the summary sent to us by IDTechEx. Please note that we have nothing to do with their research. This is neither an endorsement nor a promotion.
Join us to find out more
Want to find out more about our Flexible (and Wearable) Electronics projects? Check out the upcoming FREE events – click the titles for more information and to register:
Flexible Electronics WebinarFlexlines unites different players providing access to new Flexible Electronics technologies through one-stop-shop concepts in order to accelerate the design, development, and uptake of advanced applications in Flexible & Wearable Electronics.
SmartEEs information Session with TNOThe SmartEEs Project is funded by Horizon 2020 and is aimed at supporting SMEs and Mid-caps in integrating flexible and wearable electronics into novel (series of) products.
In this webinar, Corne Rentrop (TNO) and Dieter Therssen (DSP Valley) will explain all about the project and what the benefits are for companies and service providers thinking about applying.
SmartEEs Information Session with imecThe SmartEEs Project is funded by Horizon 2020 and is aimed at supporting SMEs and Mid-caps in integrating flexible and wearable electronics into novel (series of) products.
In this webinar, Dieter Therssen (DSP Valley), Maarten Cauwe (imec), and Frederick Bossuyt (imec) will explain all about the project and what the benefits are for companies and service providers thinking about applying.
At DSP Valley, we love to see our member organizations succeed. We’re happy for them, of course! We’re also thrilled to see our digitization ecosystem thriving and rewarding innovation. That’s why we’re delighted to share exciting news about one of our startup members, Helpilepsy.
Managing Epilepsy with Digital Technology and Personalized Medicine
Launched in 2017, Helpilepsy is a platform for both patients and their care team to monitor epileptic seizures, side effects, medication and other parameters. Billed as “a complete digital solution for people with epilepsy and neurologists,” the software allows for more personalized approaches to Epilepsy in patients. Currently, patients and doctors in 5 countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, and Hungary) use Helpilepsy, with more expansion on the horizon.
It works like any app: a patient can download it on their app platform of choice (the Apple store, Google Play, etc) and begin using it. Physicians and healthcare workers can track and monitor patient inputs through beautifully visualized web dashboards.
This summer, the team announced an exciting development: official ISO13485:2016 certification, with many thanks to their Quality and Regulatory Lead Amandine Berton. This may not sound like a huge deal, but it’s a big achievement, especially for a small startup team.
ISO certification pertains to a manufacturer’s quality management system, which in turn involves their documentation and processes. All new releases need to be fully documented, the team must be able to show clinical proof of their software’s effectiveness, new employees must go through a welcome checklist, and more. These must comply with ISO13485 in order to meet European regulations. EU regulations govern myriad elements, including customer feedback, logistics, development and more — all before a product can be sold with the CE mark within the EU single market.
The CE symbol, which we probably all recognize but never really think about, indicates “that products sold in the EEA have been assessed to meet high safety, health, and environmental protection requirements. When you buy a new phone, a teddy bear, or a TV within the EEA, you can find the CE mark on them. CE marking also supports fair competition by holding all companies accountable to the same rules.”1 Crucially, it is up to manufacturers to make sure their products adhere to CE standards and EU regulations.
Recently, the rules regarding medical devices and medical technology changed. From now on, medical software including apps like Helpilepsy and the team’s newest product, Migraine Manager, fall into a higher classification. This means that they are subject to much stricter oversight. Affected class I medical software companies have been given until 2024 to fully conform to the new regulations.
The fact that the Helpilepsy team has been able to secure ISO certification ahead of the deadline is a testament to their talent and dedication.
While ISO certification, and subsequent CE marking, is administratively necessary, it brings with it tangible benefits. For one thing, the team is ahead of the game. The biggest part of their work to fully comply with new regulations is complete. They can once again focus on their core business!
Moreover, the processes necessary for the certification lend further credibility to Helpilepsy’s technology. It’s a strong selling point that they can offer to potential patients, doctors, and business partners.
What’s more, as co-founder Ludovic Ampe explains, ISO certification will hopefully be a catalyst for further expansion. Since the CE mark is a European-widely recognized standard, achieving it should open up more international markets.
Innovating in the field of medical devices can get extremely complicated and overwhelm even the most experienced engineers.
For startups all the necessary areas of expertise can prove be too much, but even for well-established medical companies it is not an easy task to keep up with the ever-changing field, increased complexity and regulations of medical devices.
Areas of expertise
The first thing you need is a multidisciplinary team that covers all the different areas of expertise. For startups, this is often impossible, and they need to look for external services to complement their skills. If you take this external route, look for teams that are flexible and can work well together with your team. Look for a team that has an extensive history in medical products and other fields. They can provide a wealth of expertise and experience in various areas that even some medical device manufacturers may lack internally. This will ensure you look at your project from different angles and transfer solutions from other fields.
Experienced design firms have tried and tested development methodologies that will guide you through the whole process. They know where the pitfalls are, and can work according to the required ISO standards.
Start from the user
Human factors, user-centric design, and usability engineering play an increasingly important role in the medical device industry.
Designing for healthcare must start from the user (patient, doctor, caregiver), not the technology. Particularly crucial is designing for human factors from patient acceptance, to increasing patient and user safety, to minimizing the risks of potential human errors.
Acquiring insights into user needs, fears, and use from patients and workers is essential for designing a successful medical device. Therefore, extensive user research and testing are an absolute must in the development process.
Medical devices are not stand alone anymore. Many products are connected to platforms and exchange data with patients, doctors, and caregivers. This requires new insights and disciplines to design frustration-free user interfaces, secure data protection, and interconnected products.
