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On Friday 4 November, students competed in designing their own products that innovate the Czech healthcare sector. Students formed teams and worked under the guidance of professional mentors and healthcare professionals. Each team chose one of the challenges that the experts addressed felt the Czech healthcare industry needed to address and worked on solving it throughout the day. The EIT Health Innovation Day took place in the Czech Republic for the fourth time, this year at the Hybernská Campus.
"i-Days is an extraordinary event. Every time it is charged with innovative energy, active competitors and their start-up ideas. This year we have more participants than last year and we are delighted to have students and young people who enjoy solving healthcare challenges. Everyone is working, talking and collaborating, we don't have any quiet places here," says Vojtěch Jíra from DEX Innovation Centre on behalf of the organisers.
The main theme of this year's i-Days was Designthinking. Students learned how to come up with and present a business idea, how to fine-tune a product and get it to market. Throughout the day, they had access to professional coaches and successful managers directly from healthcare projects.
The whole event was moderated by professional mentor Pavel Bartos. The experienced coach introduced the basic principles of the Designthinking method and coached the students in designing their products and innovations.
The expert mentor was Jana Prauseová, a graduate of Infectious Disease Control at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. "I think i-Days are important for students, people from start-ups and in short anyone interested in coming up with a solution to a particular problem. I-Days help them discover what to think about, what steps to take. It is difficult for an individual to implement an idea, but in a team and with professional support it is much easier and more likely to succeed," explains Jana Prause, who now works in Sweden for the Shifo Foundation.
Martin May also shared his experience with the students. Martin works as a consultant for larger hospitals and deals with the digitalisation of healthcare. He focuses on the use of mobile applications that improve the work of doctors and other staff and increase the efficiency of the care provided in daily operations.
After an introductory training session in the morning, the students formed teams. They were given 4 challenges to solve by their mentors:
1. challenge: how can we motivate patients to take better care of themselves?
2. challenge: how to check patients remotely?
3. challenge: How to improve quality meal in hospitals?
4. challenge: How can we solve the headaches faced by big donors?
/The Global Fund, GAVI, World Bank/
Each team chose one of the challenges and worked all afternoon to design a solution. At the end of the day, their task was to give a presentation. The winning team agreed that the biggest benefit of the i-Days was gaining experience that will help them if they decide to go into business.
And what exactly drew the students to the event?
Adéla, one of the competitors at this year's EIT Health Innovation Day, sums it up for everyone: "I took part in this event because I was tempted to learn about Designthinking. I study general medicine at the UK and I have never heard of this method before. I am interested in everything about innovation and what can move healthcare forward in the future," says Adéla.
At the end of the day, the teams gave presentations in which they presented their ideas and individual team solutions to implement them. The experts selected the "Czech Boys" as the best team, who worked on the How to check patients remotely challenge.
This team is heading to the European finals, which will take place in Vienna on 24-25 November this year, where the best teams from other European countries will come together to compare their strengths and ideas.