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Health-tech ecosystems of developing countries

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There is a huge imbalance between the developed and developing countries in terms of contribution in the development of health tech solutions. Health Tech Lab (HTL) is hacking this gap by making an international network of Health Tech Labs established throughout the world.

More precisely, HTL acts as connecting system between the developed and developing health-tech ecosystems. Moreover, it will make an impact on global health-tech ecosystems and communities worldwide through multiple glocal activities, projects and events, initially ICT-based.   

There is a real need of gathering all healthcare and tech stakeholders, students and professionals in multidisciplinary settings. This is where the innovation occurs and where innovation growth is enabled and promoted, in all corners of the world.

State your goals.

Firstly, target markets after Serbia are other developing countries of Africa, Asia and South America. Even so, one of the first external ecosystems will be Washington DC. Even developed countries seem to have high interest in ICT applications in health which are established in a more systematic manner within health-tech ecosystems. The reason for this is a global need in some of the hot topics of today such as digitalization of health systems, implementation of multiple emerging technologies into medicine through telemedicine, robotics and others. Potential for growth is huge.

Secondly, the inclusion of the global health and tech organizations will assist with current financial limitations for more rapid expansion and HTL developments around the world. With right partners this will be possible in a more rapid fashion. 

Finally, HTL has global goals with the creation of a global network of arranged local health-tech ecosystems collaborating for impact and everyone's interest.  

What problems (particularly in value chain competitiveness and global disruption) are your community’s stakeholders facing due to the Covid-19 pandemic?

Health Tech Lab participated and supported a local, Serbian virtual COVID-19 hackathon. The main outcomes of this event are:
1) Five groups of created, open source solutions - hardware and software
2) Attracted funding through crowdfunding campaign for the realization of those designed solutions 
3) Promotion of those and many other created solutions in Serbian community during COVID-19.

 

What minimum viable solution(s) are you proposing to address the challenge(s) in your community?

Through events and by tackling specific challenges, HTL is supporting the functioning of the existing linkages in the local, Serbian health-tech ecosystem. In parallel, HTL is building the non-existent linkages and enabling the communication and inter-connections of all of them for successful growth and development of the innovations and start-ups (innovative health-tech solutions). Moreover, HTL is interconnecting Serbian ecosystem with ecosystems of developing countries for:

  • mentoring
  • learning exchange  and
  • funding.

This makes HTL a connecting system in health-tech - from the developed to developing health-tech ecosystems and vice versa.

All developing countries, similarly to Serbia, lack systemic support for health-tech innovations. More specifically, they lack customized solutions for their own ecosystems. Usually, they cannot afford existing solutions. Besides the costs, there are other challenges. Even when adequate solutions are there, the local ecosystems do not or are not able to use them – without the knowledge, experience or training. Moreover, the solutions are not customized for their local needs, considering geography, climate, facilities etc.

Three main ways of tackling health-tech challenges in a community:
1) Gathering the health-tech ecosystem  / community regularly
2) Organizing events that will help create (hackathons), develop and grow (acceleration) and fund & promote created solutions. Additionally here, the goal is to educate medical experts on innovative approaches and new technologies and make new solutions more approachable and understandable to them. Mixing the medical establishment with startups and innovations through multiple events make them learn how to communicate and understand each other and therefore comment and adjust novel solutions together over time. 
3) Creating a global network of communities that are tackling the local problems and creating glocal solutions (local solutions with global potential).

The idea is to interconnect institutions and main linkages of each ecosystem and create one functional system. This system will then more easily produce, develop and grow innovation in health-tech areas even in developing country settings. In this case, the idea is not to follow one size fits all, but on the contrary to explore local advantages and explore them. Furthermore, each of these ecosystems could communicate with other ecosystems, learn from each other and extend the potential market in this case.

Funding of startups is one of the major setbacks of health/tech ecosystems all around the world, especially in the developing regions.
By creating such a network in each local ecosystem HTL is attracting investors and funders from abroad and/or direct local investors to invest more in the health-tech field. Without a constructed ecosystem and its exposure to the world investors would not be aware about startups in health/tech in the developing world and without a stable environment they would not be interested in doing so. In other words, they would be less interested in investing in individual startups.

