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June 2016 was Digital Health month in London – a summary of the key trends

By 5 July 2016

June was a busy month in London for digital health related networking events and conferences. It kicked off with the Digital Health Festival, organised by the Digital Catapult in London. The first day focussed on the “NHS: The Procurement Minefield” and gave some good insight and understanding on how to navigate the NHS, and also a number of the initiatives to increase adoption and uptake of new technologies including the Testbeds, NHS Accelerator and Day 2 looked at the wearable market, and the interesting dynamics of where fashion, the consumer and health technology are converging.

This event was followed by the FT Digital Health Summit Europe, which was well attended by several large global healthcare organisations as well as SME health technology companies. There was an inspiring presentation from MSD of how emerging markets and close engagement with the end users have driven innovation and adoption of digital health. There were some good discussions about the use of technology to empower the patient, improve clinical trials, and the opportunities that large and small technology firms have within digital health.

Next up was the “HealthTech Innovators” conference as a part of London Technology Week hosted at City Hall (Thank you Mr Mayor). This event brought together a range of panels from the NHS, Innovators and Corporates to share their challenges and opportunities within health technology.

Lastly was the D Health Catalyst event which focussed on “Digital Health: Big Information?” and brought together a select audience of large and small companies from the UK, US and Europe. Here we discussed genomics, patient and consumer data, and personalised healthcare.

So what have I learnt, besides London is a leading hub for digital health technology, in terms of the future trends and opportunities for digital health?

  1. People who use digital health tools are not just patients, they are consumers;
  2. The environment for the adoption of and payment for new technologies that can improve patient outcomes and save money within the NHS is improving;
  3. Digital health can play a major role in prevention;
  4. We will see even greater convergence and collaboration between large pharmaceutical / medical organisations and SME digital health companies;
  5. Data that we can easily understand and act on is key;
  6. Emerging markets may hold the key for really innovative and practical ideas, thinking and collaboration between industry and “consumers”.

In my opinion, the one thing that was noticeably missing from these events were the views and insights from “patients / consumers”. As the success of any new technology will be determined by whether or not the people actually use it, hopefully we will see industry working ever harder to engage with people.

Darren Spevick is the Founder and Managing Partner of Eventum Partners, an outcome focussed executive recruitment consultancy that specialises in senior interim, permanent and NED appointments for the health technology, healthcare services, life science and biotechnology sectors.

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