Experts speak on the future of digital health

Digital Health Community | Persimmon Health

January 12, 2023

In 2022 we collaborated with some of the most creative and committed people transforming healthcare challenges today. Here are some of their top takes on what the future of digital health looks like.

In this episode of the Digital Health Community by Persimmon, Tim Cooley, Start-up Chief of Staff, Executive Director of Park City Angels, and author of  “The Pitch Deck Book” talks to Chris Sprague, CEO of Persimmon, about raising angel investments from angel investors. Tim explains what it takes to raise angel investment in the context of a digital health startup. There is a nuanced difference between consumer startups and digital health startups. Tim goes through the nuance differences and shares solid advice for entrepreneurs and Angel Investors. Watch and listen to gain actionable insights about raising investment.

‘Wearables can change the world’ : Joao Bocas, CEO at Digital Salutem

Oh, well, that's a fantastic question. I like that when I do my keynotes around the world, I always kind of pitch my vision, it might be wrong. But I'll start with this. My big vision is that the wearables can change the world. And if they can change, for example, your reality with virtual reality, mixed reality can change your world, it does mean is the health medical world, that if they can help you to manage your condition, and improve your health and wellness, they can change your world. But also, one of the things that I predict is that in five or 10 years time, the wearables that we see will become obsolete. And it's not about fitness bands, and smartwatches, you will definitely be about very small senses, about smart clothing, about the offerings, about anything that you actually fancy, or those around your tastes, or preferences, but not just on your wrist. That's one of my predictions. The other prediction that I have is eventually. And this is more as a prediction and also an aspiration. Eventually, I would like the power to out like, the plates to be turned upside down, and the power to be given to the consumer, and not the provider, or the manufacturer or the insurance system, I would actually would like to see I have my data, I worked really hard to strive to stay healthy and fit. Now, what can I get in return? Can you give me a benefit? Can you give me a discount? Can you lower my premium? Can I, so I would like to see the power on the hands of the people. And I believe wearables can play a big role in that. I think we are a long, long time away from that. But that's what I really would love to see.

‘Technology eventually needs to disappear’ : Yishai Knobel , Co-Founder/CEO at RxWare

So there's a big question, what does it look like? I'll tell you, you know, one of my, one of the most famous quotes, was by Jack Dorsey, from Twitter, who said, technology needs eventually to disappear. What does it mean? And I think it was talking about the iPhone or the iPad, instead of when you're sitting on the iPad, you're not realizing that you're sitting on an iPad, you're just consuming content, and you're watching a show, and you'll get regular don't notice that technology hasn't disappeared. And if we do our job, right, if we do a good job, we the health tech industry, we would get closer to having the systems disappear from the health care experience. You know, just like, hey, I go and talk to the doctor today, in an age after COVID, I go to the doctor on my street, I'm not thinking to myself, Oh, I'm gonna log into that telemedicine portal. In order to talk to my doctor, I just go to talk to the doctor. Right, it's on my screens, technology disappeared. And telemedicine today, you know, finally was able to get there because you know, because of COVID. So the same thing is going to be with my Apple Watch and my phone. If services really do a good job handshaking with a patient engaging them, the patient is not going to think, oh, I need to download the app that would get me to that tracking. Right? The patient is just going to engage the service. And imagine a world where Digital Therapeutics is gonna do such a good job, will you wake up in the morning? And it's like, okay, well, here's your sleep metric. And I don't even remember what technology I'm using for that. I'm just going to be there.

‘The world is no longer flat, it's becoming a place that you step into’ : Sarah Hill , CEO at Healium

It's a great question because certainly the opioid epidemic has impacted, you know, what people think about taking, you know, taking a pill, however, you know, this is not a replacement for psychotropic medication. And anyway, it's not a replacement for any kind of medication. And, you know, medication obviously has great value in our world. And so, you know, that's not to say that you at all, that you should use helium and quit taking your medication. No, that's the total polar opposite of, you know, what you should do, you should talk with your, your doctor, and, you know, see what they recommend that you should, you should be doing. But for people who, you know, me personally, I can just speak about myself, I wasn't a good, good candidate for medication. And so, you know, this was a drugless, non harmful coping mechanism, something I could do for myself, to learn to self regulate, and, you know, try to feel more empowered, and that this was one small thing that I could do for myself, to move the needle on on my own on my own mental wellness. But you have an interesting confluence of, of trends, as you said, you have the rise of the opioid epidemic, where people are looking for more drugless solutions, you have the rise of consumer wearables. And after all, what are you going to do with that data, you have the rise of the stress Olympics and the mental health emergency. And, you know, it is, is Healium is certainly in line with all of those different areas along with the rise of the metaverse. And we know that immersive media compared to flat 2d media is not as memorable. And it's not as engaging. And so you have that research, along with the rise of digital calls and digital therapeutics that have historically been served in the flat world. And so you know, what you're you'll, you'll be seeing with a lot of these GTX companies is they're realizing, well, the world is no longer flat, it's becoming a place that you step into, whether that be in your mobile device, or in a virtual reality headset. And so that's what I'm excited to see over the coming months and years, is, you know, more technology, more companies really realizing that the flat world of digital therapeutics certainly had its place. But if you want to impact brain patterns and heart rate, there, there are new ways to do that, that research has shown can be more memorable and engaging.

