Connect to End Cancer launches at South By Southwest 2017 Conference and Festivals

Inaugural event aims to showcase, unite innovators, ideas and digital health technologies

HOUSTON ― The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, in collaboration with the AT&T Foundry for Connected Health, will launch Connect to End Cancer on Sunday, March 12, 2017 at the South by Southwest® Conference and Festivals (SXSW®) in Austin, Texas. The inaugural event will provide education, exposure and potential development support to entrepreneurs as well as encourage collaboration among innovators, industry executives, venture capitalists, celebrities, philanthropists and SXSW attendees who share MD Anderson’s commitment to Making Cancer History®.

“By facilitating collaboration across the industry, we can accelerate our effort to transform cancer care,” says Rebecca Kaul, chief innovation officer at MD Anderson. “We hope to create an impact on patients today and pave the way for a future without cancer.”

Beginning in December 2016, innovators from around the world are invited to submit their early stage ideas and companies for possible connection to institutions that can put their ideas into action. Key challenge areas for which new innovations are needed include:

●     Patient engagement and experience – coordinated care and referrals; patient engagement before, during, and after care; scheduling; telemedicine; wait time management

●     Clinical and operational efficiencies – asset tracking/ordering; clinical collaboration; clinical decision support; cybersecurity; physician workflow

●     Acceleration of academic research – clinical trials management; data visualization; digital automation; lab management; researcher collaboration

●     Open door innovation – Solutions that do not fit in a category above but aligns in our fight to end cancer

The idea sharing will culminate at the highly anticipated Connect to End Cancer event at the SXSW Conference and Festivals in March. The collaborative event will include three panel discussions focused on digital health market opportunities and new health policies in cancer care; current trends affecting venture capital and cancer technology investments; and wearables, in vivo diagnostics and virtual cancer care. 

Connect to End Cancer further strengthens MD Anderson’s mission to end cancer in Texas, the nation and the world. Much like the Moon Shots Program™, the institution’s comprehensive effort to rapidly reduce deaths from cancer and transform care, Connect to End Cancer aims to turn innovative ideas into realities, with the hope of providing transformational care to cancer patients around the world.

“We’re looking forward to our first-ever SXSW event focused on innovation and the ideas it will help foster,” said Ronald A. DePinho, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “This collaborative effort has one goal – to accelerate an end to cancer. It will be a privilege to work with the innovators of tomorrow to expand their expertise and opportunities through this effort.”

The Houston AT&T Foundry focuses on digital health innovations that benefit those in and out of the clinical care environment – helping caregivers and patients bridge the gap between a clinical setting and the home. The innovation center’s goal and objective is to take innovative ideas and bring them to life faster than ever before – including opportunities to help transform cancer care. AT&T Foundry for Connected Health resides in the Innovation Institute at the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world. Along with fostering new and innovative companies in the space, the AT&T Foundry is a resource for Texas Medical Center’s physicians and innovators looking to create integrated and connected healthcare solutions.

“We’re excited to collaborate with MD Anderson on this event. At the AT&T Foundry for Connected Health, we want to work with people who are solving the big problems, like the folks at MD Anderson,” said Nadia Morris, Head of Innovation, AT&T Foundry for Connected Health. “For us, it is all about connecting patients, physicians, hospitals, and devices so that we can help improve treatment and research. The more we can do to understand healthcare challenges, and to remove obstacles impeding the technology to make healthcare jobs easier, the more they can focus on ending cancer.”

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About MD Anderson
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. The institution’s sole mission is to end cancer for patients and their families around the world. MD Anderson is one of only 45 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). MD Anderson is ranked No.1 for cancer care in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” survey. It has ranked as one of the nation’s top two hospitals since the survey began in 1990, and has ranked first for nine of the past 10 years. MD Anderson receives a cancer center support grant from the NCI of the National Institutes of Health (P30 CA016672).

MD Anderson’s Innovation Center aims to create transformational change by identifying innovative ideas and unique solutions to problems in cancer care, research and prevention. The Innovation team works alongside MD Anderson clinicians, researchers, patients and operational leaders using observation techniques, stakeholder interviews and market research to understand how to develop the next generation of commercial health technology solutions and to design groundbreaking user experiences. The team creates best-fit solutions through co-creation with internal innovators and strategic industry collaborators, and supports their evolution and adoption to further MD Anderson’s efforts of Making Cancer History®.

About AT&T
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About SXSW
SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, TX, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film and music industries. The event, an essential destination for global professionals, features conference programming, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together. SXSW 2017 will take place March 10-19, 2017.