BOSTON – Sage Bionetworks has introduced a program to help researchers get their digital health technologies off the ground and advance innovation.
The Digital Health Catalyst Program, announced last week at the Biomarkers & Immuno-Oncology World Congress, will provide pro bono consulting and in-kind infrastructure to support innovative ideas for biomedical research.
“We’re looking for innovations that leverage digital health technologies to answer a pressing question,” said Dan Webster, principal scientist of digital health at Sage Bionetworks, a nonprofit organization that promotes open science and patient engagement in the research process.
Winners of the program will receive support from Sage throughout the research lifecycle, as well as have their research highlighted through Sage’s Qualified Research Program. The program has already introduced studies like: mPower, a mobile study of Parkinson’s disease; Mole Mapper, an iPhone based melanoma study; and the Asthma Mobile Health Study.
“Smartphones and other wearable sensors have put touchscreens and sensors into the pockets of billions of people,” said Webster. “These technologies provide an opportunity to paint a rich understanding of health and disease in the natural world outside of the clinic; they also provide communication tools that allow participants a more active voice in research programs.”
But the promise of these emerging technologies has been accompanied by challenges requiring infrastructure and other needs not typically found in traditional biomedical research organizations. Supporting the development of digital health technologies throughout the research lifecycle is critical because the analysis and sharing of the resulting study data is key to advancing health care, Webster said.
“We want to know if an open and crowd-sourced analysis with the wider research community can get us to a better health care solution,” he said.