The network's goal is primarily to create a stable environment for creation of new ventures and their growth. Therefore, the goal of all the events is to create and accelerate the growth of startups which all eventually lead to investment-ready startups and attract investors to provide funding.

 
 

Share your story (your narrative)

While finishing the second part of her PhD at MIT in Boston, Ivana Kostić (Health Tech Lab Co-founder) participated in the ICT pediatric hackathon back in 2014. Knowing that the event is being outsourced to many other countries sparked an idea of organizing such an event in her own country - Serbia. 

The local, Serbian ICT medical hackathon was a huge success. It gathered 10 finalist teams all helping one of the local patient associations with their challenges. The two Co-founders, Ivana Kostić and Damjan Damnjanović met during hackathon preparations. Damjan was at the time the president of patient associations of Serbia (more than 35 active associations at the time). Besides the associations and patients who pitched their problems and every day challenges, the rest of the health tech community actively participated: researchers, doctors, nurses, engineers, scientists, programmers, designers, companies, funders and many others who all contributed whole-heartedly. Even so, it was clear that there is a lack of firm, steady and long-term organization which would support those solutions, networking, collaborations long-term (post-hackathon). In other words, Serbia was lacking the systemic structure which would in all levels support the innovations in health-tech. This is how Health Tech Lab was created.

Today, HTL is an active health-tech ecosystem of Serbia. Core mission of HTL is to identify health challenges and create and support innovative, technological solutions with the patient always being at the core.

Some of the key achievements during the first two years are the following:

  • Enabling total of of 8 health-tech meet-ups from which 5 were part of partnering conferences
  • One self-orchestrated conference marking the partnership and membership within European Connected Health Alliance
  • 1 educational workshop on data protection – GDPR in Health
  • Co-organization of health-tech startup competition Startup Jerusalem, together with Israeli embassy in Serbia and Friedrich Naumann Foundation for freedom
  • Co-organization of pre-acceleration program for health startups in collaboration with the Innovation Forum Cambridge, UK and the Science and Technology Park Belgrade
  • Active collaboration with government officials in order to address key legal and bureaucratic barriers for health tech startups
  • Membership with European Connected Health Alliance-ECHAlliance since June 2018
  • Becoming local expert and international jury at the United Nations based World Summit Awards since February 2019
  • Distinguished as one of four finalists of the Science & Research for Women In Tech program in Paris, France.

    The ultimate goal is glocal multidisciplinary lab, from research to prototyping, up to ready–to-market solutions. After Serbia, Health Tech Lab model will be reproduced in other developing countries of Africa, South America and Asia and others.

We look forward to collaborating with you. Best regards!

Cordially,

Ivana Kostić & Damjan Damnjanović

Please provide any additional relevant information that you would like to share.

Health Tech Lab website: www.htl.rs

Health Tech Lab FB page: https://www.facebook.com/HTLbelgrade/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

Health Tech Lab LinkedIn account: https://www.linkedin.com/company/18687320/admin/.

 

Your final proposal for challenge

yes

Tagged users
edited on Aug 30, 2020 by Ivana Kostic
Commenting is closed

Israel Abazie 7 months ago

Hello Ivana! I must say your project submission has huge potential. I think you need to tell your story in a more personalized manner - how does it relate to you and what made you to conceptualize the idea of starting the project. On the other hand, you can make your application strong by including the associated problems absence of health tech lab has caused in these countries of your target. What has been the solution before now, and what new/value is your project bringing. Installing your solutions in different developing countries will require huge financial outlay. How do you plan on getting ahead of the curve? What is your sustainability strategy? You are doing well. Keep going

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Ivana Kostic 7 months ago

Dear Israel,
Many thanks for your comments! They are very useful and right on spot. By establishing local partnerships and procuring local leaders all of this is achievable. We do have already local partners in Ghana and Ukraine and expanding. By developing local chapters we will enable our model to survive in multiple regions. Regards, Ivana

Uche Udekwe 7 months ago

i think the solution is clear enough..

Tamas Czegledi 7 months ago

This is definitely something on spot. The gap between the two parts of Europe is huge in this sense. We also identified this and it is - however a small part and on the sideline - in our focus at tissu.ee specifically in the field of tissues. My question is how do you intend to bring together this community? Meaning besides the events do you have an online platform for this purpose?

