2019 ANDHealth Digital Health Summit.

BLOG: Six key reflections from the summit.

Pete  •  Tuesday March 5, 2019
Digital  •  Health & Ageing

The 2019 ANDHealth Digital Health Summit brought together some of Australia’s leading minds in digital health. Rather than repeating the same stories and insights, the Summit invited challenging views, failures, and analysis of an ecosystem that is demanding progress.

Between a mix of keynotes and panels, the topics at the 2019 ANDHealth Summit ranged from consumer health data to big pharma innovation, differences between markets and the requirements of customer research, through to the nuts and bolts of business modelling and fundraising. By the end of the day, guests walked away with the following insights:

  1. Value based care cannot happen without a health literate society.

    Across the sector, a lot of discussion revolves around the change to value based care, particularly about the challenges service providers will face. One comment from a senior professional struck a major chord: that value-based care will not exist in Australia in his professional life. That is a damning review of our health system and one that would have ramifications for service providers. A new perspective was offered from another member who simply stated that value-based care fails when people are not health literate (a view that is growing in discussion). If our population is not health literate, their outcomes will create false positives and negatives. In the move to consumer driven care (value or otherwise) the literacy of the population will drive change, and force it at a service, policy and regulatory level.

    Increasing health literacy of the entire population is mandatory as part of any wholesale change to the healthcare ecosystem.

  2. Big pharma has the means, opportunity and incentives to transform their business models.

    Pfizer, Astrazeneca and ANDHealth member Novartis all outlined the work they are doing in innovation. From partnering and trialing with start ups, to focusing on patient-centered design of medication provision and management, the traditional business models are undergoing transformative change. The conversation touched on shared value, an approach that forces these multi-billion-dollar behemoths to develop and maintain consumer trust, despite a historically poor record. The shared value lens will provide an interesting debate between profit margin and volume in the quest to find the commercial sweet spot. But as one of the most pivotal players in the entire ecosystem, the burning platform for change is getting hotter.

    There is a huge opportunity to align shared value metrics and principles to big pharma business modelling and increase both positive impact and profitability.

  3. Digital health is just health. The sector needs to understand that there is no longer mutual exclusivity.

    This premise certainly saw multiple viewpoints and some debate, but the health sector evolution was likened to marketing from fifteen years ago: what was once a last minute or afterthought (if at all), is now the starting point. As ‘digital’ is such an all-encompassing term within the health sector, it’s easy to get caught up on a preconceived notion of what it is. For example, ‘digital health’ as a wellness app is vastly different to randomized clinical studies into health disorders. But scale of delivery, knowledge sharing and personalisation can be delivered through digital devices. It is fraught with risk and nowhere near perfect, but the entire ecosystem can progress in leaps and bounds when the conversations are assimilated.

    Internal communications and change management can help bridge the mental divide between the two sides of the table. Getting this right can unlock immense value in any healthcare setting.

  4. A good story resonates, regardless of the setting.

    ANDHealth did an amazing job by bringing a digital health powerhouse from the US. The opening keynote was delivered by Lisa Suennen (Digital Technology Group & Lead Manatt Ventures) titled, ‘The Princess Bride Guide to Entrepreneurship In Digital Health’. Lisa’s talk was thoroughly entertaining both for her overt love of the movie, as well as her amazing ability to tie the entrepreneurial journey to key moments of the movie. It was different to talks of this nature, and was refreshing, funny and informative.

    It is clear how important communication and presentation is. A well written, authentic talk can elevate a speaker to another level.

  5. No matter what, the customer comes first.

    Across the board, there was frequent surprise (and sometimes disappointment) at the lack of robust customer research. Covering everything from voice of the customer, to market analysis, levers and drivers and propensity to pay, conducting proper customer research can make, break or validate a business model. Assumptions kill businesses and products, particularly in their earlier stages. Throwing money at a wall to see what sticks is not the way to make progress.

    The more customer research, the better. Doing this with a third, objective party leads to more meaningful insights.

  6. Outside of the echo chamber, health is failing to be part of the shared value conversation

    By coincidence, prior to the Summit was an Australian outlook presentation that discussed the shared value implications and trends in industry, urban, energy, land and culture. What was surprising (perhaps due to design or oversight) was the absence of health in the conversation. The impact of an aging population was discussed, but the impact of an aging unwell population was not. Productivity, urban development, resourcing and land usage are all impacted by the health of a population.

    Health leaders need a seat at the shared value table. The burden on society of physically and mentally unwell people will add up and the sector cannot be reactive. In this area, complacency can very much kill.


ANDHealth is a growing force in the Australian digital health ecosystem. They’ve very quickly established clear value and network of experts who are driving change.