After the chaos of Afghanistan and COVID – our Podcast looks at the new world order and asks; can we rely on our earlier markets, and – if not – then where are our best bests for the future?
As part of our series of Case Studies for The HETT Show (www.hettshow.co.Uk) – we look at the rise of the Nipro Diagnostics company in Diabetes healthcare and ask, – from a standing start (with the new 4SURE portfolio), in just a few years, has their time come to be a major UK player?
For many people like you and I, the realisation that many people with diabetes do not have their condition out of choice, is a hard one to accept. And yet its management requires a complex understanding.
Let’s try and set the scene. In the last 10 years, the cost of treating Diabetes in the UK, has almost doubled. Looking at it another way – some 13% of all the NHS spending, is diabetes related. It is the largest slice of spending in the NHS cake. And for type 2 diabetes there is no shortage of blame. Everything from the UK government’s lack of practical steps – through to you and I for eating the wrong food and an ever increasing sedentary lifestyle .
Or maybe, there is no blame? Maybe, despite the fact that 10 years is a long time, and long enough to change both personal and NHS day-to-day processes, is it only now that we need to take a deeper look?
Is it therefore time? Time to reassess, and look again at what do we really need, now, to bring the diabetes epidemic under control and into the 21st century with technological advancements?
10 years ago, and with a Nipro global headcount of some 29,000 people – the NiproDIAGNOSTICS company was not a known player in the UK. Two years ago, they set out to furtherfocus their attention to help people living with Type 1 diabetes, by launching the 4SURE range of glucose meters and partnered with the revolutionary Diabetes:M App. With the aim of being the single one stop shop for every person requiring blood glucose monitoring, Nipro set about bringing into a needy market, a combined process that was affordable for the NHS, and easy to understand for you and I.
Tom Atkinson, Country Manager of Nipro Diagnostics UK, looks corporate cool – with a fashionable soft northern accent, dressed in an open white shirt, he leans into his screen and talks fluidly about his Insulin Pharma background, and the wish to be part of a complete solution.
“What we understood from day one, was that we have to work the same way as our patients. They don’t want a meter that the NHS cannot afford; they want one with Bluetooth connectivity.And they want an App, which has got to be their Dashboard – everybody wants an App. Our big plus is that access to our new innovative technology, is obviously free, along with the Starter Pack from their diabetes clinic – which includes their initial consumables.”
We talk about the pandemic. It is an irony that, at a time when the NHS and health service provision has been desperate for so many – the essential acceptance overnight of remote diagnostics and monitoring by NHS nurses, has been a game changer for the better, for Nipro.
“Clearly, we had not forecast a pandemic”, continues Tom, “but it was obvious that it was only a matter of time before common acceptance and a desire for remote diabetes monitoring. What has helped, is that our meters have an accuracy rate of 99.3%, and we are the fastest growing provider of diabetes solutions”.
The corporate ethos of a sales pitch is creeping into the discussion, and I don’t have a problem with that. What is equally evident is the pride of helping the ordinary person with diabetes, just being available, at the end of a phone line if a patient needs help or advice. But that does not address the basic issue of human behavior. A diabetes meter can only be reactive to a patient’s condition.
Not necessarily. By giving the patient an affordable, information-driven, platform to manage their condition, patients themselves can change their lifestyles armed with the facts and see the benefits of their condition improving by relating to their life choices.
Tom interrupts; “yes, this is true – we are “part” of the solution – but for the patient, we are the major part – as it’s our technology they are using every day and we are the link between them and their own clinic or doctor, as we are providing the vital remote monitoring bridge to keep a patient in touch with their HCP so they can monitor their glucose levels remotely in real time and change their medication and other variables, there and then, if needs be”.
The focus of the discussion goes back to that of patient-provider relationship. “We don’t want diabetes to be the affliction for everyone – but we do want to provide the all-embracing solution for those that need it”. Tom looks at his watch. We have been engaged in academic discussion for nearly an hour, and it is Friday afternoon, end of July. He is taking his family on holiday.