Ivana Kostic 7 months ago

Dear Tamas,
Many thanks! The goal is to close the gap and enable innovation in health in all corners of the world, as there is potential for that and it is not possible at the moment. Great work with Tissu.ee, we do have potential to collaborate even. Currently, there is a website under construction (www.htl.rs) that will soon have the list of all startups and that will be an online platform for this interaction. Please follow for updates and keep in touch. Greetings, Ivana

James Kiruri 7 months ago

Health is a challenge in most developing countries and innovation in this space and the way it helps deliver health services to the people is most welcome

Ivana Kostic 7 months ago

Dear James, Many thanks for the support! Regards, Ivana

MD MOHID ISLAM 7 months ago

Greetings and best wishes for your submission!!
Regarding GOALS no 02." To interconnect Them "- Can you please enlighten more?
You are planning to Connect What ?
Countries?
Practices ?
do you think The Everchanging Complex Matrix of Healthcare should adopt sort of
One Size Fits All ??

Regarding COVID-19 Impact Its quite Superficial statement i guess (Dont Get Me wrong Please).
SOLIDARITY , OPERATION WRAPSEED are the topline mega initiatives running through the globe and till now the only constraint recurrently hindering COVID-19 triumph is
The UNIQUENESS in Research Findings amidst of the DUO pandemics one is CoV another is Infodemic ...e.g. Hydroxychloroquine

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Ivana Kostic 7 months ago

Dear Mohid!
Thanks for your comments!
The idea is to interconnect institutions and main linkages of each ecosystem and create one functional system. This system will then more easily produce, develop and grow innovation in health-tech areas even in developing country settings. In this case, the idea is not to follow one size fits all, but on the contrary to explore local advantages and explore them. Furthermore, each of these ecosystems could communicate with other ecosystems, learn from each other and extend the potential market in this case. 

Around COVID topic, please see more information here: https://www.donacije.rs/projekat/srbija-hakuje-koronu/. The whole community has been gathered and have created open source solutions for affected doctors and patients. 
Kind regards,
Ivana

Henry Dobson 7 months ago

Hi Ivana, the success you've achieved so far with HTL is excellent! Can you please expand on the link between your problem and solution? In terms of the problem, you write that the health tech community is facing a "lack of funding"; in terms of the solution, you are proposing gathering the community, running hackathons, acceleration, and creating a global network. The link between your problem/solutions statements isn't clear. Are you assuming that by creating such a network that the necessary funding will be found within it? Clarification on how the hackathons/acceleration/network will solve the funding problem would be great to hear.

Users tagged:

Ivana Kostic 7 months ago

Thank you Henry!

Funding of startups is one of the major setbacks of health/tech ecosystems all around the world, especially in the developing regions.

By creating such network in each local ecosystem we will attract investors and funders from abroad and/or direct local investors to invest more in health-tech field. This is happening right now. Without constructed ecosystem and its exposure to the world investors would not be aware about startups in health/tech in developing world and without a stable environment they would not be interested in doing so. In other words, they would be less interested in investing in individual startups.

The networks goal is primarily to create stable environment for creation of new ventures and their growth. Therefore, the goal of all the events is to create and accelerate the growth of startups which all eventually lead to investment-ready startups and attracted investors to provide funding.

Hope this makes it more clear. :)

Ivana

Victoria Masso 7 months ago

Status label added: Mentor feedback received

Ronnex Wataya 7 months ago

Great step. indeed the gap is huge between developed and developing countries. also consider planning on how you will budget for the massive you have right there ,the most important points being on how you generate revenue for operational costs. will you seek external investment fund or your team has what it takes to get the project going interms of resources. the idea is wonderful that i feel the only challenge for you will be finances .work on that area, all the best

Ivana Kostic 7 months ago

Thank you for the support Ronnex! Аll valid points and questions. The costs will be covered by each of the chapter / country etc arranged with the local founders / leaders. Operational costs are covered in a specific way at the moment, but we are experimenting with many other options and the best options will win in the end. :) External funds are definitely the only option, this is not supported by us as founders. As I mentioned, there are several models we are currently testing, from which the best would be suggested to other chapters. 

Achia Khaleda 7 months ago

How much growth potential does your idea offer?

Ivana Kostic 7 months ago

The potential for growth is huge. Counting not only all other developing countries but also all other developed countries that would like to create a Health Tech Lab as a health tech ecosystem. This will enable them to grow but also assist in the growth of the developing countries and skip the gap in health tech in the world. The model of interconnecting everyone is development. 

