Improving medication adherence
Bayer’s crowdsourcing initiative aims at addressing this in elderly with chronic diseases and plans on giving winners S$10,000 each.
Bayer and NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS), unveiled the inaugural Grants4Apps Singapore, a Web-based crowdsourcing initiative that calls for innovative health tech solutions in Singapore and across Asia-Pacific to improve medication adherence in elderly with chronic diseases.
This challenge was launched at the Transforming Aging with Health Innovation Forum, officiated by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Health, Singapore, and attended by Yoriko Yasukawa, regional director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Asia Pacific and other stakeholders including healthcare experts, policymakers, innovators, academia, corporations, NGOs and media from across Asia-Pacific.
As the percentage of people aged 60 and above in Asia-Pacific is set to double from 12 percent of the population in 2016 to 24 percent in 2050, so will the number of patients suffering from chronic diseases such as stroke, diabetes and age-related eye diseases escalate significantly. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the yearly number of deaths from chronic diseases in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific will continue to be the highest globally, and are projected to increase to 13 million and 14 million respectively in 2030.
“There is no doubt across Asia-Pacific, populations are ageing. This is the result of reduced mortality, rising longevity and reduced fertility …,” said Yasukawa. “But it does pose the challenge of helping the elderly population to maintain good health. Chronic diseases may prevent an ageing person from living an active and productive life. We recognise the role that health innovation can bring in enhancing the quality of life of those patients living with chronic diseases.”
While long-term treatment is important in managing chronic diseases, WHO reported that only 50 percent of patients adhere to long-term therapies. In the ageing population, cognitive decline and polypharmacy (having to take four or more medications) usually lead to poor medication adherence. These then result in decreased therapeutic benefits for the patient, frequent physician visits due to the deterioration of their medical condition, increased healthcare expenditure or even over-treatment of a medical condition. The first challenge of Grants4Apps Singapore aims to address this.
Added Claus Zieler, senior vice-president and head of commercial operations, Bayer Pharmaceuticals Division Asia Pacific, “While innovative medications can transform the outcomes for these patients, medications can only be effective for people who take them. Barriers to medical adherence are complex and varied, influenced by the patient, healthcare provider and healthcare system.”
Grants4Apps Singapore is open to everyone in Singapore and across Asia-Pacific including healthcare professionals, caregivers, scientists, engineers, students, programmers, developers, start-ups and entrepreneurs. The challenge will select three winners who will each receive S$10,000 as financial support and access to mentorships from Bayer, NUS Enterprise and other industry partners, who will support them in advancing their project ideas and digital strategies for innovative technologies for doctors, patients and consumers in the health sector. The winners will also be eligible for incubator support from NUS Enterprise, as well as access to the Modern Aging Singapore business accelerator programme, organised by Access Health International and NUS Enterprise.
Submissions to the Grants4Apps Singapore programme close February 14, 2017. Up to five semi-finalist teams will be selected in early March 2017 for a final round of coaching and pitching, culminating in a final awards ceremony in May 2017. For more information on Grants4Apps Singapore, go to www.grants4apps.com/Singapore.