How could apps change the healthcare game?
Many of us agree that digital innovation can help address key healthcare challenges and improve the health and well-being of populations. It is already changing the way health systems are run, and health care is delivered today. The digital health industry has come a very long way and is on the cusp of creating massive changes for diagnosis, patient care, managing our own health, and even drug development. We spoke to Alex Gilbert at Medopad to find out more about how he sees apps impacting the future of healthcare.
If digital health reaches scale
Digital health can change healthcare if it reaches scale. There are many, many players doing different things, but efforts in Digital health are still largely fragmented. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of health apps alone being added to the app and play stores each day. Thousands of start-ups in the digital health space offer a wide variety of applications, most of the time targeted at a specific use cases or diseases. Relatively few of these are being regulated or prescribed by healthcare providers. The key is to enable patients to access and use solutions that help them manage the entirety of their health in the simplest way possible. Similarly for hospitals or manufacturers, simplicity is key.
Apple is going after the patient
Seeing much room for improvement in healthcare, Apple is going after the patient and consumer, moving far beyond wellness apps and devices. In an interview with CNBC, Tim Cook says that improving people’s health will be ‘Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind.’ One specific healthcare start-up has gained the attention of both Apple and Chinese tech giant Tencent. Medopad, the London-based startup with whom both businesses have partnered, aims to reach 1 billion lives through using their technology, in the words of founder Dan Vahdat. Medopad believes they can play a big role in simplifying the healthcare of the future through technology.
Before it’s too late
Medopad is all about utilising tailored solutions to help patients manage their care, whilst connecting them to the healthcare ecosystem. Their platform can give doctors the ability to monitor patients outside of the hospital, whilst also providing information to improve the future of life sciences research. “We want to empower and engage patients to take control of their care, whilst affecting the way in which diseases are treated, managed or diagnosed” said Alex Gilbert at Medopad. “Our belief is that patients don’t die due to their disease, they die due to complications caused by their disease. If we can help identify these complications sooner, we could change the way in which patients are cared for.” A good example of this approach is Medopad’s work within Parkinson’s, where they have partnered with Tencent to digitise the UPDRS score assigned to track deterioration. The solution is currently within a UK Clinical Trial, and is hoping to help Parkinson’s patients assess their disease progression using videos taken on their phone.
Holistic health tool
While most of healthtech is focused on a specific therapy area or general wellness – Medopad is providing patient monitoring across multiple disease states and geographies. Medopad developed a holistic digital health tool comprised of a patient facing app and a client facing dashboard. “The interesting thing about our technology is that it is modular, by utilizing different features we can tailor it to the individual needs of different patient cohorts. We can apply it to over 20 different disease states across multiple industry verticals using a combination of advanced connectivity, data analysis and user experience design. This is where the true value is – providing a holistic platform that can become specific – because although health is universal, it is also personal”
Not just disease
The way the platform is built is to help patients manage their health in general, through following a tailored care pathway – not just to track their condition. “A patient is more than just their disease. We’re hoping to provide a solution that unites all the different elements involved in healthcare to simplify management and access for the user. There is a lot of value in simplifying things for your customer – and health is incredibly complex. We have the opportunity to remove some of this complexity by applying our technologies.”
Medopad is massively ramping up its size and the number of people they are hiring. Its solution has scaled to multiple deployments in various countries, predominantly in the UK, US, and China. They also collaborate with top 10 pharma, biotech and medtech companies and have a big opportunity to be highly competitive in the space.
Digital health requires collaboration
One of their key success factors lies in their ability to build world-class partnerships. “Advancing digital health requires collaboration. We decided to invest in partnerships as we believe the only way to solve the biggest issues facing healthcare is through working together” Academics and technology companies across the globe collaborate with them to help cover many conditions and patients, across a variety of different healthcare ecosystems. “Our foremost goal is positively impacting the lives of people suffering with disease. Through partnering with Hospitals, Pharma, Tech and other Digital Health startups, we have realised our best chance to do this is by creating joint projects where we each contribute using our strengths.”
Medopad also partners with different health organizations to integrate into their solutions, to be able to achieve a holistic health platform. “As a user, you don’t want to use 5 or 6 apps for anything – you want one centralized solution. Imagine if you had to use 4 different apps to take a photo or order a cab. I hope that we will be able to achieve enough scale to begin integrating more of the best technologies within Digital Health to form a centralised platform – because the greatest value for the patient is in using one centralised solution.”
“The only way for us to reach our vision is by maximising input from the best and brightest within the industry. Whether it’s Tencent, The Royal Free, Pharma or a small US startup, our overarching mission is to work together to affect 1 billion lives.”