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Digital reality at Digital Health Days

As the Digital Health Days had its first of a two-day event, it was clear that the digital healthcare revolution is not a future happening but already a fact.

Representatives from the life science industry, the healthcare sector as well as the academia gathered at the Stockholm fair just outside of the capital to engage in the first day of the Digital Health Days conference. It was all blue skies and a mild August breeze when the event was officially inaugurated, and even graced with a royal dazzle with the presence of H.R.H. Prince Daniel as one of the guests.

The conference opened with initial speeches by Sten Nordin, Mayor of Stockholm and Chairman of Digital Health Days’ Honorary Committee, Gunnar Oom, State Secretary of Minister of Trade, Sweden and Mauro Dell’Ambrogio, State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, Switzerland. The speakers brought up the importance of building bridges between the two countries, Sweden and Switzerland, and how the two nations should continue to keep top positions in innovation and cooperating. Together, two relatively small countries can achieve a lot.

Following up to talk about health challenges and the new health ecosystem was CEO of Burrill & Company Steven Burrill. Read more about Burrill’s presentation here.

From the Stockholm County Council came Director of Innovation Catharina Barkman, who presented how the county of Stockholm is working with online health services for patients, for example providing KBT via internet.

Another issue on the agenda was the possibilities of the new health enablers: big data analytics, mobile health solutions, gamification and games for health. Among the speakers was Magnus Boman, Expert researcher at Swedish ICT SICS, who gave a brief lecture on the meaning of big data. In a means to try to summarize the notion of big data analytics, Boman said it is a way to try to understand the vast data and making a sense of it. Also, he highlighted that big data is not about population (macro) but about individuals (micro). Thanks to big data, we can shift focus from various facts on large populations and focus on individuals.

John Crawford from IBM Healthcare & Life Sciences presented its new technology of ushering in a new era of computing, the new cognitive computing system IBM Watson.

Mouna Esmaeilzadeh, CEO and Founder of SciLife Clinic, presented the work at the clinic, which she described as a powerhouse with the aim of closing the gap between science and healthcare. Also, she emphasized the fact that the tools for preventing common and serious diseases such as cancer and cardio-vascular diseases are already here today. And if we don’t use these to a greater extent in healthcare, to prevent patients from dying from these diseases, it’s a disaster. According to Esmaeilzadeh, there has to be a paradigm shift where all of the new innovations are actually put in to use and helping patients to stay healthy.

Another point on the program was the possibilities of games and gamification within healthcare. Ola Jansson, STARK Corporate Communication, spoke various mobile applications and games and their ability to help motivate us in achieving changes. Especially motivation is one of the keys, as is meaning, he said. How people can get motivated to live healthier lives, getting rewarded and reinforced by small steps. Games are not the entire answer Jansson said but “these methods can be one to solution to bring health solutions in some areas.”

Read more about the Digital Health Days conference in our upcoming issue of Nordic Life Science Review.