Additionally, some healthcare is shifting away from hospitals and other medical environments to patients’ homes. Connected smart products collect medical data and make it available for patients, and doctors, in real time, to make the right decisions. This not only makes the development of products more complex, with smart censors and high connectivity, but also demands a complete rethinking of how healthcare services are delivered. These products become product-service systems that require a service design expertise to make them successful on the market.
Finally, when you have your minimal viable product, proof of concept, and final prototype, you must be able to produce it in a consistent error-free way.
Thinking about this is not something you start with after the design is finished. Design for manufacturing should already be part of the design process from the very beginning. Production and product cost need to be taken into account at the very start of development.
Finding the right partner to produce your product is also essential, and if you start early enough, a good partner will help you in the last stage to go to production.
Go to market
Established healthcare companies have the necessary expertise to market their products in-house. For startups this can be a challenge. Even the best designed product can fail if it is not brought to market the right way. At the start of the development, product marketing and branding must already be part of the thinking process. This is the only way to make sure they will reinforce each other and avoid unpleasant surprises at launch.
How does Achilles face medical design?
At Achilles, we advance healthcare through people-centereddesign. We prototype early and often, to ensure we keep the people we design for at the heart of the process. By putting ideas in the hands of users from low-fidelity paper interfaces to 3D-printed prototypes and high-level immersion VR, we systematically identify improvements and preventively exclude risks without compromising our intuition.
We believe better health is achieved by engaging people at every stage of their health journey. Our cross functional team — consisting of biomedical engineers, designers, usability experts, and a doctor — work across disciplines to integrate people’s needs with responsible technology and sustainable business models. We strive to establish innovative healthcare service solutions that drive business value by advancing the standard of healthcare.
Visit Achilles Design at MEDICA Düsseldorf from 16-19/11/2020.
Leuven-based startup ArtiQ has had plenty to keep them busy these last months. Using artificial intelligence-based software, ArtiQ.PFT, they help doctors interpret pulmonary function tests and improve the diagnostic environment for respiratory diseases. As the covid-19 pandemic hit, their lung diagnostic innovation has found fertile ground.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all lung function tests were shut down during a certain time. Now hospitals are restarting their practice and lung function tests can be used to monitor the progression of the disease,” he writes.
After requests from doctors inundated by pandemic patients, Marko and the team decided to offer their software free of licensing fees until September. As such, their diagnostic AI technology is increasingly being used to follow-up on patients, in addition to its original intention to help with initial diagnoses.
ArtiQ.PFT, is already used in the interpretation of more than 50.000 lung function tests in UZ Leuven, CHU Saint-Pierre, OLV Aalst and ZOL Genk.
Following Patient Roadmaps
As Covid-19 patients leave hospitals, they’re increasingly visiting their primary care doctors for check ups. This means that non-hospital healthcare providers are in more need of lung care technology. In response, ArtiQ is looking to move out of hospitals, too, and is actively working on bringing their technological support to GPs.
“ArtiQ plans to integrate AI-expertise with spirometry to support GPs in identifying lung diseases and improving their decision making,” Marko states. “In the future, such tool may play an important role in the follow-up of COVID-19 patients on the GP level.”
ArtiQ in drug development
Given the success they’re seeing in patient follow-up, the team at ArtiQ is also looking into expanding their technologies into pharmaceuticals and drug development. They’re specifically looking to bring their technology to clinical trials and improving quality control of lung function measurements.
As Marko explains, “In respiratory drug development, lung function is the primary clinical tool to assess the efficiency of treatment. Therefore, it is critical for pharmaceutical companies and the success of their clinical trials that the results of these tests are consistent and reliable.” ArtiQ’s new AI-based software can do just this.
Using AI to improve healthcare
Ultimately, it’s the AI ArtiQ integrates and innovates that’s making the big difference. The ArtiQ team is profoundly aware of the changes AI is bringing to the healthcare system. As they see it, using artificial intelligence in healthcare can provide tangible support for healthcare workers. Three top examples, elaborated in a recent blog post. include:
Providing consistent decision support for healthcare providers, especially where large amounts of data are involved
Reducing the administrative burden so that healthcare professionals spend less time on paperwork
Creating more time to focus on human interaction. The preceding two will allow health professionals to have more time with patients and for meaningful collaborations with colleagues
You can visit ArtiQ at their website and follow them via their social media channels
In times of covid-19 and social distancing, it is more important than ever to boost collaborations and bring new healthcare ideas to the next level. After carefully considering the measures taken by the Belgian government, we have decided to cancel the Healthy@Home physical meeting originally scheduled for May 15 and replace it with a number of online meetings in which you can advance your ideas or collaborate with your virtual neighbor.
Given the health, economical, and societal impacts of the present covid-19 pandemic, and next to the topic Healthy@Home, the series of Pitch and Match sessions will ask “How to beat the next corona-like crisis: What digital & life sciences tools/services are needed to improve efficiency and support health and wellbeing?” We welcome your ideas to prevent, prepare, or support the global community in case of a new crisis.
Below you’ll find the information for the next session. We warmly invite you to indicate topics you would like to have addressed in subsequent sessions.
Wednesday, 1 July 2020 (9:30-12pm): AI, Big Data, & Telemedicine
How to use AI and big data for personalized disease prediction, early symptom detection, disease outbreak modelling, etc. How to use telemedicine or intelligent IT tools to inform and guide populations at large?
These Pitch and Match sessions aim to kick-start cross-over partnerships and projects in order to accelerate the development of innovative healthcare solutions. They are open to flanders.health members only, with at least a Connect membership. If you want to present your idea, offer your expertise and/or services, and connect with the project holders, please register here. If you are not yet a Connect member (or higher), we kindly ask you to apply for a Connect membership within your registration.