And like any new and innovative approach its having its growing pains. Different elements grow at different rates. And as trends in the wider tech domain change so do trends in health tech.
The best place to absorb these changes is to listen to the gossip, pitches and talks at EHI Live, the main industry event. Every year clinicians, innovators, developers and entrepreneurs gather together to explore the latest developments and predict where we’re headed.
I attended this year’s event, and last year’s. Here’s what I’ve observed as going in and out of digital health fashion…
- Digital innovation as a means to making existing processes better – e.g. using digital instead of paper is now a dated idea.
- Sharing data via social media. The assumption that it’s a good idea to share your product’s data via social media is no longer cool.
- Co-creation being focused on user participation alone.
- Hackdays. Although there will always be a place for well-run hack events they are no longer seen as the cheap panacea to all ills that they were billed as.
- Using only ‘need’ and ‘demand’ to guide product development. Out with the naive assumption that this is all that’s needed to guide development.
- Apps being the answer to all problems. Impending medical device regulations and potentially limited lifespan are broadening solution searches and driving more creativity.
- Digital disruption – using tech to disrupt the health provision market and create genuine game change.
- Increased planning for future health trends e.g. aging population, increased long-term health conditions, greater financial austerity and stronger drive for value for money, and the potential for digital innovation to help find solutions to these challenges.
- Increased role of user experience, design, and availability in guiding product development.
- Co-creation input from clinicians being given equal status to that from patients.
- Awareness of financial sustainability and product adoption as essential considerations at the outset of a venture.
- Social media as a means for consulting and communicating with patients.
- Greater awareness of data and privacy issues; as shown by NHS problems around care.data.
- Slow burn and low-key initiatives; using flexibility to be in the right place at the right time for when an idea or product is ready to take off.
- Fail fast. More genuine embracing of this lean principle – if it doesn’t work, move on.
- The potential of wearable tech.
- ‘Serious’ gamification of health apps to reinforce healthy behaviour and as a means to get feedback.
- Inter-operability between new digital products and existing digital and people based systems
- Clinician interest in digital tech’s potential to free up their time
That’s my fashion summary. What’s yours?