I closed my screen and take a moment of reflection. Innovation is not necessarily about technology. The patient also has a role to play. The Innovation at Nipro is the approach, taking the fear-factor, the newness, and combining it to tech that simply delivers, and communicating that to the person in the street.
We chat with HIMSS Global Clinical Director, Charles Alessi, about where healthcare is going for all of us, and what will be the key changes. It’s a wide ranging discussion…
It’s an obvious question with no obvious answer, because our original assessments of just 10 months ago, may well be incorrect.
Charles Alessi looks intently at me across the screen, we are on FaceTime, – he is dressed casually in a pastel coloured polo shirt, sitting in his relaxed lounge area of his home in south west London, there are rows of books behind, a sort of academic university professor ambience and it reminds me of my own one/one sessions all those years ago. As a former Chair of the UK’s National Association of Primary Care, and as an advisor to WHO – Charles is well placed to be talking about the problems of our time.
And COVID per se, may not be one of them. “There have always been pandemics,” he says. This particular COVID-19 is really a child of the 21st century, perfectly suited to our super connected societies where global travel between dense population centres is as common as a daily commute” Charles is more referring to our personal ability to survive and manage ourselves in lockdown, or rather – survive the absence of face/face proper contact, and the distance management that is the glue that holds us all together and allows us to cope.
“Starting the day at 08.00am, from my living room, with a call to Tokyo – and then a 10.00 call to Berlin – with London time zone calls in between – and then the 17.00 call with California – all whilst sitting in my own arm chair and not having moved an inch – is not what our bodies and brains are designed for. We as humans, need the travel time, to adjust, to refocus, to wind down between sessions, so to say.”
So no – our Lifestyles have not changed for ever. We will inevitably return to the travel to meetings, as soon as it is safe to so do – because we are becoming disorientated without doing so.
Healthcare on the other hand, has indeed changed, and we cannot put the genie back in the bottle. It is obvious that telehealth, or telemedicine, and the remote monitoring of our conditions by clinicians, makes sense, and reduces costs. And where all of us are moving towards a single version of truth of our own health. And yet, this democratising of healthcare – Charles argues – has not happened. And so we have systems and processes designed to fix individual instances, but where in times of a pandemic, are forcing whole decades of instances into just a few months or even weeks. How can we possibly cope?
The key to where our health processes should be going, is at the beginning, where we stop being a binary society, – assuming we are all “well” – until we flick the switch one random day and find we are sick, we have a lump, a pain, whatever. And then we go to places called hospitals to fix the issue.
Our focus now should be the age of precision early management of our individual health. At a time when you and I as individuals already know from the data on our wrist, what is wrong with us even before the doctor ever speaks to us, we are now in a position to manage where our own health data and symptoms, and what Charles calls “non communicable diseases” , can take us, for our own good.
I was expecting somehow a medical discussion and yet this was not it. This was a look at where society is going, and what are we doing as society. But you and I as individuals, are society.
I always remember being late substantially for a meeting. I called ahead, as if my excuse – “I am in traffic!” – was good enough.
“But you are the traffic”, was the response.
We interview the VP of HIMSS EMEA, Sean Roberts, newly moved to the UK from his native California, for his plans for HIMSS over the next twelve months – and his view of healthcare on this side of the Atlantic. HIMSS is the largest healthcare trade association in the world. Its annual Global Conference resonates around the world; European healthcare vendors, particularly from Scandinavia, use the USA as their launch pad for their European and even domestic healthcare promotion.
It is not the first time that Sean and I have met. Sean is an anglophile. The last time of any significance, that we met, we went to a rather bijou little restaurant somewhere in south west London on one of his frequent stop-offs. It is rare to find an American with such a detailed knowledge of eating places in London where tourists don’t go.
This time it is different. We are in Zoom territory now. Sean has much shorter dark hair this time – he is wearing a dark blue t-shirt, the background in his home office is bare white, and he looks quizzically at the PC screen;
“Can you hear me now?
