How can the digital evolution be best adapted to serve patient needs? This was the question that brought 120 healthcare innovators, experts and tech enthusiasts together on April 23, 2020 for the DayOne online event “Tech for patients” to kick off the DayOne Health Hack.

The DayOne Health Hack is more than a hackathon. It is an innovation journey. Conceived as a neutral platform, it is aimed at engaging the healthcare ecosystem to co-create patient-driven healthcare solutions. Starting with real-world patient needs, a consortium of industry stakeholders is committed to helping patients curate their challenges, which will then be brought to the health hackathon taking place on November 7 and 8. This unique DayOne Health Hack journey, co-designed by Innovation-horizon.ch, is strongly supported by Roche, Experientia, Novartis, Microsoft, Takeda, Helsana and Google and made possible through close collaboration with the University Hospital of Basel, the Health Hacking Lab and Eupati CH, as well as CSEM and Swiss Made Software.

In his opening interview at the kick-off event, Steven Bourke from Eupati CH, made clear why engaging patients in the innovation process from the outset is so crucial: “They are the only real experts when it comes to knowing how it really is to be living with a given health condition, and this knowledge has real value.” Claudio Mirti, Data & AI Solutions Specialist at Microsoft, then showed BigTech’s effort to integrate a portfolio of solutions around the patient’s journey. Michele Visciola, CEO of Experientia, made a strong plea to humanize technology and create solutions that go beyond the purely medical, taking into account contextual factors such as social and behavioural aspects of everyday life with a health condition.

Creating an innovation experience with tangible outcomes

The two panel discussions, featuring the partners of the DayOne Health Hack, underlined that patient centricity can only be achieved through an ecosystem approach. For Fatma Nur Ozali and Stefanie Derzsi, who are driving Patient Centricity at Roche, “collaborating within a consortium of multiple stakeholders is one of the things we are most excited about being part of the DayOne Health Hack.” The afternoon sessions brought different topics to the table, each run by consortium partners, and gave a very promising first impression on how the ecosystem can be enabled for crowdsourcing knowledge, skills, data and platforms to create the DayOne Health Hack innovation experience and deliver tangible results, starting with patient needs.

Below are the lessons I personally learned from the DayOne Health Hack Tech for Patients event:

1) “From features & functions-driven to needs-based?” Inventing great technology is one thing. Getting them to work not only for users, but also for human beings is another. Especially when it comes to improving health conditions, simply implementing cool features and functions will not lead to a sustainable product and service. Overcoming this translational gap between what technology can do and what is really needed will be a key success factor in defining and finding solutions to patient-centric challenges.

2) “What’s in it for me?” This is the leading question when it comes to digital solutions, for they will almost certainly depend on sharing data. When it comes to answering this question, neither healthcare providers nor researchers and developers will have the final say — the patients will. Without delivering a tangible outcome for them, patients will hardly invest any effort in engaging with a digital solution and sharing their data.

3) “Sell less, earn more?” If the application of digital technology actually succeeds in creating value for the patient, the even bigger question that arises is: how will this value be distributed among healthcare stakeholders? Given that most digital solutions are not necessarily aimed at delivering a better treatment (at a higher price), but rather at providing a service that helps save costs or even prevents ill-health in the first place, new business models will be needed that rethink the way the ecosystem works as a whole.

More information on the Health Hack.

Watch the recording of the Tech for Patient Kick-off.