Startup developing ‘effortless’ patient-transfer technology wins AGE-WELL National Impact Challenge: Toronto competition
Jayiesh Singh, founder and CEO of Able Innovations, told judges at the livestreamed event that the company’s DELTA Platform allows a single caregiver to transfer a person in a safe and dignified manner. “Our device is mobile, compact and easy to use,” said Singh, who first encountered the challenges around patient transfer while volunteering in long-term care homes in his youth.
Current methods of transfer require two or more caregivers in a process that is time-consuming and physically demanding. It can also lead to transfer-related injuries, both for staff and patients, said Singh.
Able Innovations’ smart technology uses compact platforms to safely roll underneath individuals being transferred. An AGE-WELL-supported study done with Bruyère Research Institute and Carleton University has helped to perfect the system and demonstrate its safety and efficacy.
“Right now, we’re focusing on lateral supine transfers, so people who are lying down can be transferred to another surface where they are lying down. It could be bed to bed, or bed to stretcher, or a stretcher to an imaging table,” explained Singh.
Single caregiver, contactless transfers will not only protect staff and patients from injuries, but also curb the spread of infections in health-care facilities and free staff from labour-intensive patient transfers, said Singh.
Able Innovations plans to use the $20,000 prize money (plus in-kind prizes) to help deliver full-scale prototype devices to hospitals who want to test them by the end of 2020. The company is also looking to secure pilot facilities and has recently opened a seed round of financing to accelerate their path to commercialization.
Able is aiming to commercialize the DELTA Platform by mid-2021, with a home version to follow. “The demand for products such as ours is only going to grow due to what’s happening with COVID-19, our aging population and the compounding effect of nursing shortages,” said Singh.
Five startups took part in the July 9 competition. Each was challenged to explain how their technology-based solution can positively impact older adults or their caregivers.
A separate award, the Bereskin & Parr IP Prize for Innovation, went to Braze Mobility and their CEO Dr. Pooja Viswanathan. After launching the first blind-spot sensor system for wheelchairs that can detect obstacles and provide multi-modal alerts, Braze is now developing MOANA (Module for Obstacle Avoidance and Navigation Assistance), which can prevent collisions and increase access to independent mobility.
Along with pitches from finalists, the event featured a lively panel discussion on AgeTech and brain health with Dr. Garth Smith, Vice President, Business Development and Partnerships, Ontario Brain Institute; Dr. Lili Liu, Dean, Applied Health Sciences, University of Waterloo; and Jim Mann, member, federal Minister of Health’s Advisory Board on Dementia, Advisory Council of Research Ethics BC, and AGE-WELL’s Research Management Committee. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007, Jim now volunteers his time to focus on living as well as possible with dementia. The panel was moderated by Dr. Michael Chrostowski, AGE-WELL’s Business Development and Industry Relations Manager.
The 2020 AGE-WELL National Impact Challenge recognizes top startups and supports entrepreneurship in Canada’s technology and aging sector. Two startups—eNable Analytics and Novalte—tied for first prize in the first competition, held on June 18 with five startups from the Atlantic region. A third and final event in this exciting series will be held on September 29 via livestream, in conjunction with the BC Seniors Living Association annual conference. Watch for details at www.agewell-nce.ca.
“AGE-WELL welcomes the winning startups into our network, where they will be nurtured to maximize their impact on the lives of older Canadians and their caregivers,” said Dr. Chrostowski of AGE-WELL.
Thanks go to all the finalists, the judges and also the sponsors of the competition: Aging2.0 Local I Halifax Chapter, BC Seniors Living Association, Bereskin & Parr LLP, CARP, IBM Canada Ltd., Impact Centre, Innovacorp, Innovation PEI, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, Ontario Brain Institute, Spectrum Health Care, and YouAreUNLTD.