Sandoz HACk White Paper: From fledgling to high-flyer (5min read)
With the release of a White Paper, the Sandoz Healthcare Challenge (HACk) – a competition that asked young people to submit ideas for improving access to medicine using mobile technology – is entering its next phase. The White Paper details lessons learned, and it serves as a foundation for the upcoming competition.
The White Paper outlines the key role of digital innovation at a local level as part of a comprehensive approach to increasing global access to healthcare. It also follows the progress that teams have made with their digitally inspired approaches to “reimagine access to healthcare.” “Pharma doesn’t have all the answers,” says Fiona Cook, Senior Manager Corporate Responsibility, and lead organizer of the Sandoz HACk. “But we are working to find the right solutions from people in communities who need more access to basic medicines.”
Building a “collaboration pathway” helps innovators take their ideas from early concepts to minimal viable products, ready for launch.
Additionally, the paper summarizes the “lessons learned” from the three winning projects in 2017. In particular, the need to provide more direct support earlier in the competition process, and to build a “collaboration pathway” that helps innovators rapidly take their ideas from early concepts to minimal viable products, ready for launch.
In the inaugural Sandoz HACk, winners and finalists focused on healthcare gaps in their countries and developed ideas to locally improve access to treatment using mobile technology. The upcoming competition will broaden the technological scope and call for ideas involving all sorts of digital solutions. With the next HACk coming soon, the White Paper increases awareness of the competition among the greater global healthcare community.
Digital solutions to address healthcare gaps
More broadly, the White Paper looks at technology’s role in addressing key healthcare access trends, particularly in underserved regions. Richard Francis, Sandoz CEO, says: “The very nature of digital solutions, with their emphasis on networking and cross-border communications, means that not only are patients empowered to learn about and manage their own health, but that effective solutions are more easily scaled from one country to another.” Using digital tools, medical professionals can also share experiences and deepen their knowledge.
The upcoming Sandoz will encourage a broad approach – and include digital solutions that go beyond mobile technologies.
The Sandoz HACk supports concepts that may seem too locally focused or risky for governments, NGOs, or pharmaceutical companies acting alone. Expert advisor to the inaugural HACk, Roberto Ascione, CEO of technology and healthcare consultancy Healthware International, says: “I encourage Sandoz to continue in this direction and get its businesses even more directly involved in these efforts, with the goal of bringing real new innovative solutions to market.”
Yet once great ideas come to life locally, digital technology can help to speed up how solutions are accessed elsewhere. “Think about the amount of information and connectivity we now have. If we solve any of these problems, it will be by helping people help themselves, both in the developed and developing world,” says Martin Kelly, co-founder and CEO of HealthXL, a platform that provides healthcare technology data and connects healthcare stakeholders with technology innovators. The White Paper also serves as an early stage “call to collaborate” for relevant external parties, such as start-up incubators, health tech experts, and local governments, to become excited about and involved in the program, as part of a wider healthcare community.
With the launch of the upcoming competition coming soon, this will build on the stories and the successes of the inaugural competition. The goal of the upcoming competition will be to turn a successful pilot into a sustainable global program, and to promote the next generation of innovative digital approaches for “making access happen.” The Sandoz HACk is ready to soar.
Winners of the 2017 Sandoz HACk
The Sandoz HACk focuses on seeking solutions to local healthcare challenges using mobile technology. The 2017 winning entries addressed access issues in novel ways:
GoPharma is a smartphone-based telepharmacy solution developed by Elvin Blankson, Priscilla Adu-Darko and Lebene Soga. It bridges the skills gap by connecting medical-counter assistants in less-populated regions to urban pharmacists who can advise them in real time. The concept is now live at 16 dispensing points of Ghana.
Blood Drive is a social platform to encourage blood donations for thalassemia patients within the Maldives. People with the condition need regular blood transfusions. Mohamed Shuraih is working to move the paper-based logs at blood-donor centers into a database. He is in discussions with the Maldives Thalassemia Center regarding partnering, and is working on core functions of the product.
Sali is an app to teach cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the Philippines, where cardiovascular disease is the top killer. Its creators, Joel Alejandro and Andrea Relucio, have carried out market research, developed a prototype, and are working on social-media marketing plan. Now volunteers in the Philippines are testing Sali, which means “connect” in Tagalog, a Philippine language.