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Digital Health Days 2013 – inspirational glimpses of the future

The premier Digital Health Days conference held in Stockholm August 21-22 was two days of inspiring seminars, challenging discussions, live demos of innovative new solutions and hands-on workshops. Over 400 thought leaders and delegates mined the rich field of development in the interfaces between ICT, life science and healthcare.

• More than 400 delegates

• 80 speakers from the US, UK, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden

• 53 accredited journalists

• More than 600 tweets through #dhd13 (spam excluded)

• 68 pre-booked business meetings

How can we develop an ecosystem supporting the transformation of great ideas into successful solutions, an ecosystem fostering collaboration between entrepreneurs and established companies, financial institutions, policy makers and healthcare authorities? This has been one of our main questions when planning Digital Health Days. We wanted to create a meeting place where we can explore this with focus on the possibilities offered by enabling technologies in the fields of mobile health tools, big data analytics and gamification.

Those of us in attendance were privileged to hear new, daring and visionary ideas from thought leaders such as Steven Burrill, Don Jones, Andrew Hessel and John Crawford. Visions of a world where we live almost indefinitely. Where our doctor is a health coach, with computers assisting diagnosis and suggesting tailor-made treatments. Where doctors start prescribing apps – and apps prescribe doctors. Where we will surely move on the path from a dysfunctional care-for-the-sick system to an efficient wellness system.

These might yet be visions of the future, but what’s astounding is that nearly all the technology is already here. The missing link is to get technologies to fit into our lifestyle and society. How can new technologies integrate into contexts where they solve real problems and create real value? This is where the true challenges lie. They will demand lots of experimentation. No one knows who or what will drive development. No one knows if we are at the beginning of a radical paradigm shift or a slow, gradual process. My own best bet is that demands from specific patient groups (with chronic diseases) and individuals who want tools to track their health will drive the development. I think that these are the fields where we will see some disruptive innovation in the coming years.

Ola Ahlvarsson concluded the conference with the words Passion wins. Our passion is strong to develop Digital Health Days into a conference that drives positive change. We hope to see you there next year. In the meanwhile, get involved in the digital health movement in Stockholm by joining the Health 2.0 Stockholm meetup group; unite with the growing crowd of lifeloggers in Quantified Self Stockholm. Keep an eye on www.digitalhealthdays.se where we will publish filmed material from the conference during the fall; and follow @digihealthsthlm on twitter.

Digital Health Days is an annual conference organized by Stockholm Science City Foundation, Kista Science City, Stockholmsmässan, Stockholm Business Region Development and the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce