Startups and innovation

The winners of the first-ever Healthcare Week Luxembourg

The Startup of the Year award went to i-Virtual for its “Caducy” solution.  Photo: i-Virtual/Linkedin

The Startup of the Year award went to i-Virtual for its “Caducy” solution.  Photo: i-Virtual/Linkedin

The first edition of Healthcare Week Luxembourg ended on 22 September with the presentation of three awards: Startup of the Year went to i-Virtual; Medical Project of the Year went to the Centre François-Baclesse; and Best Innovative Hospital Management Project went to SSWHG Ireland.

Panels, discussions, demonstrations, conferences… the future of healthcare is being written today: over 2,500 people attended the first-ever Healthcare Week Luxembourg, organised by the hospital federation (FHL) and which took place at Luxexpo.

And the second edition is already on the books: 2-4 October 2024.

Part of the event was the “HWL Awards,” three prizes designed to reward innovation and organised by the FHL with support from the European Association of Hospital Managers. Fifteen candidates submitted projects in three categories: Startup of the Year, Medical Project of the Year, and Best Innovative Hospital Management Project. Several Luxembourgish startups were among the contenders.

Startup of the Year

i-Virtual was named Startup of the Year for its “Caducy” tool. Specialising in the measurement of vital signs, this company was launched by Alain Pruski, whose research aims to help autistic people, and Abdelhak Moussaoui, whose passion lies with algorithms. Today, the startup has a team of about 20. Its tool, the product of five years’ research and development, is called Caducy. It’s a medical device that measures vital signs via a 30-second video selfie.

To enable this capability, i-Virtual has combined several innovative techniques, including non-contact photoplethysmography and signal analysis. The tool can detect a pulse wave, process it and deduce a heart rate. Algorithms applied to the area under the chin enable the respiratory rate to be calculated by analysing the movements of the rib cage. The device still needs to be refined so that it can, using artificial intelligence, measure blood pressure. The tool integrates easily into online platforms, requiring only a web page as an interface.

Caducy has been the subject of a clinical study at Nancy University Hospital, involving more than 1,000 patients in the Greater Region. The tool is aimed at healthcare professionals, and currently doesn’t offer an application for use by patients directly. It has not yet been clinically validated for children, so the focus is on patients aged between 18 and 80.

Two other candidates were in the running in this category: the University of Luxembourg’s SnT spin-off Wavy Meet, with its remote cardiac rehabilitation platform; and MediNation, a job board specifically for the health and social care professions in Luxembourg and launched by Patrick Kersten.

Medical Project of the Year

The François-Baclesse Radiotherapy Centre was named the year’s best medical project for its surgery/radiotherapy programme, taking home an additional special award given by the ministry of social security. The project offers training modules in surgery, emergency medicine and oncology/radiotherapy for doctors and radiology technicians. The training is based on innovative teaching methods (robots, e-learning).

Other partners involved in the project include the University of Lorraine, the University Hospital of Liège, the University Hospital of Hombourg/Saar and the University of Saarland, and marks the first cross-border collaboration in the training of doctors. This border-crossing approach was a purposeful response to the heterogeneity of training. As the FHL notes: “Around ten radiotherapy oncologists, ten medical physicists and 60 ATMs are trained in the Greater Region each year, with very few cross-border exchanges.”

Two other candidates were in the running in this category: the new ParkinsonNet Luxembourg network, which aims to connect the various professionals involved in the care of Parkinson’s patients on a national scale; and the University of Luxembourg for its Personalized OrthoCare project to advance the treatment of pelvic fractures.

Best Innovative Hospital Management Project

In this third category, the South/South West Hospital Group in Ireland (SSWHG Ireland) was chosen for its Transforming Theatre programme. This initiative, designed to improve perioperative care, is being carried out in ten hospitals in Ireland. The aim of the programme is to identify and improve patient flows in operating theatres, which it does by setting up a system of standardised measurements in order to align examination processes, provide a structured methodology for improvement, provide training, etc.

Operating theatres are complex, high-risk and resource-intensive environments. They require a wide range of skills. So it’s a question of implementing prudent management to ensure the best use of these spaces.

Two other candidates were shortlisted in this category: the Maria Middelares General Hospital in Ghent, for its rapid recovery system to optimise patient flow; and the Emile Mayrisch Hospital for its planning cell, a support service for the accessibility of the central appointment booking system for medical imaging examinations.

This article was originally published in Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.