The five pitched their smart health innovations to the panel of experts seeking to find out whether they stood a chance on the Chinese market

The panel consisted of Yuan Lu, Professor of Industrial Design at the Eindhoven University of Technology, Brian O’Connor, Chairman of the European Connected Health Alliance and shareholder of the China Connected Health Alliance, Mark Ennis, Chairman of Invest Northern Ireland and William Kilque of the JUMO Group.

Game ‘Family Secrets’ gives the elderly social contacts

People love games and so Atlantis Games, in cooperation with the Game Lab at the NHTV, developed a game especially for senior citizens. Playing ‘Familiegeheimen’ [Family Secrets] puts and keeps them in touch with others and forces them to go outside leading to improved quality of life. During the first rounds of the game, contact with other players is virtual. Later on, physical meetings are part of the game, for example, at a local community centre. Atlantis and NHTV successfully tested the downloadable game with a focus group of people between 65 and 90 years old. www.atlantisgames.nl

Gociety Solutions: Smartphone for use by seniors who live independently

Gociety Solutions offers a range of digital products for seniors which make them more confident about living alone. An app on a smartphone or tablet and a wireless alarm button keeps them in constant, direct contact with a family member or friend.
The smartphone is equipped with an interface designed for use by the elderly. The app not only puts them in direct contact with family, but is also equipped with a calendar and medicine management software, a motion sensor, fall detection, etc. alongside enabling voice calls and internet use of course. The products make the independently living seniors and their families feel safe. Developer Frank Verbeek won the ‘Excellent smart health Innovation prize for this. www.gocietysolutions.com

Specialists watch from a distance on board the ambulance

Anaesthesiologist Dirk Peek is supremely aware of how important specialists’ knowledge can be on board an ambulance. He developed a tablet application and, ‘at the press of a button a remote specialist also views the patient. He or she can immediately provide targeted instructions’. There are multiple situations in which this ‘telecare’ is more than welcome and saves costs. Think, for example, of seniors who have to go to the doctor regularly. More info from Dirk Peek.

Patients with heart conditions feel safer with body sensors

Heart attacks are one of the most prevalent causes of death. In China they are even the number one cause of death. It’s difficult to predict a heart attack. Zensor, developed by Intelesens from Northern Ireland, is a sensor that is worn on the body. It monitors whether there are signals that might indicate an increased risk of a heart attack. The target group consists primarily of people who have already had a heart attack. The Zensor gives them the confidence to continue living independently as they can now get help in a timely manner if an emergency threatens to take place. www.intelesens.com

People linked using community-based system

Positoos, is the payment system devised by a Dutch community-based savings and payment organisation. Neighbourhood inhabitants who offer each other help can save points. These can then be exchanged for another person’s service, a product at a cooperating (local) shop or can be donated to charity. Participants have a special card and can easily transfer points to each other using the telephone or app. At the moment, the community has 5,000 participants who, together, have generated approximately 150,000 transactions. www.samen-doen.nl

Jury response

Two products focus on the social activation of seniors (the game and the local saving and payment system). The panel recommends looking for links to community centres in Chinese villages and neighbourhoods for this type of product as many Chinese seniors participate in the activities organised there.

Seniors not used to apps yet
As far as app-based products are concerned, many elderly people are not accustomed to using smartphones and tablets yet. Experience has revealed that Chinese telecom companies also like to keep products as simple as possible. Start by providing a very basic product that can later be expanded is our advice.

Ambulance care relatively new
A tele-link between doctors at a hospital and an ambulance crew (‘at the press of a button a remote specialist also views the patient’) seems like it could be in high demand estimate the panel members. The telesystems market is developing exponentially in China. However, ambulance care is relatively new. Take into account that they might not be ready for such advanced technology. Carefully find out how this works. And approach private hospitals first as these are undergoing strong growth in China.

Winner

The panel and the audience chose a winner from the five pitches who gained the title ‘Most excellent smart health innovation’ and won a prize. The latter consisted of a voucher for supervision by experiential experts when approaching the Chinese care market. The prize went to Frank Verbeek of Gociety Solutions.
Verbeek was elated to have won. “There are a lot of players on the mobile market. We need to enter large markets, such as the Chinese one, soon and find distributors. Once seniors get used to the system they never want to be without it again.”