The inaugural MedTech Integrates conference launched as a fully virtual event last Thursday, inspired by the ongoing success of the Pharma and Bio Integrates events. This one-day gathering of technology, diagnostics, devices and therapeutics organisations, as well as clinicians and regulators, provided a platform to discuss the major challenges impacting the MedTech sector. The vital need to integrate health data emerged as the cross-cutting theme across the three tracks covering diagnosis, treatment and empowerment. Despite the physical distance of a virtual conference, delegates were united in their aim to harness the power of medical technology to improve patient outcomes and experience, increase efficiency in delivery of care and better support the care givers themselves.
The conference kicked off with Martino Picardo, Chairman of Discovery Park, interviewing keynote speaker Ben Newton, Global Head of Oncology at GE Healthcare. In just 30 minutes they covered the impact of COVID-19, challenges for SMEs, the uptake of wearables, and big data as a driving force to open up a new world of ‘rapid diagnosis, treatment planning and patient outcomes,’ particularly in oncology. Ben emphasised that there has never been a better time to go into MedTech with the rapid uptake of AI and telemedicine in response to the pandemic. This provided a great backdrop for the expert speakers to discuss their inspiring ideas.
Further highlights include the ‘Fem Tech: Innovation & Opportunity’ panel chaired by Linda Dimario, Executive Vice President of Great Irvine Chamber, featuring fascinating insights from four leading women in female-focused MedTech: Giovanna Forte, CEO of Forte Medical; Karen Taylor, Director of Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions; Angela Hobbs, CEO of Wilkinson Hall; and Elena Mustatea, CEO of Bold Health. Answering the question ‘Is the growth trend of female-focused MedTech a niche or a no-brainer?’ the panel shared their thoughts on why this rapidly emerging market had previously been overlooked. Covering everything from antimicrobial resistance to menopause, greater investment is needed, specifically targeting these previously under-researched areas. Women make up the majority of the workforce, so treating these problems first time round is key to successful economic growth.
Inspiring panels were interspersed with virtual networking and 1-2-1 discussions which offered live face-to-face engagement. Attendees found themselves randomly assigned to tables across the virtual conference hall, kickstarting unlikely conversations and recreating chance encounters once assumed unique to in-person networking. The success of the networking was testament to the commitment of the team at Life Science Integrates to broadcasting a professional and worthwhile event.
Dr Ian Campbell, interim CEO at Innovate UK, rounded off the conference with an optimistic message that the ‘UK has a strong research base to address the needs of innovation in MedTech’. The MedTech industry has the power to transform patient outcomes through advancing therapies, diagnosing disease earlier and increasing independent living through devices. The wealth of talent put forward at MedTech Integrates 2020 only served to confirm this.