I get up and move around my own office.
“Yep! I’ve got a better connection if I stand just here….”
And this is no stop-off. Sean has moved his whole family, wife, and dog – across the Atlantic, to use London as the base so to say, for promoting better clinical management and outreach, in Europe. It is an irony compounded by the fact that the HIMSS Global Chief Clinical Director, who advises the PHE – is also already UK based.
Obviously, COVID dominates the first part of the conversation. And I ask; “So, at a time when each European country is fending for itself, why choose the UK?”
Sean hesitates and replies; “it is because English is de facto the international language, but above all, because your frontline NHS worker bees, are so “resilient”.” It is a word Sean uses several times in our conversation.
And it is not because the UK has best healthcare COVID outcomes. That accolade goes to Denmark. They plan on doing 5.5 million vaccinations, by July 2021 and everyone’s bet is that they will do this. I concur; my last time running through CPH just a few months ago, my passport control took just a few seconds and even before getting my bag, there was a nice young Danish girl in blue uniform asking me “would I like a COVID test? It’s free of charge for all visitors”. I was directed through the arrivals area, up some steps and into a covered area, and within twenty minutes tops, I had my first COVID test. “Yes, we will call you at your Hoel in day or two of there are any probs”, the nice nurse said.
What Sean is able to do, is make comparisons between one country and another, and make suggestions to each government, each hospital -“Look, have you thought about mirroring how these other people do it? Their outcomes are better”.
Looking outside one’s own internal bubble, and learning from others, is a key message that Sean is trying to promote in the UK. And the delivery of this message is not without its problems. It may not all be to do with technology, but more about national culture. Those countries that do best in containing COVID, are those who have an implicit trust in their governments. If the government says this is the right road, then this is what we will do.
Despite the fact that we are a Telehealth society now, we are hampered by the lowest common denominator in terms of wifi connectivity. The growth of Telehealth, of video conferencing, has not been because surgeries and hospitals want to go down that road, it is because they have had to take that avenue. The success of Telehealth and remote consultation at surgery and hospital vet, is directly related to each individual organisation’s willingness to adopt these new processes.
But having said that, Sean continues, these messages are getting through. IHE and HL7 and links with the WHO, are the new common standards, and HIMSS has a programme for 2021, for increasing its pan Europe roll out. The next Conference, which may well be hybrid, will be again based around Finland and their new initiatives, – it is scheduled for 7th-10th June.
Scandinavia remains a natural point of departure for HIMSS EMEA, and there is a sadness that only 5% of visitors to HIMSS events are from the UK. In the same way that just a year ago, nobody had heard of COVID – so life and healthcare is a different process now. Let’s see in June if the message has got through.
We look at the past twelve months and ask – if everything has gone wrong, was that simply because of COVID, or were the downsides always there, it’s just that Covid was the excuse of choice? Or are there new trends and behaviours come to the surface that we never considered until now?
Looking at the obvious – you can say that 2020 was the death knell of Events and Conferences. Major companies globally are in trouble and have not been able to rediscover a new secret sauce as to why you and should even bother to attend an online event. As long as COVID continues, it is doubtful whether many will still be around with their current offering, thru to the end of 2021. In our discussions with vendors, we have yet to find any vendor that is satisfied that being part of a virtual event has has offered them any benefit at all. Criticisms range from “ this is a scam”, to the more polite “ it’s not the fault of the organiser, they are doing their best” etc.
It is made doubly worse by the lack of interest from so many delegates. Worst in our discussions, were anything to do with the UK NHS. Even those that attend workshops have almost nil interest in pursuing a discussion after they have gone offline and in almost all cases there is no way for a vendor to progress a discussion. Much better are the Financial events; there is a clear monetary and commercial objective – but even then – online workshops that we looked at – were sparsely attended, the vendors themselves outnumbering the delegates.
