Stories of innovators who create a healthier and smarter world

EIT Health InnoStars gets you closer to stories that matter and past the edge of what’s possible in the medicine and healthcare. Preventing falls in the elderly, improving mental illness diagnosis or therapy of children with ADHD – we are looking for different solutions that can answer challenges that many of patients all around EU faces. The teams were comprehensively supported by EIT Health and the EIT Regional Innovation Scheme

Healthcare Hackers

Healthcare Hackers is a series of podcasts, which brings to life groundbreaking concepts and solutions that fight diseases and improve human well-being. Innovative thinkers share their experiences, the opportunities they identified and the challenges they had to overcome. All of them were supported within the EIT Health RIS Innovation Call 2019-2020


FRADE – Staying on your feet

The first episode of Healthcare Hackers presents FRADE, which stands for Pervasive Platform for Fall Risk Assessment. FRADE is the result of a partnership between Fraunhofer Portugal and the Higher School of Nursing of Porto, with the involvement of the University of Porto — an EIT Health Hub. Joana Silva, who is a biomedical researcher at Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS and manages the FRADE project, spoke with Andrew Wrobel about her experiences, the opportunities she and her colleagues and partners identified and the challenges like the recent COVID-19 pandemic that they had to overcome.

DocuMental – Mapping the state of mind

Mental health is the main medical area in which routine decision-making for diagnoses and treatment choices is primarily based on clinical interviews and observations. Despite the availability of internationally accepted diagnostic and treatment guidelines, the adherence among clinicians to these standards in mental health is low, what is reflected by high rates of misdiagnosis and mistreatment. DocuMental is a unique decision support system, which improves the diagnostic and treatment reliability in mental health. The project is supported by Tartu Biotechnology Park. In this episode, Eduard Maron, CEO of DocuMental, spoke with Andrew Wrobel about the challenge he faced as a young psychiatrist and how he created a solution that helps him and his colleagues diagnose mental disorders better.

Tully — Recognising and managing emotions

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is prevalent in people of all ages. Children and adults with ADHD frequently experience social exclusion as the society around them reacts negatively to their inability to understand and abide by the prevailing “social code”. It is currently estimated that up to five per cent of school-age children are affected by ADHD. The majority of these children will experience problems adapting to the school environment and this may lead to educational underachievement. As a result, as many as 60 per cent of these children may find it difficult to find, and sustain, paid employment after leaving school. Marius Rus, co-founder and CEO of Tully, a start-up supported by Freshblood HealthTech Community, the EIT Health Hub in Romania, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about how his #startup helps children recognise and manage emotions and gives valuable tips to potential founders working on health solutions.

Inocure – Designing next-generation drug delivery systems

Monitoring the effects that drugs have on liver tissue is one of the primary tests used in the early phases of drug development and toxicological screening. Today, hepatotoxicity is tested either on cell lines (in vitro) or laboratory animals. But the current solutions are not delivering a long-term culture of human primary hepatocytes and are still dependent on cell lines (cancer cells) and animal models. Czech Inocure’s HepaMATRIX, therefore, delivers reliable models of liver tissue. The idea is focused on delivering ready-to-use artificial matrices — microplates with HepaMATRIX membranes - for in vitro production of liver models used in drug development, toxicological screening, basic research of liver diseases and diagnosis of patients with liver diseases. Inocure’s CEO Matej Buzgo speaks with Andrew Wrobel about his start-up’s path to designing next-generation drug delivery systems and the multiple challenges he faces and offers valuable advice to potential researchers and founders working on innovative health solutions.

Neus Diagnostics – Keeping an eye on dementia

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common form of dementia. MCI contributes to 60–70 per cent of dementia cases, an illness for which there is currently no cure. However, very early-stage existing therapies can improve and prolong cognitive function.​ Neus is a software solution for detecting MCI that combines ​eye-tracking technology, digitalised neuropsychological tests​ with an AI-based decision support system. In this episode, Vida Groznik, one of the co-founders and the CEO of Neus Diagnostics, spoke with Andrew Wrobel about how her team came up with the solution that helps diagnose dementia and other diseases, as well as the challenges her start-up has faced and overcome.