‘Shadow EMR and better refined tech in healthcare.’ Jessica DaMassa , Executive Producer at WTF Health

I have got a couple of answers to this. So I think we're going to, I have this theory, this crazy conspiracy theory about this, like shadow EMR world that's starting to be built alongside the real, like the Cerner and epic world where it's like, there's a lot more like startups that are going into that space, if it's like, and we even think about some of these primary care companies that have built their own EMR, like all of a sudden, it's like, which I feel like we're starting to see like other EMR possibilities kind of emerge alongside and then a lot of other data exchange startups that are taking advantage of some of those new privacy rules that have gone into place, so that you have no privacy rules and start with some of the data sharing rules that have gone into place, and really starting to build out that that side, I think that's going to be a space that is going to just pop because of the fact that all of a sudden, there's this data that wasn't previously available, that we're gonna have our little, our little hands on, and we're gonna be able to algorithm eyes until we run out of questions to ask and predictions to make. And so I think that's going to be a space that was really popping. 

The other thing that I think on that same token, it's, I would like to see that start to become a like, maybe this is further out. But he's like, how we're using some of the tech that we've got to better refine the diagnostic process for certain areas of healthcare. So like, you know, how we're all mental health, right? It's like, could you like how can you refine? How can you get better at doing diagnosis and more quickly getting somebody into the space like with the data that we're starting to collect about certain things, or even when it comes to like some of these the pharma innovations around like digital therapeutics that wrap around a hill or whoever it's like, you have a lot of information now that augments the information that you had in an interesting way. And it's like, can you use some of that to make it easier for somebody to find the right medication faster? Like, or like, you know, get them to a diagnosis with a mental health disorder a little bit quicker? Or? I don't know, I mean, I think there's a lot of potential there for like having like this, this, this front part that helps you not triage or navigate, but it's like, like, how do you enrich that with technology and use the the data in aggregate that we have a bunch of, let's say, people who are using remote patient monitoring device or like, all these chronic condition, digital health startups that have a lot of information about diabetes and weight and, you know, different types of chronic conditions like that. It's like, if you looked at all that aggregate, what could you learn? And how could you slice up our population and maybe provide more targeted treatment to women versus men, or people who are in their 30s ? And I don't know, I mean, like, there's so many ways to start to look at that data that we never even had before. So I like all of that space that really unlocks the potential for taking all that data that is like really just sitting there. and being able to refine it and start to do these things that can really change the way that care is delivered

‘More complex devices and metaverse’ Ron Fridman, Co-Founder/ CEO at Mawi Health

The first one is probably more conventional, that nothing changed. I mean, all medical device technology, they have the same scenario, you need to invent something, you need to let's say, to make the presentation to academic, to clinical society, you need to make validation of this, and you need to make contribution. And all this company from the US needs to make a contribution let's say in the whole unique knowledge, as a matter knowledge of this domain, to be acknowledged and approved and adopted by clinicians and to be successfully implemented in the clinical work workflow. Probably the next, the second answer, which is more futuristic, is that probably something changed because of the metaverse because of the web 3.0. Because approach how patients go to hospitals, how these hospitals looks like, slightly changed. And even in some reasons, regulations could be also changed. That's right, it will influence on the whole business, on the whole industry. But as I mentioned, we are in medical device business. But we still in that kind of not so complex devices together. So our devices are pretty, not very simple. But if we would say, come and say compare these devices with MRI device or something even more like devices for some cancer treatment, it's pretty simple device. Probably for some more complex devices, regulations will be the same because it's about safety. It's about part three FDA, it's about not only performance, but it's about safety. Some devices are could be implantable devices, it's another story from stereo devices. But for devices like watches, some devices, which could measure something, it could be probably next 10 years, 20 years, the regulation could be changed with me because results which we can have from the , from implementation of these devices are could be very, very efficient. And industry will ask regulator to make this process more streamlined and more transparent, more fast, as we had during the COVID. Let's say if they're constantly the government in the population needs to be approved something faster, they will do it faster, because it's argentite, probably for some pandemic. And I suppose that future pandemic will be about depression, about mental health, about stress. And for these kinds of solutions, for these kinds of devices. Probably in the future we'll have separate regulations which could be much more faster, because in the one day, clinicians realize that they need these devices to control patients to manage these patients.

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