The global hunger for health-tech may just save us all

Health-Tech – the world’s second fastest growing innovation sector, with an almost unprecedented growth trajectory – is a far more interesting sector than it initially sounds.

It’s interesting because the health care sector is desperate for disruption and innovation all the way along the value chain from improving patient delivery of care, right through to back office innovations that improve interoperability of an array of legacy enterprise systems with a widening array of nimble, purpose built databases, applications, platforms and devices.

From a tech innovation perspective, innovating within the health care sector has its own unique and often endemic challenges around data protection, system interoperability, a seemingly endless array of stakeholders with complex and sometimes counterintuitive needs, and an at times frustratingly snail-like pace of change on the path to modernization.

Yet despite the abovementioned challenges, the growth in health tech start-ups globally is simply astounding. Possibly, this is being driven by three key factors;

1. Consumers (patients) have come to expect technology innovations in every area of their lives, so they are forcing &/or challenging their carers to make their lives easier.

2. Health care administrators are under increasing pressure to streamline and become more efficient – much like everywhere else – because the bottom-line ultimately rules.

3. And finally, there seems to be a genuinely understood hunger by the people within health care to work with health tech start-ups simply because it’s a cohort of passionate entrepreneurs hoping to solve their day-to-day problems.

That why it’s not surprising that events like The Global Hack attract literally thousands of designers, programmers, data nerds, scientists and health care workers, all vying to create the new-new thing to disrupt their sector and improve the quality of health care.

Case in point, the recent #HACKTHEVIRUS event that was pulled together by Garage48 and Accelerate Estonia with the stated goal of the event being to rapidly uncover innovative solutions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic with the power of community. The event attracted 1,000+ hackers and resulted in 5 winners who won $5k for execution of their moon-shot idea.

This, in turn, led to the upcoming “The Global Hack“ online hackathon running from 09-12 April and which is expected to attract over 1 million participants from across the world. The event is being led in partnership between Accelerate Estonia, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Information Technology, Garage48, with additional financial support from the European Commission.

At a time where fully half the planets population is in lockdown, what better cause can there be than to team up online and combine forces to tackle the world’s most serious issue?