Cognitus – Standing up straight

Leg length discrepancy (LLD) is an orthopaedic condition that involves a difference in length between the lower extremities. This is a significant medical problem, and the causes may be various trauma, diseases, deformities of the locomotor system, surgery, growth disorders, neurological illness, and others. Statistics have shown that up to 90 per cent of the population has LLD. Croatian start-up Cognitus has developed a solution to measure leg length discrepancy and created insoles that can help correct posture and improve the quality of life. Alan Mutka, one of the founders and chief technology officer at Cognitus Limited, as well as a senior lecturer and research associate at the Rochester Insitute of Technology Croatia, spoke with Andrew Wrobel about his solution, as well as the challenges his start-up has faced.

Phoenix Orthosis — Keeping a firm grip

Spastic hand paralysis is a painfully common problem experienced by patients who have suffered damage to the central nervous system due to a stroke or other causes. These patients are not able to autonomously open their fingers, which significantly impacts quality of life. There are about 20 million people suffering from hand spasticity worldwide, out of which 1.3 million people live in Europe. Phoenix Orthosis uses an innovative approach to substitute the fingers’ ability to open, while intentionally remaining as discreet as possible. Thus, the paralysed hand can be reintegrated into everyday life which is the most effective route to rehabilitation. Robert Ackermann, CCO at Phoenix Orthosis, spoke with Andrew Wrobel about the solution, its implementation on the German market and the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the development of the product.

Kazaam Lab — Treating patients with precision

Success in precision medicine depends on accessing high-quality genetic and molecular data that, in conjunction with comprehensive clinical data, can lead to more effective therapies. Although omics data is available on public databases, doctors are not yet able to extract useful value from it owing to its sheer volume and heterogeneity. While there are solutions to this problem - based on Big Data and Artificial Intelligence - these are mainly designed for specific diseases; this while there are 400 million patients around the globe affected by rare diseases. Simona Rombo, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Palermo and one of the founders and the CEO of Kazaam Lab, spoke with Andrew Wrobel about the challenges her start-up has faced and overcome, as well as offering some tips for young researchers developing health solutions.

Tamás Békási - 10 years’ worth of innovation occurring in 10 weeks

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, health tech stepped up, with what appeared to be 10 years’ worth of innovation occurring in 10 weeks. But, while the pandemic encouraged more partnerships and collaboration in the sector, it has also brought about multiple challenges for start-ups, such as making it more difficult to complete clinical validation through sourcing hardware or delaying the implementation of their go-to-market strategies. Tamás Békási, RIS Business Creation Manager at the EIT Health InnoStars, spoke with Andrew Wrobel about the current trends in health tech, opportunities and challenges, and offers plenty of advice to future healthcare hackers.

InnoStars Talks: Innovator’s DNA

Balázs Fürjes, EIT Health InnoStars Director invites you to a special podcast in which the ingredients of the most successful healthcare innovations will be discovered. If you are an EIT Health InnoStars Partner, this podcast is just for you.

Stockholm 3 – Diagnosing prostate cancer faster

Currently, the PSA test is used as a biomarker of the disease, but it has low sensitivity and specificity, increased risk of false-positives and it cannot differentiate between beginning and aggressive cancer.

Cristina Bescos — Lessons from Spain's successful health tech ecosystem

EIT Health Spain has had a particularly fruitful 2020 in terms of health innovation projects. In this episode we discuss why it is valuable to have an innovation unit within the organisation and how to develop innovation consortia effectively.

Dora Marosvolgyi — Jumpstarting innovation

This year a total of 36 teams from all over Europe showcased their budding start-ups in front of a jury of experts and potential investors, competing for a prize pool of 160,000 euros in EIT Jumpstarter pre-accelerator programme. In this episode Dora Marosvolgyi, EIT Jumpstarter mentor and project manager at EIT Health InnoStars talks about the value the programme gives to entrepreneurs and the innovation it creates.

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