This situation is made worse alas by the naivety and astonishing optimism of the conference organisers themselves, who routinely do not bother to answer emails from apparent interested parties, preferring to have a voicemail, saying “we are working from home”. Or those who publish and write to us with sentences such as:”We bring people together and excite them with truly life-changing experiences. Creating the ideal environment for doing business, learning about new trends and innovations, and cementing relationships. Discover our unique mission, vision and values.”
This is not what people are saying to us.
At least some organisers are trying tho. This one in Liverpool, sent us a nice paragraph:
It is all down to simplicity and not trying to recreate a inperson conference. It is impossible to recreate an inperson event so why not shake things up and cater for what you have in hand. By having more focused sessions and pre arranged 1-2-1’s rather than a networking area sponsors, delegates and speakers have a much more comprehensive experience’
MedStar Health is the first health system to provide Sonata, an incision-free, uterus-preserving, outpatient treatment option for women with symptomatic Uterine Fibroids
Gynesonics®, a women’s healthcare company focused on the development of minimally invasive solutions for symptomatic uterine fibroids, announced today that MedStar Health, a not-for-profit health system of 4,300 affiliated physicians and 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, has introduced the Sonata® Procedure in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. area. The first case at MedStar Health was performed by Vadim Morozov, M.D., the Director of the American Academy of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL) Fellowship in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
Fibroids are benign growths in or around the uterus, with about 70 percent of white women and more than 80 percent of black women having uterine fibroids before the age of 50. Uterine fibroids may cause significant and debilitating symptoms, including heavy menstrual bleeding. Symptoms may worsen over time if fibroids are left untreated, which leads to more than two million women in the U.S. undergoing treatment for uterine fibroids each year.
“Invasive surgery can be a major deterrent to women who would otherwise seek treatment,” said Chris Owens, President and CEO of Gynesonics. “We are committed to making Sonata available to all women who suffer from symptomatic uterine fibroids. This acknowledgment of the clinical importance of Sonata by Dr. Morozov and MedStar Health is important for patients in the Washington D.C./Maryland area. We are excited to be accelerating our commercial efforts and launch of the Sonata System across the United States and globally.”
The Sonata procedure offers women with symptomatic uterine fibroids an option that is incision-free, has a quick recovery with excellent reduction in heavy menstrual bleeding symptoms, and provides an option to avoid invasive surgery. Sonata uses a unique intrauterine ultrasound handpiece to locate and target the individual fibroids. Radiofrequency energy is delivered to shrink the fibroid and reduce symptoms. The Sonata Treatment is a breakthrough alternative to hysterectomy and myomectomy, and can treat a wide range of fibroid types, sizes, and locations. The fibroids are treated from inside the uterus, so the Sonata Treatment requires no incisions, no tissue is surgically removed, and the uterus is preserved. Clinical studies demonstrate that nearly 90 percent of women showed a reduction in menstrual bleeding at three months and 95 percent had a reduction in bleeding at 12 months. Additionally, 50 percent of women returned to normal activities the next day.
The Sonata System uses radiofrequency energy to ablate fibroids under real time sonography guidance from within the uterine cavity, utilizing the first and only intrauterine ultrasound transducer. The System includes a proprietary graphical user interface (SMART Guide), enabling the operator to target fibroids and optimize treatment. The Sonata system provides incision-free transcervical access for a uterus-preserving fibroid treatment. This intrauterine approach is designed to avoid the peritoneal cavity. The Sonata System is CE marked and is approved for sale in the European Union and the United States.
For more information on the Sonata Treatment and to watch patient testimonials, please visit http://www.sonatatreatment.com.
We look at the current Brexit paralysis and its affect on Uk and EU financial organisations
Whilst the recent dispensing of several of its obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement by the UK Government has caused Uk business tremendous damage to its reputation and ability to get new business – a couple of key announcements published in the “L’Agefi” online newsletter in France, have crept under the radar unnoticed.
They should not have done so, as they are likely to have the more profound affect to the ordinary person and to pretty much every size of UK business.
