“Honour" and “privilege" are not normally words we find ourselves using at Upstart. In fact a healthy disrespect for the establishment and old ways of doing things is what makes us tick.
Yet this week Upstart hosted the Catalyst Track of HealthTech X Europe and we found ourselves weaving together the agenda of a room full of close to 40 Health Tech innovators. We couldn't help but be overawed and humbled by the courage, drive and intelligence of the talent we had in the room.
We could write a book about what we saw and heard. You haven’t got time to read it. In the meantime, there were eight themes which bubbled to the top of our mind from the day. Here they are.
1. Health Is Changing Forever. And For the Better.
We kicked off the day by exposing our future health model. In this, we showed how user experience, data science, business model innovation and behavioural psychology will sit alongside traditional biomedicine to strongly impact the delivery of health services. The services and stories we heard in the day proved that beyond doubt.
2. Founders Take It *Very* Personally
Entrepreneurism is normally a personal crusade. Magnify that by 10, and you come somewhere close to understanding the personal drive which health tech entrepreneurs have - a recurring theme throughout the day as we exposed founder stories. James Routledge started Sanctus after he began to expose personal vulnerability through social media. Adam Pike and his brother Daniel founded Supercarers on seeing first hand the challenges faced by their mother. Lorena Puica was driven to set up IamYIam whilst trying to unravel her own personal battle with illnesses. Nothing motivates a founder like a challenge they've discovered themselves, but when it touches our lives it’s even more compelling
3. Mind First, Body After
Mental health and digital tools complement each other strongly. While digital is still waiting to make an impact on the business of treating and operating on physically ill people, Digital is proving to be effective at having an impact on D increasing mental health burden our society is facing. We heard from Ieso Digital Health Founding CEO about how their online service is revolutionising and redefining Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, while Gus Booth-Clibborn is at the start of Tomo’s journey to use apps and AI to address depression.
4. Innovation Comes in Many Models
Disruption is rarely just about the tech itself. Health innovation is increasingly about the factors surrounding the technology, not least the business model innovation and organisational change which it demands. Ieso was successful because it took account of how NHS buyers wanted to procure the service and also the impact it would have on the therapists delivering it.. Ry Morgan shed his experience with his previous venture Yomp and his new mental wellbeing service Unmind, in getting services to users to the corporate wellness channel. And Joao Andrade of WideCells showed how setting up insurance and hiring senior talent from the dental care arena enabled him to set up the conditions for massive affordability of stem cell treatment. Business model innovation is the key.
5. Health Is Being Disrupted
Just as financial services is being targeted by fleet of foot start-ups who can bite of a single problem, health is beginning to be on bundled and attacked in a single-minded and disruptive fashion. Dr Sukhbinder Noorpuri showcased I-GP, where patients have a free level of care and advice, are charged a £10 price point for a consultation, and can take as long as they want. A world away from the cost-per-visit model or 10 minute consultation mode. Meanwhile Thriva is enabling blood testing for well people via an experience which screams "lifestyle"
6. Women’s Health Is Getting More Love
Elvie’s Tania Boller shared her personal story of how one aspect of women’s health - regaining pelvic floor strength - had been overlooked until she came up with her connected exerciser. Yet women's health goes beyond “femtech” - pregnancy, contraception and fertility are huge, neglected markets, and there is a growing movement embracing feminism to use digital to enable women to be responsible for their own health, says Babylon’s Dr Hannah Allen.
7. Open Health Beats Closed Health
The health ecosystem of the future will be open. Small players must collaborate with larger ones a theme shared by Bayer’s Dr. Zsuzsanna Varga as she showcased how their Grants4Apps programme had smoothed the pathway for startup Turbine to help them in using AI to accelerate drug discovery. Bupa’s John Moore showed how working with smaller innovative companies in close collaboration is an enabling them to solve customer experience problems faster and they would on their own.
8. Experience Matters More than Ever
Getting patients to engage with health is never easy. Many of the truths about our own health are not pleasant, and actions we need to take to deal with it are even less so. Getting information and feedback about health should should be as painless and friction-free as booking an Uber or finding a song on Spotify. Dr Gyles Morrison of the Clinical UX Association spoke of his work in making data accessible to patients and health professionals, while our Head of Understanding Jas Chana exposed insights from HealthUnlocked CEO Jorge Armanet about how patients want to share stories around a condition, and from Written Medicine founder Ghalib Khan about how neglected fundamentals such as translation of patient info and labels can impact health outcomes.
You can see the HealthTechXEurope twitter feed including our take at http://bit.ly/HTXTweets1