If you haven’t read at least one update about Slush 2016, the leading startup event in Europe, then shame on you! Luckily, here comes one more update which is solely focused on the health and well-being sector.
This year, Slush had over 15,000 participants and there was a clear focus on health and well-being. Many of the trends spotted at Slush have been discussed for a while, although now it seems that the changes are finally coming; maybe even stronger and faster than expected. One of the key themes at Slush this year was “The next 100 years of your life”. Based on my observations at Slush, a list of 7 super trends and 9 sub trends was created. These trends are really worth noticing!
Super trend 1. Healthcare, here we come!
Big players are entering healthcare.This change has been going on for a while but now it’s really the last call to notice it. A variety of different players from multiple sectors are walking into healthcare, especially in the digital health field. It was impossible to miss Bayer’s body painted ad at Slush (see below). Furthermore, a number of other big pharmaceutical companies were present at Slush, such as Jansen. Nowadays, not only biotech startups are attracting the attention of big pharmaceutical companies.
I assume you remember the good old Nokia phones. Well, while Nokia is not doing those beloved phones anymore, it’s shifting its business into the health sector. Nokia’s recent USD 190 million acquisition with Withings is a clear statement and, accordingly, Nokia had one of the biggest exhibition areas at Slush.
It is important to mention that not only “traditional” life science companies are exploring the digital health field. For instance, jewelry brand houses are doing smart jewelries; also, food brands are seeking digital health companies to partner up and develop “brain food”. Thus, it seems that a serious digitization of companies is here to stay, even more so when it comes to the healthcare sector or “healthalization”.
Sub trend: The silos between different industries are vanishing and there is a spirit of co-operation and open innovation.
Super trend 2. Preventive healthcare
As of now, the healthcare is focusing on treating and alleviating symptoms and conditions, but this might not be the case in a few years’ time. More and more attention is set to develop tools to diagnose the different conditions early on, so systems can be built to support and deliver preventive healthcare. And oh, boy, there is a lot going on…
Sub trend: Value-driven healthcare.
While operating in the healthcare sector, values should be even stronger and patient-centered, leading to personalized medicine via different solutions .
Super trend 3. Quantified Self and Self diagnostics
These trends are strongly related to the rise of preventive healthcare, as it is facilitated by the development of technological solutions in the health sector: measuring, quantifying, diagnosing and hacking yourself. This is also very much related to the trend of personalization and the understanding that every individual is unique. Here is a brief guide to survive with these terms:
Measuring yourself- Collecting data from you and especially from your movements, i.e. sleep, for often non-medical purposes. However, there are also apps and gadgets i.e. wearables for the purpose of making life easier with diabetes.
Quantify yourself-An advanced way of logging in how you live (exercise, sleep, food, noises, pollution, stress, etc.) and how these changes are affecting you. It implies measuring yourself, but these guys also have the latest tools to really dig in deep. Primarily not for medical purposes.
Hacking yourself- Using the measured and quantified metrics from yourself to improve your biological functions and to reveal the best version of you. More or less, it is a lifestyle itself.
Diagnosing yourself- This is only for medical purposes. Using metrics from blood, urea, etc. for its measuring, in order to derive a diagnosis at home. In some cases home tests will be preferred by patients instead of the tests performed nowadays in hospitals.
Sub trend: “Invisidables”
Now it may be cool to have (very) visible fitness trackers, in the future it will be cool not to. There is a clear trend to develop such wearables which can’t be noticed easily such as, smart jewellery, smart clothes and smart contact lenses. Moreover, implantables -which are inside your body- are often referred as insideables.
Sub trend: Trainables
Your invisidables will learn more and more about your health, and they may start training you. For example, sending an alarm about a bad posture in real time.
Super trend 4. Uberization in healthcare
The hype around digital health solutions is huge and it’s expected that the digital solutions will disrupt the healthcare system, just as Uber disrupted the Taxi industry.
Sub trend: Chatbots
Chatbots might be the first ones evaluating the need of treatment, as this service based on artificial intelligence technology will ask the right questions, and moreover, it won’t have bad days!
Sub trend: Gamify your brains
There is a whole bunch of games coming up which can potentially be used, for example, treating ADHD or for people suffering memory loss.
Super trend 5: Redesign of healthcare organizations
As the Uberization is on its way and people become more aware of their own health, current healthcare systems probably will not exist another decade as we know them.
Sub trend: Virtual hospitals
This change has already started by introducing for example, TeleDoctors services for the patients having relatively simple and mild symptoms.
Sub trend: Collaboration
Healthcare is not anymore only healthcare personnel’s and decision makers’ game. Everyone should be involved in the process of redesigning the healthcare and this is actively promoted via different solutions such as, startup-incubator-patient-healthcare professionals-decision maker hackatons and workshops.
Super trend 6. “Health data is the new oil”
Well…We will see if this is the case. However, it’s certain that there is huge interest from various stakeholders in such data, and this poses some questions such as, who owns the data? how we can secure the data and who can gain access to it?
Sub trend: Real world human data and it’s real use
In the future, health decisions and new medical or medicinal product launches should be backed up with real word data. Though, this is a bit tricky: for example, who truly understands the data and how should authorities integrate the real world data in their evaluations?
Sub trends: Even bigger concerns regarding to the cyber security.
Yeap, this is a hot potato. How can we be sure that the data is handled right and there won’t be any security breaches? By the way, the winner of the startup pitch competition was a cyber security company, CyberAngel, they gained EUR 0,5 million.
Super trend 7. Food Hacks
Last, but definitely not least, is the future of food. It’s not only about the traditional production and distribution of food, but also alternatives… In a fast-paced world, meal replacements have become its own whole science.
Sub trend: Meat without cow.
Artificial fajitas and meatballs. We’ll see when you find one of these at your plate…
Enormous changes are progressing in healthcare which lead to new challenges, such as the raising concern of cyber security. The future of health in 100 years will be something very different from today’s common idea. There is a growing interest and also pressure for various stakeholders to react to the ongoing changes in the healthcare sector, in order to generate innovations not yet imaginable. Digital health solutions have great potential, but these tools shouldn’t replace health care professionals, as the technology is not there yet. In 2116, will it be?
And just a pick-up from Slush regarding to our previous post!
Credits for the co-author Kristal M. A warm thank you!