It may come as no surprise that the giant AVIVA Insurance company in the UK has sold off its filiale in Paris AVIVA France. These things come and go. What is interesting is the timing, In the same French publication just a few days before, there was a larger discussion about the exit of UK financial firms generally from the EU.
It seems that UK companies, for so long holding out for a continuation of things as they are – which benefits the UK – have decided enough is enough. They are coming home.
On a purely domestic level, this coincides with announcements elsewhere that UK expats, will not be able to continue their UK bank accounts, if they live in EU. It is however – Ok in reverse. If you happen to live in the UK, but have your bank account in Paris – well, that will seem to work fine. I know that because LCL have just sent me a new Bank Card, complete with a personalised photo on the front of the card, of some flowers in my garden. How nice.
My friend Victoria who lives in a flat in Paris, is very worried. The lack of financial passporting mentioned above, whilst inconvenient, is nowhere near as high an issue as the need to transfer qualifications – which threatens job viability – and quite apart from the shut down of ferry companies, who will no longer operate. And who can blame them? With some 7000 trucks planned to be parked up in fields in Kent, pending customs clearance – we are at the point of having customs-points next to Bromley South train station. More serious, is the lack of any physical card, that confirms residency and country rights. It is another Windrush in the making. In twenty years time, UK expats will not be able to physically prove, that they have UK rights, because the online IT Systems currently used, will be long gone. All of the above facilities that were free before, will now cost you and I money to get back to where we were, and with greater hassle.
As concerning as that is, UK businesses are in an even worse situation. We are now regularly seeing EU companies not wanting to enter into contractual terms with UK companies, because of concerns of contractual behaviour. And in order to efficiently handle financial simple tasks abroad, such as a simple clearance payment for good received or supplied – UK companies are being advised to set up their own EU office. Add to that the lack of mobility of long haul travel for the next six months or so, it is becoming increasingly difficult to see where UK companies are going to expand their business.
According to the newspapers in the UK, we are due for an increased unemployment phase, and there is a need for additional social security support. This is not the time for employees to lose jobs.
One would like to think that some sort of common sense will prevail, but our suspicion in the UK at least is that there are too many large corporate interests that are in direct opposition to the views and needs of the general public, who are both their employees and customers.
Perhaps we are too close to the action, here in the UK. Maybe it takes a French newspaper, to tell us what we should have seen from the beginning.
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and Frontiers Health, along with the Healthware Group, recently agreed to a content collaboration that will serve health care professionals in both Europe and the United States.
It comes just prior to the launch of the annual AHIMA Conference, this time Virtual, in just 10 days time. (We will be talking with Michael Bittner, AHIMA Media Director, early next week, on the key notes to be covered) In meantime – What they say is this:
“Frontiers Health is recognized across Europe as a transformative organization with a long history of promoting innovation in health care,” said AHIMA CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris, PhD, CAE. “Like AHIMA, they see the human behind health information and health policy, making our collaboration a natural fit.”
Frontiers Health, in cooperation with Healthware Group, is hosting two education sessions, focusing on telehealth and artificial intelligence in health care, at the AHIMA20 Virtual Conference taking place October 14-17. The sessions will feature speakers from companies like CarePredict, Intouch Group, Kaia Health, Vitality, and Wysa, as well as other global players from the digital health space.
In addition, both organizations will collaborate on sessions at the Frontiers Health Hybrid Conference this November. AHIMA’s international team will host several sessions within an overarching theme of “Data Driving the Future of Health.” AHIMA experts will discuss data consent, privacy, interoperability, patient access to their health information, and more.
“This collaboration serves AHIMA members and health care professionals in Europe, as both groups will have access to new content and resources with a global perspective,” Harris said. “It will also help AHIMA increase its international footprint and reach health care audiences around the world.”
