National Centre for Audiology

Students' business plan for ear health software takes first place

FEBRUARY 25, 2016 BY REBECCA HENDERSON

Students win top award at Proteus Championship

Team OtoInsight members, Raphaelle Koerber and Matt Lucas, National Centre for Audiology, are pictured together with their teammates, Bohan Li, Gautam Swain and Harrison Kelly. They competed at the finals of the Proteus Innovation Competition and won the grand prize.

The Proteus Innovation Competition calls on members of the London community to create a commercialization plan for technologies developed at London’s research institutions. Team OtoInsight, inspired by the importance of protecting hearing health, chose to develop a business plan for OtoTrain. OtoTrain is an otoscopy and ear-disease diagnosis training software developed by the NCA’s Dr. Hanif Ladak and Dr. Sumit Agrawal. It is used to improve diagnostic accuracy in medical and allied health care professionals.

Out of 35 teams, OtoInsight’s business plan for the OtoTrain software earned them a place among the top five teams competing in the final business pitch round. Their business plan and pitch drew on OtoInsight’s technical understanding of hearing disorders, software sales expertise, and business skills, and ultimately earned them the championship prize of $10 000 and the opportunity to  develop a start-up around the software.

While with sufficient training, a physician can accurately diagnose an ear disease almost 90% of the time, most medical students and residents simply do not have enough opportunities to train on sick ears. In fact, graduating physicians only have a 41% accuracy rate for ear diagnostics and this metric improves only marginally with experience in the field. However, through the OtoTrain software developed by Dr. Ladak and Dr. Agrawal and now through the business plan developed by team Otoinsight, this is on its way to changing.

Read more at Western News.