Our today’s guest is Elin Mignérus. She is the CEO of Swedish MedTech company CathPrint AB and member of the AI, Robotics and Precision Medicine committee of the European Health Parliament, 3rd edition. We are talking about modern healthcare and the growth of digital health.
What are the biggest challenges in modern healthcare? I know this is the question you always get, but this is a great starting point for our conversation.
Healthcare is struggling with accessibility, both in terms of patient masses but also geographically. With ageing and growing population, the pressure on modern healthcare systems is high – at the same time striving to offer the best possible healthcare, not only nationally and in well-developed countries, but to bring healthcare modernization to less developed areas while keeping costs manageable.
New technologies bring huge opportunity to healthcare, but also new challenges. The potential of digital health and remote technologies to help the aforementioned challenges is immense, but requires that we rethink the way we look at healthcare systems, patient flows, and the patient themselves.
As a member of The European Health Parliament what were the areas of digital healthcare which were the most problematic? What’s the biggest issue which European Parliament must force when it comes to digital healthcare?
When we discuss policy on an international level, several challenges come to rise; two of the biggest would definitely be data safety and portability. Considering healthcare is, to a huge extent, a national or regional question, we see barriers in terms of digital maturity, organization of data, etc., that creates challenges and barriers to sharing data across borders.
Furthermore, we must pay attention to the patient. Citizens own their health data, and we need to find ways for them to feel safe in sharing it. Statistics indicate that only one-fifth of EU citizens were willing to share health data for research purposes in 2018, which is a major problem for the development of data-based solutions that must reach great amounts of diversified information.
Telemedicine and virtual care are becoming major topics for insurance companies across Europe. From my observations, companies stopped carrying about cost-saving innovations. The started to take care of patients and the quality of healthcare they are providing. Healthcare is becoming more patient-centred than ever before. Can you agree with me, Elin?
I agree with the fact that the patients are much more involved in their own healthcare journey, having more options and generally more access to information. That said, it’s not necessarily the case that the entire system is more patient-centred, as there are still barriers in collaboration between care systems, handling of medical records, etc. We have still to see the structures of healthcare adapt to a fully patient-centred healthcare journey.
I would say that a lot of developments in telemedicine stem from patient needs – reducing waiting time, having to go to the care facility, etc. which traditional healthcare systems simply haven’t been able to offer at the same pace. Naturally, this brings a new perspective on how the patient is viewed, as the quality of the healthcare service will influence the choice of provider.
What innovations will take the biggest impact on healthcare?
I believe we have only seen the start of digital health, and that it is getting more advanced as we speak. AI is an area that I think all industries are getting deeper into, and something I believe will have a huge impact on healthcare as well.
Looking beyond the technological point of view, not only will AI affect patient and healthcare workflows, the role of HCPs, development of drugs, etc., but it will also require an ethical debate, policies and regulations, and collaborations that I believe we have not seen to that extent before. We see general examples on it now, ranging from the EU high-level group on AI to private companies’ Partnership on AI.
The world is changing faster than we can predict, but what areas of digital health will be on the top in 5 years time? If you can predict, what it will be?
Today, we see continuous development in sensor technologies, not only from the healthcare and MedTech side but just as much from consumer tech. I believe there will be a larger extent of integration between what we today use as consumer goods, to transfer of vital signals and measurements to the healthcare provider, moving from treatment to prevention and health management. Furthermore, I believe we will see an even larger adoption of telemedicine and remote monitoring than we have today, also in terms of HCP-patient interactions.
Patients are getting ever-more engaged and informed, and I think companies and healthcare providers must find new, innovative ways of meeting the modern patient.
What are the best places to get information about digital health and TechMed innovations?
I am all over the place when it comes to information gathering; I observe digital health news via alerts, but even more, I use social media to keep up. Twitter and LinkedIn are channels that I frequently use for updates and news, both through the network, you already have, but also by following frequent publishers and hashtags. To keep up with the local scene there are events on a regular basis that engage the right stakeholders.
Depending on the interest, I would also say keeping up with international events linked to that topic, whether it would be start-ups or EHR, telemedicine, etc. is a good way of getting insights into the latest news.