DIGITAL HEALTH DAYS STOCKHOLM 2016
Digital Health Days 21-22 September in Stockholm is one of the most prominent event in digital health this year including some of the world’s most renowned experts on the scene. It is an international conference focusing on how digital solutions can transform the healthcare system for the benefit of patients and society with higher quality and lower costs. Many disciplines and stakeholders including patients, healthcare professionals, investors, decision makers, policy makers, technology developers, entrepreneurs, start-ups and large companies must engage and complement each other for the effective development of these solutions. These are the expert groups who have been a part of the Digital Health Days in Stockholm 2016.
Activities at the conference include sites of European startups, VC panels, demos and hands-on workshops on design thinking and patient involvement. There is also the stage announcements of the winners of science awards, the winners of the health competitions and new business collaborations featuring game changers and “rebels” within the healthcare industry.
This year the event started by giving focus on patient empowerment and how technology can enable patients to become more active and take control of their own healthcare. The event started with an inspiring presentation by Robin Farmanfarmaian, best-selling author of The Patient as CEO: How Technology Empowers the Healthcare Consumer. The speech emphasized great technical advancements and how technology is advancing exponentially with everything becoming digital featuring different trends such as AI, 3D printing, predictive analytics, IBM Watson, wearable and implantable devices etc. Her full speech is available here.
Next speech by Lucien Engelen, director of the Radboud REshape Innovation Center, questioned why all of these great technological advancements are still not fully utilized within the healthcare domain. Great technologies require change of behavior and policies and laws need to be responsive to technological changes in order to have the permanent state of change towards widespread adoption.
This was followed by Jesper Ek from Roche presenting what type of innovations are currently going on in the pharmaceutical industry also focusing on patient empowerment, especially regarding diabetes and motivating patients to stay on track with their disease management. Erika Rask from MedUniverse also focused on the pharmaceutical industry. At MedUniverse, they help pharma companies with better information exchange between patients and health professionals by developing different patient cases in a digital form to help educate clinicians and patients about new treatment methods and therapies.
There was also great focus on mental health digital solutions which was the topic of the recent Health Hackathon also covered here on Salus Digital. Heimo is a Finnish startup that tries to fight problems such as social phobia, abuse, broken heart or anything similar that people (aimed at teenagers) may be ashamed to share. They allow sharing such stories in a safe online environment to people who respond to them with empathy and understanding through a social media platform. The message is that these kids or adults are not alone and there are many people with a similar problem or who have had these problems and overcame them. This is why the goal is that by people sharing their problems, it can prevent the development of more serious mental conditions. Check the Heimo presentation here.
Next presentation also focused on the preventive side of diseases. Sebastian Sujka from Xbird has warned that every 8 minutes someone in the world dies from a preventable disease. This happens because so far it was not possible to detect disease symptoms in time automatically on a wider scale, but now wearable devices with sensors have the ability to prevent such deaths. Xbird provides preventive care for diabetics through a system which detects sleep, meals, physical activity, and provides warning to the user and notifies them to check their blood sugar levels based on the daily events of these diabetic patients. This can prevent diabetic shocks and insulin reactions allowing patients better management over their own health.
Final presentation involved local disruptive innovations being done in Sweden, presented by David Österlindh, Sigma Consulting and Mathias Ekman, Microsoft. Most of these new startups deal with data analysis and bringing value from vast amounts of data. Some which were mentioned include Nordic Health Innovation for remote patient monitoring, Coala Life which records sound from the heart in order to detect early signs and risks of heart diseases, machine learning startup Optolexia for detecting children with dyslexia by recording their eye movement when reading, Kontigo Care for helping alcoholics stay sober and others. The conclusion here is to think big but start small because with vast amounts of data there are numerous opportunities for creating innovation and improving people’s lives.