We are excited to announce the recipients of our 2018 Design Aid programme. Our judges gave the nod to three participants this year: Ask Izzy, a mobile website developed by Infoxchange which helps people in need find essential services including housing, a meal and more, The Murdoch Children's Research Institute who are developing an educational platform in the autism space and Innate, a startup exploring how gamification can be used to strengthen mental resilience through cognitive behavioural therapy.
Design Aid is an annual program where we give underfunded digital health projects access to world class design. Recipients receive a week of intensive design to take their product to the next level.
Each of the recipients are using emerging technology to tackle difficult health problems, with Ask Izzy being a great example of this. We will work with the Infoxchange team on the user experience for the new voice assistant technology they're bringing to their existing site with funding from Telstra Foundation’s Tech4Good Challenge. This technology will let Ask Izzy provide help for young people in need through a natural, conversational interface.
David Spriggs, CEO of Infoxchange explains. “Young people at risk of homelessness often struggle with unemployment, family violence, mental health issues and relationship breakdowns due to revealing their sexuality.
“Voice-activated technology is a more conversational and personalised way for young people to access support and services. This technology is especially beneficial for people with low literacy, limited dexterity, vision impairment or for whom English is a second language.”
“We want to break the cycle of youth homelessness before things spiral out of control.”
Our Design Aid programme is growing in popularity as design becomes more important to the health industry. We received 36 applications this year, almost double the amount from last year. Not surprisingly startups made up just over half of these applications, with universities, government funded health organisations and smaller software companies making up the rest. It wasn't an easy decision for our judging panel, but we're very proud to be able to contribute to these three important projects.
The applications were reflective of wider changes in the industry, we observed a few common trends. The first is around the use of mobile apps to help create positive behavioural change. Secondly, many are developing in-home monitoring platforms and tele-health services to address issues of isolation and access. And finally, people are turning to emerging technologies (e.g. blockchain, voice, mobile) to help streamline processes and reduce the burden on the health system.
Other finalists in this year's batch included:
Lumen - a startup providing a simplified 17″ touch screen app to help elderly people keep in touch with family and carers
Firstcheck - a skin check app to take ‘selfies’ of moles/spots to send directly to Australian skin cancer doctors for review
Care Collaborator - a mobile software solution created to on-board the home care consumer at the first visit
Report Injury - an online sports injury management platform designed to streamline injury documentation and management across all sports
The judging panel was made up of some of the most experienced leaders from within the health technology space, including Darian Eckersley from ADHA, Dr Linny Kimly Phuong from The Royal Children's Hospital, Dinah Graham from MIMS, Brendon Wickham, Fred Hersch, and Rachel De Sain from Codesain.
We were very fortunate to have such a high calibre of judges this year. Our judges didn’t just vote, they also had valuable insights and feedback for everyone who applied.
Applications for the third year of Design Aid will open again in the middle of 2019.