Innovation Challenges

A challenges is an innovation competition aimed at developing digital health solutions in a few months. Teams are formed, mentored and supported through the journey of creating a product. 

Below is Barts X Medicine, a 3-month challenge we run, and the fist digital health course for medical students in UK.

Barts X Medicine

Traditional teaching and content needs to be modernised and disrupted to produce the doctors of tomorrow. Medicine itself is undergoing exponential changes in the science and delivery of a modern healthcare system. There is an interface of technologies like AR, VR, AI, Robotics, Data, sensors etc which are likely to drastically change the way healthcare is practised.

Digital Health will change the way care is delivered and patient empowerment with access to the internet and data will drive many of these changes. Both precision and personalised medicine will refocus clinical care on individualised patients.

There is an enormous appetite amongst the medical students to engage in developing solutions that will benefit patients in the future.

Many of our students have other skills that are not used for example coding, computer technology background, business development, web and app development. Traditional medical school teaching does not utilise or indeed offer opportunities within existing curricula to harness these skills.  IMT Innovation is proud to be a part of the Barts X Medicine programme launched at Barts and the London Medical School in 2017.

The first of its kind in the UK, and possibly in the world, BartsX aims to educate and empower medical students by introducing them to digital health.

Challenge Overview


Barts X Faculty and Course Overview

Founded by Dr Shafi Ahmed, the curriculum will consist of AI, Robotics, VR/AR, Machine Learning, biosensors, intellectual property and more. The pilot kicked off in January 2017, and took 120 students through a 4-month programme that included idea generation, mentorship, a hackathon and the pitch day. The Faculty include some of the most influential leaders in the space:

  • Dr Shafi Ahmed – Consultant Surgeon and Associate Dean / Faculty of Singularity University
  • Dr Cristina De Juan – CEO of IMT Innovation
  • Dr Daniel Kraft – Paediatric oncologist / Chair of Exponential medicine, Singularity University US
  • Maxine Mackintosh – Chair Health Tech Women
  • Milind Kamkolkar – Previous Global Head data science at Novartis  / Faculty of Singularity University US
  • Arshya Vahabzadeh – Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School. Director of Digital Health, Brain Power / Faculty of Singularity University
  • Dr Vishal Gulati – HealthTech venture capitalist
  • John Nosta – Digital Health strategic advisor Google Health Advisory Board  / Faculty of Singularity University US

Step 1 – Class Day 

The launch took place at Barts University with students and mentors in the room as well as live streaming from the USA.

Step 2 – Business Ideas & Pitch Day

Following the class, the students were divided into 5 groups. Each group was allocated 1 or 2 mentors and together they worked on a business idea that answered a medical question. After 2 months, the 5 groups presented their business ideas to a panel of judges. Each team were give a 20 min presentation, including Q&A, and then went through 15 min of judging time.


As the prize, the winners were offered a mentorship programme for 3 months. The mentorship programme included:

  • Access to experts in marketing, both competitor intelligence and marketing campaigns to develop strong market proposition in the clinical space
  • Access to  sales networks both in UK and Global
  • Help with developing scalable business and financial model to deliver value
  • Creation of a product development process to create robust products, moving from start-up stage to product ready
  • Access to technology resources to ensure resilience in all digital products
  • Desks at the company

Step 3 – Pitch Day & Winning Team

The pitch day on March 24th at the BMJ was a very inspiring day in which we heard 3rd year medical students pitch their business ideas to the judging panel and audience. The quality of the business ideas was outstanding and we would like to thank all the students and mentors for their great work.

The ideas were elaborated and built as real business cases stating the problem, the uniqueness of the solution, the financial costs and revenue predictions, as well as the team needed to build the company and the product timelines.

Ideas Developed

TEAM 1 – MDT Link: The Multi-Communication App

The current bleep system used amongst healthcare professionals in hospitals is outdated, takes away valuable time and has a negative impact on patients. In addition, the information is not passed effectively or efficiently.

The team proposed MDT as the solution, an app providing instant notifications and messaging. The pitch highlighted the need for security of the data exchanged during the communication and defined a well-thought customer purchase channel, partners and project timelines.

TEAM 2 – Contextual Healthcare: Integrating Data

We produce a lot of data from our phone, wearables, and other smart devices. What data is relevant and significant? The team proposed a cross-platform app which can extract data from phones, wearables, fitness ecosystems and allows for manual entry. A system, where the data processes and syncs to the GP practice’s communication system.

During the pitch, the team was passionate about their vision and the use of machine learning to predict trends in the data.

TEAM 3 – OSCAR: The Snapchat of Medicine – Winning Team

Medical students feel they are not well-prepared for the real world. Learning about symptoms is not always available so the team came up with OSCAR. A multi-sensory learning platform using augmented reality to create your own virtual patient.

OSCAR could be used by students and doctors to be able to choose specific pathologies. The team went over the product development plan, and a neat user-growth model and financial projections. They also handled challenging questions from the judges very well, and at the end, they went on to win this competition. Well done team.

We are particularly proud as our CEO Dr Cristina De Juan was one of the mentors of this team

TEAM 4 – Loop: The Wearable to Screen and Diagnose ADHD in Children

The current method of picking up ADHD in children needs to be improved: 40% of cases go undiagnosed, and 25% of children diagnosed don’t have the condition.

The team aims for Loop, a wearable device used for screening, diagnosis and monitoring, to become the gold standard for ADHD. The team explained the current method, the benefit of using Loop, and their future plans to use Loop for attention deficit disorder, and autism disorder.

TEAM 5 – DoorDoc: Bringing the GP to You

Busy professionals have difficulty in accessing a GP at short notice, and with flexible opening times. DoorDoc proposes to bring the GP to you. The team went over their marketing and sales plan, detailed pricing and growth plan, and company valuation. They delivered a great presentation, even though they joined the competition at a later stage.

Once again, well done to all participants and we hope you can develop your ideas further and build great companies as doctors and entrepreneurs.

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