Digitas Health joins forces with NYC Media Lab to pioneer Digital Health Augmented Reality Bootcamp

As part of Digitas Health’s commitment to help health brands create deeper, more relevant connections with their customers, we are spearheading an exciting new accelerator program, the Digital Health Augmented Reality Startup Bootcamp. This ground-breaking program was created under the auspices of Publicis Health and in partnership with NYC Media Lab, which will lead the intensive six-week program beginning in June. It will give graduate student teams the unique opportunity to create innovative health solutions using augmented reality technologies.

To be eligible for consideration, teams had to include between two and five graduate students and be affiliated with a U.S.-based accredited university. Students were invited to submit concepts that they believed had high potential and that had been approved by their university from an intellectual property perspective. NYC Media Lab performed an initial evaluation of each concept and the team’s potential, and with input from Publicis Health, selected finalists to advance to in-person interviews which were held on May 11th in New York. Publicis Health and NYC Media Lab will select five teams to participate in the Bootcamp.

Publicis Health will award $5,000 in funding and development support to each team to turn their concept into an augmented reality solution that makes a difference in the healthcare industry. When the six week bootcamp draws to a close, the goal is for all teams to emerge with a plan for a minimum viable product.

“We believe that augmented reality technology, which leverages the devices people already have in their pockets, will provide patients with important insights, engagement opportunities, and the resources needed to better manage their health challenges,” noted Richard Schwartz, SVP of Marketing and Connected Health Partnerships for Digitas Health. “With immensely difficult healthcare systems and increased responsibility placed on patients, digital solutions are essential in helping people navigate their conditions and care practices with simplicity,” he added.

In developing their augmented reality (AR) concepts, teams were encouraged to take five challenge questions into consideration:

  • What if hospitals were less intimidating, and lab reports, equipment, diagnosis, and medications were instantly made trackable and shareable?
  • What if Type 2 Diabetes sufferers could use AR in grocery stores and restaurants to make better food choices?
  • What if AR could be used for people experiencing anxiety to help reassure, comfort and connect them in moments of concern?
  • What if AR solutions could make our skin a screen?
  • And what if AR experiences could uncover details about a patient’s profile that could lead to manufacturing commerce and medication discounts?

The program will include a mandatory Lean Launchpad curriculum intended to support the teams through the validation phase of their startup formation, to include best practices and exposure to useful entrepreneurship methodologies.

During the Bootcamp, the teams will work very closely with leaders from NYC Media Lab and Publicis Health agencies, including Digitas Health and Heartbeat, as well as a mentor and guest speaker community comprising experts and advisors associated with the two organizations. Mentorship topics will include intellectual property, business development, technology development, regulatory matters, venture formation and incubation, licensing, and strategic partnering. NYC Media Lab and Publicis Health will closely monitor project performance to help teams identify and overcome issues and obstacles early on.

The program will culminate with Demo Day in July, in front of an audience made up of Publicis Health executives and clients, as well as the NYC Media Lab network. Teams will be prepared to form a company, and to feel confident about participating further in startup competitions, accelerators, and even potentially enter into pilot programs with their first clients.

“What a modern health agency brings to the clients we work with and the people they serve is rapidly evolving. We are moving from ads to experiences. Health is increasing complicated and no single company can solve for these complexities alone. We are constantly focused on meaningful solutions for clients that are possible – so they can take advantage of the new now. Partner-ability is the new essential capability.  This program exemplifies that,” Schwartz said. “We are proud to help lead the Digital Health Augmented Reality Startup Bootcamp and help bright, young entrepreneurs develop tomorrow’s healthcare technology.”