The first Health Tech Expo takes place at Augusta University on Friday, January 27. The expo — a free event — is a result of collaborations between theClubhou.se, Augusta University College of Allied Health, Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), TAG Health Society and The Advanced Technology Development Center of Georgia Tech.
The partnering organizations will host students, faculty and members of the public for a day of discussion and presentations designed to bolster new startups in the area. Panelists and startup companies will discuss their experiences and review ideas presented by those in attendance.
Co-founder of theClubhou.se, Eric Parker, says the local startup innovation community has already made significant strides.
“We have been building Augusta’s startup innovation community for the last five years and helped grow 60 ideas from people in the CSRA into 32 businesses that have created 87 local jobs,” Parker said. “Our goal with the event is to show the CSRA the absolute success and progress that has occurred, and to help introduce our regional partners to each other and the broader community so that more people can access resources for mentoring, research assistance and funding support.”
Parker says the expo will help demonstrate just how theClubhou.se can play a key role in developing the support and expertise required for business growth within the vast field of healthcare.
While the potential for development within the field of healthcare is huge, Parker also points out that health tech itself is not confined to one particular area, such as a new drug or a piece of hospital equipment.
“Our health is impacted in a tremendous number of ways,” Parker said. “Solutions can range from seemingly mundane things like database integration in legacy systems up to 3D printed prosthetics, telemedicine tools for rural hospitals, wearable health monitors, virtual and augmented reality systems.”
The expo exists at the intersection of business, technology and healthcare. Dr. Gianluca De Leo and Dr. Vahe Heboyan of Augusta University’s Clinical and Digital Health Sciences department are looking forward to working with theClubhou.se and other partnering organizations. They see firsthand the need for accessible healthcare, and believe technological applications and solutions are the way ahead.
“We see the benefits of working with others — it is a concert of technology, health and business, and we believe that is the way we can progress,” De Leo said. “The expo gives us the chance to reach out to faculty and students who may not even realize that they have a good idea. We tend to keep students tied down to exams, or busy with their syllabus. This helps us do a better job of allowing them to express their ideas and explore their potential. They can see there are people in the area with successful startups.”
Augusta University, De Leo explained, can also help members of the community who may have a good idea that will work in healthcare, but are having a hard time framing the idea and figuring out how to go forward.
Heboyan, director of Health and Behavioral Economics Research Lab, says the expo also offers members of the public the chance to get involved in answering one of the most pressing questions facing healthcare providers these days.
“The demands for healthcare are going up, and we hear how the costs of healthcare are going up and up,” Dr. Heboyan said. “So there is a need to answer the question ‘How do you deliver quality healthcare that doesn’t cost a lot?’ And of course, technology is one of the tools that can potentially help to bridge the gap.”
Parker says that seeing this kind of collaborative effort, in addition to the development of a homegrown cyber talent pool and the establishment of local investors such as CSR Angels of Aiken, should also be seen as evidence the local market is maturing. And, that there is a real need for upcoming generations to see the opportunities before them. A sentiment also expressed by Heboyan.
“This is going to be beneficial for the community. It is crucial to get students involved, as well as those who may have had a good idea but hesitate to express it, or they don’t know which way to go. But coming here, learning, listening to other people and how they’ve started, and sharing their ideas is a good opportunity. You might think your idea is crazy, but, sometimes, those crazy ideas are the ones that become effective innovations.”
Health Tech Expo
Friday, January 27
11 a.m.-5 p.m.