Beyond the Pill — Notes from Health2.0 Conference Barcelona

Our healthcare systems are under enormous strain right now.

Populations are ageing. More and more people are suffering from chronic diseases.

Experts estimate over 600 million people worldwide will have type-2 diabetes by 2025.

Will there be enough doctors? How will we pay for it?

At the Health2.0 conference in Barcelona, May 2017 and over 120 companies and over 600 attendees from around the world came to Barcelona to share what’s going on in the fields of Digital Health and Health2.0.

What is Health2.0?

Health2.0 is using the latest digital technologies to improve the overall health service.

It can include:

  • More and better data — the more data, the better and faster the diagnosis.
  • Home monitoring — flag potential health problems.
  • Artificial Intelligence make sense of all this data.
  • Better connectivity — Consultations over video or instant messenger.

Digital Therapeutics is all about reducing the use of pills and surgery. It can do that with better monitoring, better and more relevant information or personal coaching lifestyle changes.

Health2.0 Means Using Data Better

Have you ever gone to the hospital and been surprised that they had to ring your GP to get your medical history?

In the 21st century, where we can access our emails or photos anywhere in the world — health data is still lagging far behind.

Of course, there are reasons — privacy concerns the biggest one — but nothing we can’t work around.

In Barcelona, HealthCoin talked about storing all these health records in the cloud securely. Only those with permissions have access to them, so GPs and hospitals over insurance companies and employers.

HealthCoin doesn’t just store your health data. It can store your entire families health history. Medical data can be passed on to future generations. Having accurate intergenerational data is huge for disease diagnosis, and something that’s just not possible right now.

Technically the data is stored using BlockChain to enable access.

HeathTech means better relationships with patients

“We are now approaching the point at which the power of the computer can be harnessed effectively to relieve the burden on clinicians and leave them more time for patient care” — Kenneth Baker, UK Secretary for Business, 1984

HealthTech has promised so much over the last 30 years but hasn’t delivered.

We still only get 10 minutes with the doctor. Doctors still need to spend significant time on routine tasks like paperwork and analysing blood reports.

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to automate much of this.

Less overhead on the doctor means more time to spend with patients.

Aidence presented their solution to automate reviewing of lung scans using Artificial Intelligence. Results are faster, more accurate and cheaper scans.

Aidence is working on bringing the same AI technology to other areas.

HealthTech means more Empowered Patients

Treatment is no longer just about clinicians providing healthcare. Patients are getting actively engaged in their health. Technology is enabling this.

People are creating companies in the space of enabling patients.

Medivizor is a company that give patients personalised and up-to-date information on their condition.

The company Antidote connects patients with ongoing medical trials for their condition.

Antidote are already saving lives. Speakers from Antidote talked about how terminal cancer patients have already used their service to connect with medical trials, leading successful treatment.

Patient turned Entrepreneur in HealthTech

Entrepreneurship is all about creating solutions to real problems.

Those most impacted by health conditions are patients, so patients are the best people to come up with solutions.

Michael Seres, who for years suffered from ulcerative colitis, leading to having a colostomy bag fitted. Michael talked about how unusable solutions given to him by his healthcare provider at the time. Michael went on to developing his system and setting up the company 11 Health.

Sophie Thatcher, who has type 1 diabetes, took her condition into her hands and created an ‘artificial pancreas’ to better manage her condition. Using open source software, a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump, treating her diabetes are now much more automated.

What Next in HealthTech?

Chronic diseases have the potential to cripple our current healthcare systems.

Insurers are pushing more for outcome dependent healthcare over just paying for pills and procedures. They want better results for lower costs. Sometimes those results come from lifestyle changes or even simply better monitoring.

The changes happening in healthcare right now are coming from innovative patients solving problems they have to face daily in the management of their conditions. It’s from better human connectivity.

And it’s from using what we have already — data — in better ways.

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