‘I Never Thought Health 2.0 Was Going to Change the World in Three Years’ – Interview with Three Key Health 2.0 Organizers


Matthew Holt:

Matthew has been working in health care & IT for more than 20 years. He is the Co-chairman of Health 2.0.

MedCrunch: Please tell us bit about yourself and the history of Health 2.0 and how you built up the company?

Matthew: My Interest in Health began in the early 90s when I found myself doing a study on healthcare in Japan. That led to getting involved in Japanese versus American comparative health care; which, finally led to me getting a job in health care policy at a place called Institute for the Future. They had a huge technology-forecasting component but no one was doing health information technology, so I put the two together.

Around that time the Internet got going; there was a sort of E-health stock boom in the late Nineties, so I was involved in looking at that. Some years later I began a blog called The Health Care Blog and as part of that I was spending a lot of time looking at the re-emergence of ‘Web 2.0’, which was the re-emergence of information technology on the web. At the same time I met Indu Subaiya, who is my co-founder and my co-chairman. We thought about creating a conference that brought all great healthcare minds together. And that is how Health 2.0 started.

MedCrunch: Can you give us a bigger picture on the essence of Health 2.0 and what exactly it tries to tackle in the healthcare world?

Matthew: Healthcare has the same problems it’s always had: getting data to the decision maker – whether that is patient or the doctor – and getting the right treatment plans in place for the patient. These are the same problems across the world.

However over the past twenty years, with the advent of new technology, there have been big advances and changes in the way that healthcare is both consumed and delivered.

I never thought Health 2.0 was going to change the world in three years. I believe that this type of technology is a big deal, but it is going to take time. We are now in the middle of that time – it’s starting now.

Pascal Lardier:

International Director of Health 2.0

MedCrunch: Can you tell us about Health 2.0’s expansion and international activity? And elaborate on the activity and conferences in Europe specifically? What makes Europe different to other markets? How does it stand out? What are the challenges Health 2.0 faces with regards to Europe?

Pascal: We like to say that Health 2.0 is a movement, rather than a company. And it has proven to be a global one. In just a few years, we have launched Health 2.0 India, Health 2.0 Middle East, Health 2.0 Latin America and started working on Health 2.0 South East Asia and Health 2.0 Russia CIS. We also have over 70 city chapters around the world, organizing regular networking events and promoting the movement at the local level. Health 2.0 Europe is now in its 4th year and will be taking place in London on November 17-19. The support from the NHS, the entrepreneurial spirit of the city and the proximity to the investors’ community: it made sense to us to have the conference in London. The event will feature approximately 80 speakers over 2 and 1/2 days, 50 products demos, and gather over 500 attendees including health entrepreneurs, investors, health professionals, patients, pharma companies and insurers.

Europe is an interesting market for us. 28 states in the European Union only, nearly as many languages spoken, health systems that have more differences than they have similarities, procurement rules that vary greatly from one state to the next… when it comes to marketing health technologies, we’re not exactly the united states of Europe. But health entrepreneurs and SMEs usually develop their apps and platforms in English, as well as their own languages, and tend to consider Europe a single market. It is our job at Health 2.0 to facilitate the networking and make sure they meet the right people within the region but also outside of Europe – buyers, investors, integration partners, etc.

One thing that really promotes and accelerates the Health 2.0 movement is the involvement of regional and national health authorities, opening up their data and their institutions to a fresh generation of innovators. Again, some states have taken more steps than others in that direction that others, but the signs are encouraging.

We’re seeing this in the UK, where Tim Kelsey and his team have plans to open the NHS and encourage the involvement of health entrepreneurs from around the world. When he said “I want to see patient outcomes improve and I want a more effective, high-value health service − it’s all of you who will make this a reality.” he was addressing entrepreneurs and SMEs. If the largest health care provider in the world can do it, no doubt it will set a great example.

The European Commission is also getting very interested in the activities of the Health 2.0 community and we will take the opportunity of the conference to launch an EU funded project call GET, providing support for European health entrepreneurs and SMEs throughout the phases of their development.

Eugene Borukhovich:

MedCrunch: Eugene, as we understand you are leading Health 2.0 non-conference products across the EU – Most people would associate Health 2.0 with conferences – what else do you do? Can you tell us about the Matchpoint event?

Eugene: Health 2.0 has been an engine of pushing digital health barriers since 2007 and has now expanded from US across the globe. Being in the epicenter of the healthcare technology revolution for so many years, Health 2.0 has amassed a tremendous amount of knowledge around the rising stars that are transforming healthcare. For the large organizations and governments keeping up with the current pace of change is very difficult especially when the status quo is embedded into the organization. Health 2.0 has a number of products that leverage the knowledge and the global reach to help enterprises and governments.

