Digital health

Digital health: Co-creation, the key to the future

Lionel Reichardt Trends

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A month ago, I wrote this post on LeWeb Blog: Digital health is booming! Two weeks later I read a new report from CB insight on “Corporate Investment into Digital Health & Health IT Industry” that confirms that digital health is indeed booming; but which also gives us some additional information about corporate investment in this field.

Digital health

And the names below are very interesting : Qualcomm, Google, Merck, Intel, J&J, Kaiser Permanente, Reed Elsevier

Digital health

These corporate investments have hit record levels, and are often part of incubators’ fundings. Rock Health for instance, the San Francisco-based accelerator, just announced it raised a new fund from its corporate partners – its third and largest one. Even if the final amount is not communicated yet, Rock Health increased its fund limits to startups from $100,000 to $250,000…


But if there is so much money… Why do things seem to change so slowly?

According to a recent panel at The Economist’s Health Care Forum in Boston, there are too many stakeholders to be addressed: regulators, medics, patients… This need to work at a very early stage with key stakeholders is essential for navigating the system. But it takes so much time to get regulators and payors on board, and the lack of evidence does not help.


Is digital health funding approaching ‘bubble’ stage then?

The question is raised with these figures in mind and the slow pace of change for healthcare systems. There are actually many digital events being launched right now, and the digital health ecosystem itself is spreading: why doesn’t everyone just jump in? After retail, music and travel, healthcare should be the next industry to be disrupted… but it just seems much more complicated.


What could the solution be, then ? Co-creation !

At the recent Health2.0 Europe conference, Kemal Malik, head of innovation at German pharmaceutical company Bayer, said to the digital health experts during his keynote: “We need your innovation, your ideas, your help… because our model is not sustainable”. The same day, Tim Wesley, national director for patients & information at the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), declared : “History is on our side. We’re on the edge of the greatest industrial revolution mankind has ever seen.” He knows what he’s talking about: the NHS just invested 500 million pounds to develop digital health and fund startup projects.

Digital health


NHS’ head of partnerships Tracey Watson gave the guidelines to deal with NHS in the future. Everything is explained in their official “Five years forward view“. Startups, take note!

  • Be clear about what your value proposition is, with supporting data. Data and evidence is key. A proper outcomes-focused study is very important
  • Understand what your customer’s problem is, not what your technology can do
  • Get someone who understands the NHS on board
  • Understand and respect clinicians – learn from them. Get a clinician onboard: clinicians like speaking peer-to-peer
  • Never apply on your own, because multidisciplinary stakeholder approach allows for fast-shared decision-making in solving the needs of people. Partner up to show you are targeting clinicians and patients.

The road map is there… and I really feel confident that we are reaching the maturity stage for digital health.

The future is friendly!


Lionel Reichardt is the founder of French ehealth site Pharmageek. He’ll also be blogging atLeWeb’14 Paris!

Top photo: Shutterstock – Rawpixel