In May 2020, when COVID restrictions were bringing about the “new normal”, we finally got to meet our community over an event on the discussion topic: “Fast-Tracking Health: Fleeting Opportunities and Enduring Changes”.
This was the opening session of our BlueChilli HealthTech Digital Summit Series. I am immensely grateful to our industry experts for their generous sharing and time:
- Miguel Rivera, Head of Business Model Transformation, Asia Cluster, Novartis
- Seemant Jauhari, Managing Partner, HealthXCapital
- Sze-Yunn Pang, Industry Expert, WEF Global Future Council Member, Former Head of Population Health, Philips ASEAN Pacific
Here’s a summary of takeaways I gleaned from our exchange with the speakers for sharing. I’d like to think that these themes highlight developments and opportunities we can act on to make an impact for today and tomorrow in advancing health innovation.
1. Fast Forward Digital Adoption
Changed mindset towards digital solutions from good-to-have for the future to must-have for the present for implementation across the industry from providers to manufacturers to regulators. The pandemic has exacerbated health problems that we always knew existed and the digital solutions were there, what we are seeing is a sea change in attitude for adoption. Regulatory guidelines are being quickly put in place to favour such adoption (e.g. telehealth operations and reimbursement guidelines are fast becoming commonplace across the world). Though some measures may be temporary and challenges remain in sustaining engagement systematically, it has reduced friction for new user acquisition.
2. Close the Care Continuum Gaps
Accelerated shift for healthcare services from hospitals to community, to home settings from telemedicine consulting to home-based nursing. Hasten adoption of connected devices and information continuity both inside hospital (e.g. Tele-ICU that allows monitoring across a number of physical ICUs) and outside of hospitals (e.g. medicine delivery, tele-physiotherapy to even home-based “hospitalisation” with remote monitoring and offsite services).
3. Make Partnerships 1+1=3
With the industry hard-pressed to plug in solutions with a compressed timeline, there are opportunities for large organisations to partner with others including startups with existing solutions to co-develop or deploy for scale, working together to ensure quality delivery as coverage expands. Potential partners must be able to perceive the strategic objectives for each other to create a joint value proposition that is greater than the sum of its parts combined. We have seen examples from how Big Pharmas come together to develop vaccines at unprecedented speed. We are starting to see more examples of large organisations partnering with consumer facing health startups to deliver new services that close the loop in customer engagement be it in COVID screening for corporations to “return-to-work” or chronic disease management for patients at home.
4. New Normal, New Capabilities
Agile and flexibility are key capabilities which organisations of all sizes need to build. The pandemic may seize the bandwidth for existing customers but create a need for another adjacent customer segment. Shift product/service delivery model to capture demand based on your strength and collect evidence-based results to speed things up once your mainstay customers are ready. For example, it is common for startups that work through hospitals to find themselves unable to get bandwidth of these providers as their capacity is seized by COVID-19. We have seen a few of these startups rolling out new products that help individual specialist clinicians or clinics support patients remotely and the gains from these customer engagement can then be used when they circle back to hospitals.
Digital health is no longer optional, it is a necessity for the present and the future.
I’d like to invite you to chime in your learning/perspectives on the topics in comments for collective learning. If you had attended our event, we’d love your feedback too.
Let’s turn adversity into opportunities for positive change, together!
Here is the General Highlights video if you are keen on watching it:
*note: I would like to thank and acknowledge the speakers mentioned above for their contributions, any mistake(s) in this article are solely my own.
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— Hui Hong