Incubator Program

The 2018 submission period has closed.  Applicants can expect to hear from our team about the status of their application by mid-December. 

The  Center for Digital Health's Incubator Program provides funding (up to $10k) and support for faculty and staff who are passionate about exploring how digital platforms, data, and tools can be leveraged to solve challenging problems in health care.

For our inaugural class, we’re looking for projects that seek to leverage *non-traditional data sources, channels and platforms to enhance patient outcomes and patient or provider experiences in receiving or giving care.

This is an early stage 5-month research and development program that will help situate your project for future phases of growth and funding. We are seeking passionate individuals and teams in need of funding and multidisciplinary expertise to collaboratively discover potential solutions and define new ideas to improve the delivery of care and patient outcomes.  Please note that this program does not fund mobile app development. 

Learn more about the structure of the program and the support incubator teams receive below.


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What are *non-traditional data sources?  

At the Center for Digital Health, we harness existing wearable technology, sensors, and communication platforms that enable user-generated data to reveal valuable insights and health patterns. We have worked with social media posts, online reviews, wireless blood pressure cuffs, fitness trackers, Google searches, Amazon purchase history data, and we are always looking for new use cases and data sources to enable greater connectivity and care delivery at Penn Medicine. 

To kick-start planning for your project proposal, you might want to reference the questions below. 

  • How might we use non-traditional data sources and electronic medical records to better understand what patients need to stay healthy outside of the hospital?
  • How might sensor data from smartphones and wearable devices help patients manage their care? How might this data help patients with chronic conditions?

  • How might data from communication platforms be used to predict patient needs?

  • How might data from platforms that enable feedback from providers and patients help us identify barriers to delivering care?

  • How might insights from health data inform interventions and platforms for more holistic care management and connectivity?

Program details

Accepted teams will move through four stages of work.


Teams selected to participate in the incubator program will receive financial and technical support to help situate their projects for future phases of growth and funding.  

  • Seed funding: Up to $10k with the potential for additional funding based on project progression.
  • CDH team allocation: CDH experts trained in research, data science, design, and project management dedicated to helping you define, test, and conceptualize ideas.
  • Training: Introduction to design thinking, exposure to pitching ideas to executive leadership, introduction to data science, and a deeper understanding of informatics.
  • Networking opportunities: Access to a network of clinicians, researchers, designers, patients, and stakeholders both internal and external to Penn with diverse perspectives makes us a unique asset to Penn Medicine.
  • Recognition and additional support: At the end of the program, your team will have a presentation and report to share with leadership for further buy-in and an opportunity to receive additional investment.

Key dates

  • October 15:  Application period opens
  • November 11:  Application deadline (11:59 PM)
  • Week of November 19th:  Select teams contacted and scheduled for interviews
  • Last week of November and first week of December:  In-person interviews conducted
  • Mid-December: Winners announced
  • January 16th:  Program kickoff
  • February:  Research and discovery, teams run initial pilots
  • March:  Milestone 1 presentation to the group
  • April:  Teams run additional pilots + synthesize data
  • May:  Final presentation to the group, discuss next steps