Frontiers Health 2020: What lies ahead for the digital health industry?

November 19, 2020 Peter Myler

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Frontiers Health 2020: What lies ahead for the digital health industry?

Just like that, Frontiers Health 2020 is over.

But despite a significant part of this year’s event taking place virtually, gathering together the industry’s best and brightest in – technically – one place meant the conference was as productive as ever. 

Beyond the classical music intermezzos, dance displays, and networking hours, what really stood out in all the sessions we witnessed was the importance of partnership. 

Whatever part of the healthcare industry you look at, it’s clear that strong collaboration is going to be key to all stages of digital solution development moving forwards.


The future of digital health partnerships

Dr. Gottfried Ludewig, the Director General of Digitalization and Innovation at the German Federal Ministry of Health, spoke early in the conference and made it clear that, to really succeed, we should be pushing to create a health industry where ‘home-grown‘ European industries can flourish. Doing so will require partnerships at a pan-European level to ensure data interoperability across countries, better patient mobility, and an improvement in services provided.

Another angle came from David van Sickle, CEO at Propeller Health, who gave an insight into the role partnerships can play in building companies from the start-up level all the way to acquisition. His laser-focused approach of partnering with healthcare providers and payors to reach patients, partnering with pharma to grow into new business areas, and undergoing a $225 million acquisition to really scale the business offers a clear roadmap to businesses looking to achieve similar success.


All parties benefit from partnership

The panel on Pharma, Digital Health and DTx Partnerships really brought the bigger picture together: namely, all players stand to benefit from well-conceived partnerships.

With pharma bringing market access components and rigid science to the table, and digital offering new opportunities for ROI on research and innovative ways to reach patients, the conditions in the market are just right for innovation.

Just one example came from Novartis, who enlightened us on their partnership strategies around digital therapeutics (and their ongoing interest in prescription digital therapeutics, having acquired US software start-up Amblyotech earlier this year).


What should you look for in a partner?

The final key takeaway for us was what companies should take into account when looking for a partner.

Technical know-how and expertise are essential. But beyond that, it’s important to look for companies who offer a lot of synergies, and really value the product or partnership offering.

A good indicator of that is who they’re bringing to the table for deal-making: are you getting face-to-face time with senior leadership, for example?

At the end of the day – as we at S3 Connected Health know well – it’s about teams. If you work with like-minded teams who value the same principles, and found a partnership that is built on transparency and trust, you’re sure to achieve great things. 


You can still catch all the recordings from Frontiers Health on their site here.


For a more detailed look at digital health partnerships, read Jim O’Donoghue’s article from earlier this year