CTSI Annual Pilot Awards to Improve the Conduct of Research

An Open Proposal Opportunity

“Idea to Impact” (i2i): Translational Digital Health Program

Proposal Status: 

Rationale: The rapidly evolving field of digital health has great potential to enhance biomedical research, education and clinical care. Development in this new space is largely being driven by the tech sector, where projects may lack proper clinical focus or scientific rigor and generally do not include health outcome measures to assess effectiveness or impact. UCSF can play a vital role in ensuring that digital health ideas are appropriately targeted to real clinical problems and that they result in meaningful impact, by improving health, improving care, and lowering costs. We propose the i2i Translational Digital Health Program to foster UCSF and industry collaborations to initiate, develop, and test impactful and cost-effective digital technology to improve biomedical research, education, and clinical care.

Plan: This i2i proposal is to identify and develop the critical resources and programs necessary to facilitate and accelerate the “idea to impact” trajectory for digital health innovators both within and outside UCSF, in a multidisciplinary way that combines sound scientific methods with technology, design, business strategy, fundraising, IP, regulatory and marketing expertise. This first year of i2i will focus on the following:

  1. Establish a focal point for CTSI Digital Health initiatives, with multidisciplinary internal/external partners
    • Create an intersection for collaboration between UCSF Digital Health initiatives (e.g., BMI, ISU, QB3, ITA, SOM, Institute for Reducing Health Care Costs and other innovative efforts at UCSF).
    • Create strong UCSF presence in Digital Health to external partners, working with Virtual Home on a website, with campus on social media, with Development officer, etc.
    • Explore and establish external partnerships (e.g., UCs, CITRIS, investors, companies, public health).
    • Host Annual UCSF Digital Health Summit: to showcase “ideas” and “impacts,” convene partners
  2. Identify and implement needed processes and resources for accelerating “idea to impact”for the main types of digital health projects, e.g., projects aiming for a) internal (e.g., RAP) and external grants; b) operational deployment to improve health locally to globally; and c) commercialization. We will:
    • Convene a series of meetings with faculty/trainees, staff, and various external partners (e.g., investors, tech companies, start-up incubators, design firms, etc.) to define hurdles, needs, objectives
    • Work with ITA and other groups to define models for supporting each type of project, and implement initial steps with FAQs, standard agreements, etc. as appropriate
  3. Build a vibrant and supportive Digital Health i2i community
    • Establish an external Digital Health consultant panel, modeled after T1 Catalyst, to serve as consultants to UCSF, grant reviewers on RAP proposals, i2i Advisors, etc., with networking events
    • Establish an internal consultant panel of research, clinical, education, technology, and informatics experts to serve as consultants grant reviewers, Services, i2i Advisors
    • i2i Web presence - with Virtual Home, enhance UCSF Profiles (digital health keywords), Digital Heath Innovators Forum, links to useful collaboration tools, survey needed resources, crowdsourcing i2i tips
    • Quarterly or bi-monthly multidisciplinary “Eye to Eye” roundtables featuring specific research or clinical “problems” and potential digital “solutions,” presented to an audience of External and Internal Panel members, to foster relationships and potentially ignite Digital Health projects.
  4. Define and implement recharge and IP models for internal and external consultation We will work with Consultation Services, ETR, ITA, etc. to adapt and develop processes for UCSF faculty consulting to industry, for industry consulting to faculty/staff, and for staff (e.g., ISU, ITA) consulting to faculty

Criteria and Metrics of Success: digital health website with communications plan and metrics; defined internal pathway/processes for idea transfer; implemented recharge mechanism for Consultation Services; 20 external consultants panel members, from range of disciplines and public/private; 15 internal consultants panel members; Annual Summit, 4 “Eye to Eye” events; 2 new external partnerships

Cost and justification: Staff support 0.4 FTE $40,000K; website and communications: $20K; Symposium and “Eye to Eye” roundtables: $10,000 with sponsorships to defray; external consultants panel $5,000.