Some of the readers may already know about the Developer Challenges that Health 2.0 manages on behalf of corporate and government partners. The team has ran over 50 challenges (20+ for the ONC) since the product inception and in total has given away over $5.2M in prizes.

A Developer Challenge platform has been founded in mid-2010, and it’s a series of virtual and physical events in which developers and organizations sponsoring prizes can work together to develop (and enhance) applications. In addition, numerous public and private entities are contributing data sets and other information sources.

Health 2.0 Matchpoint is a series of one-day events where health industry leaders and investors (“hosts”) meet innovative companies in structured 15-20 minute meetings. This solves many corporate issues of keeping up with the pace of innovation. These one-day events give the innovators an opportunity to demo their technology and discuss business possibilities with potential partners and investors. Innovative companies are pre-selected by an expert committee based on our hosts’ areas of interest and very much curated to meet specific needs.. On Demand is a new version of Matchpoint combining detailed segmented market research with the potential for introductory meetings. and all online!

This matchmaking process is enabled by an extensive internal proprietary listings from Health 2.0 source database which tracks approximately 3,000 (and growing) Health 2.0 technology companies around the globe. More to come on that soon!

MedCrunch: Being involved in Healthcare 2.0 and extremely active in the industry as a whole can you tell me about trends you are seeing evolve, emerge and also re-emerge in healthcare?

Eugene: If I rewind back just a few years, there was a big trend in consumer tools to manage their health, communicate with like-minded people but the advertising-based model wasn’t working for the young companies. This resulted in major shift towards the B2B market focusing on efficiencies. While making our healthcare system more efficient is still a priority, a major trend we are now seeing is the empowerment of the consumers: they woken up and share decision-making, patient-provider communications and manage their own health.

MedCrunch: Being connected to physicians/entrepreneurs have you seen a shift in behavior in medical culture? Or in approaches to digital health and healthcare?

Eugene: The short answer is definitely yes – it is happening. I went to see my GP here in Amsterdam and when he was about to measure my heart rate the old fashion way I showed him MyBasis watch – he took the reading of the watch and wrote it down. The same happened with my weight – Withings app came in handy. This GP is in his 60s and loved it! While not all the physicians behave in that manner, the world of digital health and the same consumerism adoption is forcing change upon “the system”. The younger generation medical students are constantly pushing the envelope within the global healthcare system. Too many examples to list here.

MedCrunch: Do you have specific asks or wishes of physicians – how can they contribute to move healthcare in the right direction?

Eugene: Communication is key with us, the healthcare consumers. We are getting smarter and the tools are helping. We don’t know all the answers so adopting the same tools and communicating with us will go a long way (not to mention save time in the office so the doc can see more patients per day)

As we amidst a very slow revolution in Healthcare it might not always feel like it is happening. But certainly in the sheer size of new starts up we can see it is happening. How do you evaluate the activity? Who is buying, who is funding? What’s hot and what’s not? What are the most common errors?

MedCrunch: What makes a strong healthcare entrepreneur?

Eugene: It’s a David and Goliath story here but in this one Goliath does not have to lose. Startups are pushing the barriers that have been placed, adopted and adhered to by large corporations and regulatory bodies. The trick here is to be persistent with all the stakeholders and there are many in the healthcare system for any particular new product but persistent while changing the game.

MedCrunch: Can you give some predictions on how healthcare will evolve in the near future? What excites you most?

Eugene: I have actually blogged about this right here on MedCrunch – as Maneesh Juneja points out every time – our bodies produce data points all the time, we just have not captured most of them and certainly have not produced actionable steps for consumers of digital health tools due to regulatory hurdles and approvals for medical advice but… I do believe that first and even some second level support for my health (note I said health not healthcare) will be via some of the young companies that are building these analytics today. I have been using quantified self-tools for a number of years now and it is finally getting “mainstream”. Platforms that can consolidate all this data and make sense of it are on my radar. (for full disclosure, I am an advisor to Synappz which is in this space)

Previous articleGaming for Patient Treatment – What’s Fun Got to Do With It?
Next articleHow Can Technology Help Society Care for Older People?
Based in Vienna, Anna graduated from Leeds University in 2004 in Politics and French Literature. She then founded a magazine featuring young artists, designers and photographers working in Austria and Eastern Europe. In 2005, Anna moved to London where she spent six years at Google working across several departments, most recently in Sales. In the past year, Anna worked as an interim executive at TV1, an independent news station in Bosnia. She is passionate about investigative, in-depth journalism that exposes problems, illuminates issues and provides practical or philosophical solutions to readers. Anna is a lover of science and is always seeking to learn more about our universe. She also loves cooking and traveling.