Valentina Stadnic 7 months ago


Dear Ivana,
Connecting local companies focused on health sector solutions sounds like a great idea.
Additionally, to the questions already addressed by the community, I would like to clarify what is the legal form of your organization and where do you get the funding for operational purposes from? Since you want to expand regionally and internationally as well as run an online platform, my curiosity is also related to the sustainability of your initiative and its potential to reach the exponential growth.
Moreover, I would like to ask if you already have a clear strategy/approach on the expansion of your network globally? Who are the stakeholder groups that you’re targeting to build your network? Maybe you have already performed a research of the ecosystem of several countries. In case we talk about ecosystems connecting with each other you’ll need a clear understanding of each country stakeholders and be able to get them working together on your scope.
I wish you success in all your future endeavors.

Ivana Kostic 7 months ago

Dear Valentina, thank you for your support and questions! HTL is registered as an NGO at the moment which may change in the near future. All the costs are covered by sponsors and projects. We are experimenting on a few other models that take time. One of them being partnership with international organizations that see the benefit of our idea. Yes, we do have a clear strategy on expanding globally. HTL Serbia will not manage all HTL in other ecosystems. Rather, the management will be distributed to local managing partners. Local manager will gather local ecosystem members. Regards, Ivana

Tafadzwa Chikwereti 7 months ago

Hello
I have a question how is this directly be linked to a digital solution to help sustainable practices ?

Ivana Kostic 7 months ago

Dear Tafadzawa, Each health tech ecosystem is creating and supporting local health tech solutions / innovation, including digital. Currently, not all developing countries have focus nor possibility for funding nor laws nor knowledge that would enable the development of those solutions in their ecosystems. By creating strong local communities that could learn from developed ecosystems in this segment we will skip this gap and enable global communication, development and usage. 

Tafadzwa Chikwereti 6 months ago

wow that's great,
you can help me by voting and commenting on my idea

(Account removed) 7 months ago

I believe this is an excellent initiative, and I am looking forward to seeing it scale up to the International health ecosystem.

Ivana Kostic 7 months ago

Тhank you for your support!

Nivashini Rave Rattey 7 months ago

Status label added: Community feedback received

Nivashini Rave Rattey 7 months ago

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

Milena Milicevic 7 months ago

Hi Ivana, 

It is great to see how much Health Tech Lab has achieved since 2018 within the Serbian health-tech ecosystem and globally. From the references you have listed, your narrative and progress is clear: HTL team has built impact and partnerships with startups, corporates and institutions in the healthcare domain and the field of innovation, as well as think-tanks and universities. 

I believe that for the next phase of ITU Innovation Challenge, as well as for the progress of your organization it would matter that you define closely the goals you listed: to which regions and developing countries you would like to expand or share your expertise? What is one particular challenge that you and your partners want to solve? Maybe it is focusing projects to a certain healthcare issue or niche, maybe it is about providing funding for startups, etc. 

The healthcare industry is quite regulated and the patients, who are at the core of your impact, may face different outcomes in treatment depending on where they live. Thus, you as HTL and your partners may like to think about solutions that transcend these nation-specific regulations and provide universal standards of good governance in healthcare and best-healthcare practices. 

The good place to start is certainly what you wrote in the proposal above, you want to create communities that can ''tackle the local problems and create local solutions with global potential.'' The pandemic taught us that we need to exchange know-how on applicable healthcare solutions that can be transferred to diverse markets with velocity and safety, while bearing in mind local contexts.    


Ivana Kostic 7 months ago

Thank you so much Milena for your great comments and suggestions! I am sure we will consider and implement many of them. You are perfectly right about the local context, this is crucial. This is why for each of the local ecosystems will have local management and local members in order to lead the local community with the most important issues to tackle and therefore create maximum benefit for local impact. We will provide guidelines on how to perform this, additionally helping with the networking of all ecosystems. 

David Vučen 7 months ago

It's great to see that the Serbian health-tech ecosystem is rapidly growing from year to year. The impact and changes you have created in Serbia since your establishment is amazing and I am sure that you will scale up even more in the future. One of the best examples of your importance and agility is your extremely fast response and organisation of different covid-19 related initiatives in the past months. I wish you good luck in your future work!

