A team of Melbourne health tech innovators have won the inaugural Janssen HaTCH challenge. The announcement was made at an awards dinner held in Sydney on December 3.

Footprints, a sensor system developed by Quanticare Technologies, has the ability to predict falls in the elderly before they occur. The intention is that the device, when affixed to a walking frame, will continuously monitor a senior’s walking quality, informing doctors when interventions may be needed.

Entrepreneur Wesley Loh said; “Currently our healthcare system pays $8.4b for injuries caused by falls. Footprints can help reduce these costs by preventing falls. The device may also improve the quality of life of Australian seniors and could allow them to remain independent for longer.” See Australian Ageing Agenda 2014, Seniors Stuck in Hospital awaiting aged care inquiry hears (accessed 03 December 2014).

Judging panellist and chair of the World Medical Association Council Dr Mukesh Haikerwal AO, said that Footprints demonstrated an innovative approach to addressing a critical challenge facing Australia’s ageing population.

Commenting on the high calibre of the dozens of competition entries received, Mr Chris Hourigan, Managing Director, Janssen Australia New Zealand said: “It has been encouraging to see the enthusiasm in which the start-up community embraced the inaugural HaTCH challenge. We look forward to continuing to work with this growing area in Australian healthcare.”

Winner Quanticare Technologies, said the grant will help accelerate the development of Footprints, bringing it to market sooner and benefiting Australia’s seniors community much earlier. “Janssen HaTCH has provided a unique environment to support the growing health technology start-up space in Australia.  Opportunities like this are key to generating needed discussion on how technology can help improve the ways in which health and healthcare is delivered to Australians”, Mr Loh said.

Another finalist team from Melbourne, Life Picture, was awarded the first ‘Janssen HaTCH Booster Award’- providing the team with coaching to assist the initiative to thrive. Life Picture brings together urinary biomarkers with smartphone technology and may allow individuals to detect early signs of diseases via their smart phone app.