Sara Smolley’s grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 40. By the time Smolley was born, her speech had become highly unintelligible. Growing up, Smolley watched as her grandmother struggled to communicate even the most basic information, such as “I’m thirsty,” or “I’m cold.”
That experience motivated Smolley to cofound Voiceitt, an Israeli company that makes automatic speech recognition technology. Voiceitt translates non-standard speech and sounds into language that caretakers and family can understand, learning as it goes.
“We spent the last year testing our technology with over 200 individuals in six countries and we’re already changing lives,” Smolley told a crowd assembled Thursday for the TMC Expert Forum at the Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute.
Voiceitt was one of 21 digital health startups that pitched at the forum. The companies are part of the TMCx accelerator program that began in early February and will end in June. Startups from around the world come to the TMC to fine-tune their digital health solutions and target health care organizations that will benefit from their innovative ideas.
This is TMCx’s eighth cohort and the most international to date, with 10 of the 21 companies based overseas.
“Their unique perspective on their own health care systems adds to the flavor of the cohort, if you will—not only what they’re getting out of the program, but what they’re contributing,” said Lance Black, M.D., associate director of the TMC Innovation Institute. “That is super-beneficial to the U.S.-based participants because, ultimately, they’re probably going to go into that international market. And the international companies thus far have been very hungry to learn the fundamentals of the U.S. health care system, so it’s great to have them in session, listening to their questions and hearing their perspective.”
A range of digital health services were pitched at the TMC Expert Forum, from Axem Neurotechnology’s brain-sensing device that helps monitor and augment neurological rehabilitation to Ria Health’s telehealth program to treat alcohol use disorder. The audience was comprised of key opinion leaders and potential advisors—including doctors, administrators and manufacturers—who offer feedback and advice to the startups based on their expertise.
The event closed out a three-week “boot camp” that the companies started at the beginning of the TMCx accelerator program.
“Four months is not much time for a startup company. It’s a flash in the pan when it comes to the life-cycle,” Black said. “But a lot of them walk away from the accelerator program with lifelong friendships and opportunities to collaborate.”
The 21 startups in the current TMCx digital health cohort include:
AXEM NEUROTECHNOLOGY (Canada) – Brain-sensing device for monitoring and enhancing neurological rehabilitation
BETTER CONSULT (Australia) – A pre-consultation tool that captures a patient’s presenting symptoms, medication and other relevant clinical information, then translates the data into concise medical notes ready for review
CARTA HEALTHCARE (San Mateo, CA) – AI-assisted solution for building a reliable data set for use in improving hospital operations
CLOUD 9 (Austin, TX) – Provides mental healthcare to high risk populations, before they land in ERs, jails, courts or the streets
DOSENTRX (Israel) – A personalized patient-controlled analgesia device, for the delivery of pain medication at the hospital bedside
GIANTLEAP (Israel) – A gamified assessment and decision support tool, supported by artificial intelligence, designed by renowned researchers in multidisciplinary sciences
HEADSAFE (Australia) – Nurochek is a portable brain assessment device that uses established technology to objectively measure the brain’s activity using EEG, transmits the results to a smartphone and securely stores data online
ITERATIVE SCOPES (Boston, MA) – We are developing artificial intelligence tools for gastroenterologists: arming doctors in the fight against cancer
LUMA HEALTH (San Francisco, CA) – Automating the patient journey through mobile-first text and secure chat communication tools enabling frictionless patient-provider conversations
MERU HEALTH (Palo Alto, CA) – A digital therapeutics program for greater mental health
ONCORA MEDICAL (Philadelphia, PA) – Intuitive software tools for radiation oncologists to collect and use real-world evidence to improve outcomes for cancer patients
OPTELLUM (England) – AI decision support for lung cancer diagnosis & treatment. It expedites optimal therapy for patients with cancer, while reducing aggressive interventions for millions who don’t need treatment
PENTA MEDICAL (Canada) – We make the only portable cold laser that is as effective as clinical units, as well as the most advanced soft tissue injury monitoring platform
PREOPMD (Houston, TX) – A preoperative clearance solution that gathers patient health data and enables clinicians to effortlessly track, monitor and instruct their patients through the surgical process
RDNOTE (New Orleans, LA) – Uses technology to integrate clinical nutrition data and best practice clinical decision support to optimize documentation, improve patient care, and drive financial margin
RIA HEALTH (San Francisco, CA) – A technology-enabled telehealth provider offering an evidence-based physician managed program to treat alcohol use disorder
ROUNDTRIP (Philadelphia, PA) – Seeking to improve health outcomes by providing the best possible rides for patients through the simplest coordination imaginable
SANI NUDGE (Denmark) – IoT applications designed to create positive change and deliver safer, more efficient environments for caregivers and patients
VETA HEALTH (New York, NY) –Patient-centered digital solution delivering tailored treatment pathways for individuals and populations
VIRTI (England) – VR/AR and AI to make physician training and patient education more affordable and accessible
VOICEITT (Israel) – An automatic speech recognition technology that recognizes non-standard speech, enabling people with speech impairments and disabilities to communicate and be understood by voice
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