“I am pleased to expand our collaboration with AHIMA and look forward to hosting two dedicated Frontiers Health sessions at the AHIMA20 Virtual Conference,” said Roberto Ascione, conference chairman of Frontiers Health and CEO & founder at Healthware Group. “Frontiers Health will share its extensive knowledge and first-hand experience in strategic spaces like telehealth and artificial intelligence. Through its cooperation with AHIMA, Frontiers Health will promote and contribute to the pivotal role of digital health innovation in the new normal.”
With decision-makers from healthcare in some 98 Countries – including Russia, Israel etc – booked to attend; and around 172 Speakers, including 45+ keynote Speakers, including the WHO, the US ONC, and of course the key Partners from Finland (whose are supporting this Conference) – this five day event is as good as it gets in terms of bringing together where healthcare is going and needs to go.
It is an interesting comparison. This Conference is just a week or two after the Nordic more local VITALIS event in Goteborg, but whilst VITALIS is essentially inward looking, a focus for its local market – HIMSS Europe has always been an outreach for its Nordic contingent. Nothing has changed here.
When I spoke a few days ago with Sean Roberts, the VP EMEA of HIMSS, he told me that the clear focus of this year’s HIMSS Europe – is Innovation; the bringing together of the smaller and new vendors alongside their bigger and more established sponsor brothers, and taking new ways of doing things, into healthcare management.
Sean has decamped with his wife and his dog, from California to the leafy environment of Berkshire, just a 30 minute train ride into the UK capital. He is an anglophile who knows the restaurants of Chelsea even better than I. Despite the Finland original focus, the bedrock of this virtual event is a TV Studio in West London, and the biggest beneficiaries of this event may well be the domestic UK NHS. It is a journey for both of them.
What HIMSS says about itself is you can expect a “Powerful 5-day virtual experience facilitating partnerships and collaborations for digital healthcare transformation; a Unique combination of live, and “simulive” and on-demand sessions, with the opportunity to participate in live polling and Q&A throughout. Plus an Interactive, robust chat and networking capabilities that will allow you to connect with your peers and solution providers, with an unrivalled opportunity to pitch, profile and connect with key industry stakeholders”.
If there is a major and standout difference from earlier years or indeed other events organisations – it is the 3D Exhibit floor; the Lobby (see our image above) – and the virtual networking. HIMSS has been preparing for this sort of virtual reality for some years, even since the days of Steve Lieber – and you can say that COVID has been a wake up call – but looking back, it has been obvious that this is a way of interfacing that makes sense if done properly. The TV and “games” look and feel of the Lobby equals anything redolent of PS2 entertainment.
We are looking forward to the mix of protagonists as much as the Speaker advice. No doubt see you there.
It is a simple truth rarely understood, that if you are going to start sending out and relying on, written communication, to keep in touch with your customer-base; then at least make it easy to read, and interesting. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
The recent months of lockdown have seen a plethora, an avalanche of offers of Seminars, Webinars, online Discussion, in our inboxes every day, and all of these announcements have two things in common. They are worthwhile and could well be helpful. And they are absolutely boring and do not reach out to grab us and hold our attention.
Which is why the attached Image that accompanies this Article, is so key. It is a standout piece of graphic art commissioned by one of clients, The Futureshapers (www.thefutureshapers.com) – that our Team member, Ben, designed – with the aim of saying “look, it is time to go in a new direction, out of your comfort zone, and don’t be afraid to do that, if you want to stay successful in 2020… and of course beyond”.
There are two keys to this new process. First, your technical quality of delivery, be it a graphic (as above, say), or an Article, .. or a Video Interview, whatever… has to be spot on. It can seem “rough around the edges” but that in itself needs care to deliver that level of insouciance. And it has to be different.
That is because life itself is now different, for all of us. People are questioning what they did the things they did before, and coming up with new ways of working, and of keeping in touch. Which means that – whatever is your size of company – you too have to recognise that, and act accordingly. Sometimes, you are too close to your own business, to see the broader or more varied options.
It is very rare that in these pages we talk about our own business – but at ProfoMedia, we focus on original communication, and we can deliver this for you. Our numbers are on our Contact pages, do take a moment to call and have a chat.