Yesterday was Day 3, the final day of Health 2.0 Silicon Valley. Another day packed with demos, networking and cutting edge insights.
The highlights of Day 3 for me were seeing the winner of the XPRIZE Nokia Sensing Challenge announced, the session on Clinical Trials and Research, Health 2.0 International session and the session on the Frontier of Health 2.0.
The winner, Nanobiosym Health RADAR was also announced at the conference by Mark Winter. It must have been a difficult choice. The video below includes the announcement as well as hearing Anita Goel from the winning team speak about their journey.
Peter Diamandis, CEO of XPRIZE came on stage, and he believes that in the future, patients will be saying, "Don't let that human touch me, he makes mistakes". The rise of machines, I guess.
The session on Tools and Platforms for Clinical Trials and Research was very good. Bill Silberg moderated the session, which included Harris Lygidakis, Roni Zeiger, Anna McColister-Slipp and Joseph Dustin. Demos from the panel members highlighting how their tools could impact clinical trials. Very timely, as yesterday's Wall Street Journal had a headline on how Merck is cutting 20% of it's workforce in the next 2 years. Having worked within GSK R&D until 2012, I've always believed that there are immense opportunities for startups to help pharma deliver the medicines that patients are waiting for. However, many people in pharmaceutical companies are terrified of even using the word 'Disruptive' in the same sentence as 'Innovation'.
James Mathews, Chairman of Health 2.0 India posed the question - how do we bring Health 2.0 to Southern Sudan or to Syrian refugees? I'm glad he was challenging us to think of those around the world who are underserved. I remember a phrase he repeated multiple times, "Use simple tools to do great things".
Life isn't perfect, and neither are Health 2.0 conferences. Nearly all conferences I go to are packed with sessions, workshops, demos and exhibit halls. It's a challenge to try and fit everything in each day, as well as the all important networking with potential clients and collaborators. It's a personal choice, but if one wants to spend time meeting people at the conference, it can sometimes mean having to skip a session or two. Alternatively, some folks do their networking late into the night over a few beers or glasses of wine. Difficult choices, especially if one is jet lagged. Small things like having the Twitter handles of each speaker listed in the printed program would have made my life a lot easier. The wifi was hit and miss for me, I had problems connecting every day. It wasn't the fault of Health 2.0, I believe there were some attendees grabbing all the bandwidth. Whilst the venue had great facilities, the actual location was sort of like a big business park. Nothing to do or see if you wanted to stretch your legs and have a wander around. By and large, the conference was one of the better managed events I attend. A big thanks to all of the volunteers who were stationed around the convention centre all day and helping us get to the right room at the right time.
This must have been one of the healthiest conferences I attended. According to my Misfits Shine activity tracker, I walked 2.8 miles during Day 3 of the conference. The layout of the hotel and convention centre meant a lot of walking! Coming from a walking city like London, it didn't bother me, but I could see that amount of walking bothered some American attendees.
Why have I attended Health 2.0 conferences in the USA, Dubai, Berlin and Delhi? Why did I start the Health 2.0 Chapter in London? There is something unique in the vibe, that Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya bring to each conference. Especially as they are far more down to earth and friendly than a lot of conference organisers I've met. That translates into an enjoyable experience for attendees! At other Health tech events, I've found sometimes, other attendees won't speak with you unless you are from a well known corporation or Venture Capital firm.
I personally prefer the Health 2.0 Europe conference to the one in California. Why? Smaller group and I like smaller groups. As conferences become more popular they grow, it's inevitable. I prefer the 'intimacy' of conversations in a smaller group. When I run my Chapter meetings in London, I limit each event to 40 attendees, which means we aren't overwhelmed by having to meet 150 people during an evening. For me, it's about bringing diverse groups of people together and building a community that makes amazing stuff happen.
Health 2.0 Europe was in Berlin last year, but this year, it's in my city, London. I'm grateful to have been given the chance to run a pre-conference workshop on Nov 17th on 'Health 2.0 Tools for the Elderly'. The increase in the aging population, and the burden on society as a result is one of the biggest crises in Global Health, the world faces in the next 50 years, and I sincerely believe we need to act NOW! If you are interested in demoing at my workshop and/or want to discounted entry into the entire conference, please get in touch. I'll do my best to help you.
[Disclosure: I have no commercial ties with any of the companies mentioned above, apart from Health 2.0, which from time to time uses me as a consultant]