Digital health innovation course helps transform Chinese healthcare delivery


group photo resized
Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Stanford University

A three-week seminar focused on digital health innovation and entrepreneurship in China came to a close last week, culminating in the final pitch presentations from four cross-cultural, entrepreneurial student teams. The winning team, LiveBright, presented a way to improve access to personal counseling in China using digital, peer-to-peer methods, with the mission of reducing stress among students and young professionals.

Sponsored by the Stanford Center at Peking University (SCPKU), the course was developed by Dr. Robert Chang, digital health inventor and Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at Stanford University, and Ravi Pamnani, medical technology executive and alumnus of Stanford’s Biodesign Innovation Fellowship, a pioneering training program in biomedical innovation.

The hands-on course paired Stanford students with Peking University students in collaborative teams and immersed them in the Chinese healthcare system. Students shadowed physicians and interviewed patients to identify unmet needs and market opportunities. Students then brainstormed solutions and developed rapid prototypes to test their ideas and obtain user feedback. Next, they selected business models to ensure the sustainability of their solutions. Along the way, students got feedback from physicians, digital health entrepreneurs, and investors who evaluated their ideas in real-world contexts.


SCPKU seminar instructors, Dr. Robert Chang and Ravi Pamnani
Courtesy of Stanford University



Other teams focused on a telemedicine approach to physical therapy, a more convenient way to obtain eyeglasses prescriptions at home, and a novel subscription box service to promote women’s health education.

“We have been really impressed with the outside-the-box thinking that the students have employed to identify new opportunities,” said Dr. Chang. “China has seen tectonic changes in the mobile and consumer internet sectors. With this in mind and given the unique characteristics of the Chinese healthcare system, a digital health revolution is inevitable, and in many ways has already begun. The rest of the world can learn a lot by observing how digital technologies will transform healthcare here in China over the next five years.”

For more information about the seminar, visit