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2020 was a dynamic year for healthcare, with COVID-19 being the main disruptor. The pandemic led to acceleration of the digital transformation of healthcare. Companies in the health technology sector needed to be extremely flexible and adapt fast - some were literally killed by the crisis, while others literally killed it.

With the new normal it is crucial that stakeholders in the healthcare industry understand, adapt, and react accordingly to the dynamic digital health landscape. Patients and consumers are becoming more aware of the technology and its benefits, using it at an increasing rate. On the other hand, the companies in the sector are providing solutions to respond to what the consumers need, focusing on intelligent, remote approaches, access to quality healthcare, better treatment options, reducing costs, improving patient outcomes, and value-based healthcare.

Remote Healthcare

Working with start-ups and investors in the health technology sector, we could not help but notice some trends. It is not a surprise that the telehealth sector is blooming – many start-ups are shifting their models to respond to the remote healthcare demand. Innovations in digital therapeutics, remote monitoring, and patient engagement, together with other tech tools, can help the shift to value-based care, providing more targeted and effective interventions to patients worldwide, and boosting digital transformation. Read more about the winners from the Tech Tour Health chapter below:

Kaia Health (Germany) is a leading digital therapy company that creates evidence-based treatments for a range of disorders including back pain, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The company works with experts in each medical field to transform existing, gold-standard therapies into mobile therapy apps that empower individuals to take control and self-manage their condition with effective, non-pharmacological, digital alternatives at low costs.

Well-being & health data

Well-being and mental health innovations are also at its peak. The number of start-ups, active in the field, is increasing with fast pace, and more investors are expressing genuine interest in such technologies. Some would even compare the importance and amount invested in well-being to another key trend – health data, which is still one of the hottest topics in the sector. The proper use of health data can help patients and physicians make more informed decisions, and it is also related to analytics, predictive healthcare, and prevention. The security and privacy issues that go hand by hand with it, are still a huge concern, and can be an obstacle for the businesses, as awareness is increasing even more.

Antidote (US & UK) - Antidote is a digital health company on a mission to accelerate medical research. In a world where eighty percent of clinical trials are delayed or closed due to lack of participants, Antidote uses precision recruitment to match the right patients with the right trials.

Popit (Finland) has developed a platform to improve adherence and patient engagement. Their solution comprises a unique, patented device that automatically detects and tracks pill consumption, a medically certified app and a cloud for real-time data. The company`s vision is to digitize medication and leverage the data to provide building blocks for the internet of pills.

Promptly Health encourages patient empowerment in Healthcare. Patients use Promptly to truly cope with their diseases, to understand and anticipate how they will feel after each treatment, medication or surgery, and to be part of a community of patients that relate to their symptoms and share their fears, expectations and health outcomes. Health Providers, such as hospitals and insurances, use Promptly to improve the care they deliver to patients, by following-up their outcomes after each treatment.

Artificial intelligence

Another big trend is artificial intelligence, which is applied everywhere in the healthcare technology sector. Even though AI has a reputation of a buzzword, its importance is indisputable. In this regard, the wearables and smart IOT devices are becoming more popular, and consumers are interested in tailored and personalized solutions. Increased use of robotics and VR is noticed in the medical field. Many new start-ups are emerging in the field of and clinical trials, and some of the health tech investors have added immunology to their investment focus.

PatchAI (Italy) has developed an empathetic conversational agent that collects Patient Reported Outcomes and integrates data-points from various devices to gain insights on the health status of the patients.

Methinks AI (Spain) - An artificial intelligence medical imaging software capable to triage stroke and unlock stroke treatments potential from non-contrast CTs.

Medical Devices

The Medical Device industry continues to expand. The innovative MedTech companies are combining some of the above-mentioned technologies – AI, Robotics, VR, Wearable technologies, Internet of Medical Things, etc. With its complexity, the medical device companies are still receiving big rounds of financing, and at the same time face many challenges, related to high costs, time, regulations and quality. Many of those start-ups, especially the ones from our community, are focusing on diagnostics, treatment and monitoring of diseases in medical fields like Oncology, Dialysis, Neurology, Cardiology, Ophthalmology, Implants etc.

Alesi Surgical (UK) develops and commercialises products that improve the safety, efficiency, and outcomes of advanced surgical procedures. The company has the vision of becoming a world leader in surgical devices.

Ladimo’s (Finland) novel and groundbreaking technology provides the most accurate 3D vision in the world. They combine structured light technology (Patents allready approved in Japan and Finland) with mathematical modeling, using algorithms developed in-house.

iStar Medical (Belgium) is aiming to improve the lives of patients suffering from eye diseases, by developing innovative ophthalmic implants, made from proprietary STAR® material. The company is focused on patients with glaucoma, which is the second leading cause of adult blindness globally.

Distalmotion (Switzerland) is an international company founded and based in Lausanne, Switzerland that serves as a trusted partner to hospitals and clinics worldwide, providing reliable and precise robotic surgery systems – designed, developed, and manufactured in Switzerland – at transparent and fair per-procedure cost.