Presenter delivers pitch at last year’s ACC Future Hub. This year during ACC.19, entrepreneurs will pitch software and hardware specific to cardiology in two categories– artificial intelligence and digitally enabled medical devices. (Image courtesy of ACC)
The first pitches will be delivered Sunday morning, March 17, beginning at 9:45 am for artificial intelligence (AI) applications in cardiology. A second wave will be tossed the next morning, also at 9:45 am, regarding digitally enabled medical devices. Panels of judges, along with an on-site audience and viewers on Facebook Live, will vote to determine the winner in each category.
The appeal of these challenges will be similar to what attracts viewers to the television show Shark Tank, said AI challenge moderator Andrew M. Freeman, M.D..
“You get people with very pointed and intense questions,” said Freeman, who moderated an “innovation challenge” at last year’s ACC meeting. The director of clinical cardiology at National Jewish Health, an academic hospital/clinic in Denver, compared his duties at this year’s AI challenge to those of a game show host. Primarily, he will try to engage the audience with presenters and keep pitches on schedule.
Freeman was chosen as a moderator, he said, partly for his experience moderating other ACC events, as well as for his passion about medical technology and interest in new ideas to manage cardiac patients. In his practice at National Jewish Health, Freeman integrates evidence-based medicine and plant-based diet, the latter of which has earned him the “Vegan Cardiologist” nickname.
Future Hub at ACC19 To Go Beyond Challenges
The challenges in these two categories — AI and digitally enabled devices — will highlight the ACC’s Future Hub, which aims “to inform, educate and inspire ACC.19 attendees by exposing them to the latest innovations in digital health, medical devices and big data,” according to its website. Presentations, including ones on the implications of technology for the doctor-patient relationship, will go on before and after the challenges.
Freeman described ACC’s Future Hub as a unique complement to the scientific sessions going on during the meeting: “I think if anyone is curious about the future of cardiology or medicine, it is certainly a way to get a glimpse of it.”
All Hub presenters will address how emerging technologies might transform cardiovascular practice. Kiosks located in the Future Hub Learning Destination (Expo Hall, #146) will provide individualized hands-on opportunities. The theater in the Hub, where the one-hour challenges will happen, will serve up TED-style talks; small panel discussions and debates on future-based issues; and exhibitor demonstrations.
In Search of Angel Investors
To host the challenges, ACC is partnering with AngelMD, self-described as “a healthcare investment community” that combines healthcare startups with physicians, investors, and industry “with the goal of creating successful outcomes.”
The winner of each challenge will be profiled on the AngelMD website. The exposure, Freeman said, could translate into “hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars” in investments. Winners will also receive kiosk space at next year’s Future Hub; exhibit space at ACC20; and a commemorative plaque.
Last year Challenges featured eight finalists, each with fledgling but promising products or services. They were selected from more than 60 applications assessed by a committee of experts provided by AngelMD. A major criterion for selection was the likelihood of product success.
This year’s two challenges will focus either on AI-based software or digitally enabled hardware. Four finalists in each category will pitch their products or services. They were chosen by a review committee from “dozens of applications,” according to Freeman, who served on the committee.
Greg Freiherr is a contributing editor to Imaging Technology News (ITN). Over the past three decades, Freiherr has served as business and technology editor for publications in medical imaging, as well as consulted for vendors, professional organizations, academia, and financial institutions.
Editor's note: In preparation for the upcoming American College of Cardiology (ACC) Conference on March 17, contributing editor Greg Freiherr begins the show coverage with this an exclusive series of articles and podcasts. This is the first article in a series of three.