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Summary, Digital Health & Wellness Summit 2017

Preventive medicine and engagement, collaboration with innovative solutions, and customised services based on data management


At such an important time as this for the industry, DHWS17 shone a light on future challenges. This year, the debate focused on the general need to improve engagement between users and their health in order to enhance preventive medicine practices and services. In the more specific case of chronic diseases, which are the biggest drain on the budgets of healthcare systems in every developed country, prevention and self-care are key elements in the strategy to improve the current situation, the goal being to trigger new and healthy lifestyle habits.

In the case of insurance companies, and despite the volume of revenue in the global private health insurance market, the traditional insurance model is currently being questioned. In the age of data, insurers have to reinvent themselves by focusing on their clients and their needs and customising their services more and more. The entire industry is transforming. Insurance companies are investing more in new business models and using mobile and digital technologies to enhance this transformation process.

For BUPA-Sanitas and DKV-ERGO, which represented the insurance industry at the event, the digitalisation of services based on a client-centred model is already a reality. Interested in integrating technical solutions, and under the “step by step” motto, they are incorporating those specific solutions that seem to offer the best chances of fitting in with their clients. For now, as concerns wearables and the IoT, companies are facing the problem of compatibility between devices and the lack of integrated solutions. The basic idea is to build an ecosystem between preventive (proactive) and medical (reactive) solutions.

Individual engagement is one of the main challenges facing prevention programmes, and patient commitment is still far from being efficient. But how best to fight the low engagement of users with issues involving their health? The formula for doing so was provided by Roche Diabetes Care: technology + qualified support + education. In this regard, the conferences considered several ways to improve engagement, such as those put forth by Dacadoo (health score), Roche and Changing Health (chronic diseases) and Mind Ventures (virtual reality and gamification), among others.  Also debated was how to manage large databases (including the future of genetic analysis) and the obvious questions on the safety and privacy concerns that such databases generate.

The hospital industry (Hospital Vall d’Hebron, Barcelona) also had a chance to express the need to lead the process to create preventive medical strategies, especially for chronic cases, in response to pressing budget shortfalls.  An essential part of this strategy is the creation of teams of care coordinators to follow up with patients and properly manage big data for hospitals. The basic goal of these initiatives is to provide a platform to shift the focus from hospitals to patients.

The Digital Health & Wellness Summit 2017 (DHWS17) was held in Barcelona on 27 February as a part of 4 Years From Now (4YFN), the business platform of Mobile World Capital Barcelona for technology start-ups. Sphera Global Health Care was there.