Ivana Kostic 7 months ago

Thank you David for your support and comments!

Sergio Pengel 7 months ago

Greetings Ivana, Building an impact health-tech ecosystem in Serbia is a huge necessity , probably like us in the Caribbean. These past few years have become iconic for medicine if we talk about new directions, Health Tech innovations, and digital technologies implementation. Healthcare blurs boundaries, exploiting growing opportunities for interaction with all disciplines that can give it a qualitative leap in development
What Problems Can Health Tech Innovations Solve In The Next Five Years?

Ivana Kostic 7 months ago

Dear Sergio, I am glad to hear the recognition and need of what we are doing. We would be more than happy to assist with Caribbean development in health-tech sector. Each ecosystem could create and provide solutions to its local challenges that could also have global impact. In those terms, the possibilities are limitless. The trends are showing AI to be next big thing in health. In general, digital technologies could connect different ecosystems and help their local growth which in turn could enable the development of other technologies (more expensive ones, such as bio and nano and many other) that could help tackle many other diseases. Think local, act global is the motto. 

Nabuyuni Sankan 7 months ago

Hello Ivana,

Great step to identify this topic at such times in the global pandemic
Kindly elaborate the measures being taken to ensure the interconnection of the project with the cities or countries.
Kindly elaborate if the project stands for a hub Hackathon that encourages developers to have a sustainable solution and how will the health tech lab assist in their growth?

All the best in the project keep on keeping on.
Best Regards.

Ivana Kostic 7 months ago

Dear Nabuyuni,

Many thanks for your suggestions! We have started the project in 2017, officially in 2018, but yes the pandemic only confirmed the real necessity of developing solutions locally for global impact. 

Kind regards,
Ivana

Htet Zan Linn 7 months ago

Hi Ivana, how responsive are the existing medical establishment in contributing to your idea? One of the challenges in developing countries like mine is that the established institutions are sometimes too skeptic to introduction new technologies especially from small startups like mine. Do you face similar skepticism from established institutions? How do you overcome these challenges?

Ivana Kostic 7 months ago

Thank you for your questions, it is very important!

It is not expected for the establishment to introduce and except startup ideas immediately. That will not happen. The idea here is to educate medical experts on new approaches and new technologies and make new solutions more approachable and understandable to them. Mixing the medical establishment with startups and innovations through multiple events make them learn how to communicate and understand each other and therefore comment and adjust novel solutions together over time. At this point, medical staff is mentoring and even investing in new solutions.

We can stay in touch for more information and collaboration.

Regards, Ivana

Htet Zan Linn 7 months ago

@Ivana absolutely, let us connect. You can reach me at cbdo@ondr.co

Ivana Kostic 6 months ago

Will do, pretty soon. Many thanks! Ivana

DJ Koeman 6 months ago

very interesting Ivana! I may have a couple of connections here in Kenya that could be interesting. just wondering what your business model is

Ivana Kostic 6 months ago

Thanks! Will contact you pretty soon with detailed info. Many thanks for your comment and opinion. Ivana

Cynthia Amaka 6 months ago

I like your category of interest, do well to improve your idea.

Ivana Kostic 6 months ago

Thank you Cynthia!

Nivashini Rave Rattey 6 months ago

Explain the feasibility of your proposal. You need to explicitly elaborate how exactly will it help solve the problem and benefit the target audience. Describe the process behind each point.

I reverted back your progression since you mentioned that this is not your final proposal. Go make the necessary amendments and let me know once you have done. You are running out of time so swiftly post your refined idea based on the feedback received. If you choose "no" for the question asking if this your final proposal, then i am going to revert back your challenge progress. So be careful when answering the questions and choosing the options.

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Ivana Kostic 6 months ago

All done now! Please confirm all is ready for final submission through email. Many thanks, Ivana

Nivashini Rave Rattey 6 months ago

Good job! Just elaborate how can your practice promote collaboration among key stakeholders of your ICT ecosystem?

Start working on the final submission form.

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Nivashini Rave Rattey 6 months ago

Status label added: Expert feedback received

Nivashini Rave Rattey 6 months ago

Status label added: Submission completed

Nivashini Rave Rattey 5 months ago

Status label added: Idea under jury review

Nivashini Rave Rattey 5 months ago

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

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