Total: $75,000. The sustainability model will include recharge, shared royalty/licensing programs, partnerships with clinical enterprise/external groups, UCSF Digital Health Consulting Panel (to external parties), and philanthropy, with self-sustainability anticipated in 3 years.

Collaborators: Sim/Sawyer (BMI), Lee (ETR), Pletcher (CS), Yuan (Virtual Home), Lium (ITA), Melese (SOM), Crawford (QB3), Jorgenson (ISU)


I can see how this project would decrease the amount of duplication that is going on in the creation of validation models for digital health at UCSF. It would be great to be able to find others working on similar projects in the digital sphere to share successes and failures. I really believe that you are right in wanting to push more health into digital rather than the other way around which is the current trend... Will the forum and the enhanced profiles be able to connect digital innovators in different fields or even schools (i.e. dentistry and nursing). Would a registry of projects be a more robust way of connecting digital health innovators?

Hi Jesse, the "i2i" (Idea to Impact) Translational Digital Health proposal is designed to address your comments on the potential benefits of interaction between UCSF Digital Health Innovators. Our proposal includes a mechanism for that and also will provide other necessary resources to foster sound ideas and move them all the way to meaningful impact. This program is designed to ensure the intersection of innovators with each other but also with an Internal and External multidisciplinary panel of consultants who have the expertise needed to initiate, develop,and ensure successful utility of digital health innovations arising at UCSF. We do plan to include resources to address those you specified: 1. "find others working on similar projects in the digital sphere to share successes and failures" 2. "to connect digital innovators in different fields or even schools (i.e. dentistry and nursing). 3. The plan to create a Community of Digital Health Innovators at UCSF to optimize the sharing of resources and expertise (internal and external)and will certainly include creating a "registry of projects". The Idea to Impact (i2i) proposal is aimed at providing "fertile soil" for the fostering of sound ideas and facilitating the development and implementation of them. Your input on ways to better support innovators in digital health at UCSF are greatly appreciated. AJS

I think that looking at Digital Health from an overall "End-to-End" perspective is a fantastic idea. I worked on a similar project called "Concept-To-Product" (C2P), and the end result became a central tool to perform both strategic planning and operations improvements. There are many functions involved in this process, are you planning on delivering a basic process map to understand the key high level steps, R&R, and rough FTE & timing of activities needed to deliver a Digital Health product? A process map could be particulary helpful in establishing a common base for communcating about i2i. I wasn't sure if that is what you meant by "models" in the 2nd bullet of point #2. Cheers!

Hi Fabrice, your comments are very helpful. Yes we do plan to build "process maps" and your expertise in this area would be really valuable. I also plan to explore the possible need for somewhat different paths which may have slightly different process maps or trajectories to development. For example some problems wth their paired digital solution might be better suited for commercialization while others might be best suited for public/global health applications or internal clinical/research use. There is likely to be cross over between these but it appears that the path to development (and all the way to "impact") can vary depending on the ultimate target. I would be very interested in your input as we develop the "Idea to Impact" program and build process maps. Thank you for you comments. Aenor

Hi Ida - Consultation Services is happy to help support implementation of a new recharge mechanism for i2i. Can you clarify how would this be different than the recharge we have already for our mHealth "niche" consultants in the Design Unit? Are you talking about providing other types of services (including development/programming/other technical services)?

Thanks, Mark. The recharge would be different from what we already have for the following kinds of consultations: 1) a faculty member providing a consultation to an external group (e.g., a company) -- there are arguments for and against an institutional structure for what has been a private 1-on-1 arrangement; 2) UCSF members seeking consultation with members of the external Digital Health Consultants Panel. And yes, in mHealth Consultation Services, we are already referring people to developers (eg ISU). There are other internal and external developer/design services we may want to refer to, and need to establish scope, policies, etc. for that.

Commenting is closed.