The health-tech debates raising the roof at SLUSH Singapore 2017
Helsinki-born tech and innovation convention makes its second appearance in Singapore, with Holmusk CEO and founder Nawal Roy joining the health-tech panel to discuss pioneering shifts in healthcare
The tech start-up expo SLUSH Singapore kicked off at Marina Bay Sands convention centre on 19th September with jets of smoke, frenetic strobes and a pumped-up bass heralding the welcome address from event organizer Anna Ratala: “Slush is more than just an event, we are a global movement of students, entrepreneurs, and volunteers.” The opening presentation went on to distinguish Singapore as the perfect setting for such an event: the Little Red Dot built by innovation, proving itself to be anything but diminutive in technological and entrepreneurial firepower.
With the event attracting 3,000 attendees, 360 startups and 250 investors; the panel discussions, speaker events and “Q&A boomerangs” covered topics ranging from ‘Reinventing the trillion dollar industry’ to ‘Ethics in UX’. Popular speakers included the former Estonian Prime Minister, Taavi Roivas, Dr Carolyn Ng – Vice President of Vertex Ventures HC, and Manny Fernandez – Co-Founder & CEO of Dreamfunded.
Healthcare was a pervasive theme of the convention, as one of the most hotly followed topics in the tech scene. Holmusk CEO and founder, Nawal Roy, took to the stage together with Snehal Patel, CEO of MyDoc and Sajid Rahman, CEO of Telenor Health for a panel discussion on “The era of personalisation in health-tech”, moderated by Vertex Ventures HC Vice President, Carolyn Ng.
SLUSH Singapore – HealthTech panel
Asked about the biggest disruptions in digital health and the ways in which start-ups can impact this vertical, Nawal underlined the importance of multi-domain collaborations to create a new generation of data – leading to meaningful medical, societal and economic change. He explained that hospitals collect vast swathes of diagnostic data, but they will never have the data analytics skills to forge the powerful tools necessary to bring about procedural, diagnostic and organisational transformation. In three years’ time he hopes to see the “Holmusks and the MyDocs of the world” driving forward personalised care optimisation – based on complex analyses of clinical legacies – whilst at the same time driving down costs; all of this rooted in reciprocal partnerships with clinical institutions, health providers and insurers.
Carolyn noted that a prevalent fear regarding AI and data analytics in healthcare is that doctors’ expert professional opinions may in the future be challenged by automated diagnostics; by software providing recommendations for patients based on patterns of data collected. Snehal Patel of MyDoc, a medical doctor by training, responded that this is where we need to have very different conversations with providers in comparison to those surrounding other verticals; “healthcare is monumentally different to other industries that have been disrupted through tech”. In terms of the care/efficiency paradigm, health-tech will bring about new levels of efficiency so that doctors have more time to do what they do best – bedside care. Innovations such as unified EMR systems reduce bureaucracy, allowing doctors to get home to their kids an hour earlier. The role of healthcare technology, with individually customised predictive models replacing traditional risk stratification models, is actually to personalise care, enabling a much higher level of bespoke intervention, rather than the impersonal brave new world envisioned by some.
Billed as the “collision of a festival and a conference”, SLUSH certainly lived up to its name in providing high-octane, stimulating insights from regional and international influencers and players in the tech start-up community. The recurring theme of the talks and Q&As was the radically shifting, almost intractable nature of digital advancements – in domains ranging from cryptocurrencies to virtual reality worlds. With healthcare overdue to join the fintech and defence sectors in the digitisation revolution, there was a palpable sense that this domain is gaining tremendous momentum. “It’s a rare privilege to do what we do,” commented Nawal on the data analytics work at Holmusk. “We have the potential to build something really impactful here… the challenge is huge.” The unmistakable vibe from the vivid kaleidoscope of start-ups across the 2-day event? Challenge accepted.
Alexandra Frize-Williams 21st September 2017
CEO and Founder at Holmusk
Wednesday, 19 September 2017
From 12:10 to 12:45 (SGT)
Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Singapore
Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre
Level B2, Halls D & E
1 Bayfront Ave,