Shall we forget about 2020? Not at all.

We take a moment to take a pause, and ask;  is it that we have two choices: either we accept that this year the cards were just stacked against us, and we   accept the doom prophesies. Or we don’t.   This article is a sequel to our earlier comment about humans and recessions. Sometimes, you have to be careful what you wish for.

It is fashionable to be pessimistic these days. God knows we have enough right to be.  According to the mainstream media, the “economy” will tank both this year and next. But in the same pages, we learn that in the UK, house prices have reached their highest level since, well, the last time they reached that level. It’s all very confusing.

So conventional wisdom is to assume the worst.  Put what little money we have under the mattress. And do nothing.  In doing “nothing”, we create the very downturn and recession  we have been guarding against.  For some reason, we just love bad news, – and we pay the consequences for that.

The answer – is to do “something”. In fact, it is to do more than “something”. It is to take the view that you carry on as you had originally planned. Surprisingly, if you are that single minded and determined, things are likely to work out.

So what is the secret, of doing “something”?  There are five simple points of understanding.

First – by doing nothing or firing your people – you will not return  to the same place that you left; you will have less people, less experience, less competence, and your market will have less money. It’s a spiral; to the bottom.

Second – your pipeline is your future success. Cherish it, go after it. Silver linings will come back sooner rather than later.

Third – be innovative. Life indeed is not the same as it was. But it is unlikely that there is no demand for your solutions and competences. You just have to phrase it a different way.

Fourth – change your outreach. Forget sending emails, we all get too many, but do invest in video, Seeing is believing and virtual meetings do work.

And Finally – things never were easy. But as we come out of the darkness of COVID – now is the time to reap the rewards while others are still asleep.

GDPR. Seven essential data protection measures for Startups and Companies

The Uniscon company in Munich has sent us this timely and important warning note that – sure, our office is our home, is our kitchen, is our bedroom – but it is also the least secure of any aspect of our company data.  In the same way as Wifi based home appliances are a gateway into our personal data – so our corporate laptop on the kitchen table is the same, into our company. They set out what you need to look for;

Digital transformation of the economy has opened up many new doors for cybercriminals. Companies must take appropriate measures to protect themselves and the data of their employees, customers and partners. But what do they need to consider?

Most of the provisions of the German Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) boil down to a simple requirement: those responsible must guarantee the security of sensitive data. Violations can quickly become expensive: In the case of particularly serious data protection violations, the GDPR provides for fines of up to €20 million or up to 4% of the total annual turnover achieved worldwide (see Art. 83 GDPR). Following we present seven essential data protection measures for companies.

1. Compliance assessment
Compliance—this is, the observance of laws and regulatory requirements—affects all companies, but to different degrees. Depending on the industry, additional guidelines may apply in addition to GDPR and BDSG, for example, in the field of competition or financial law.

2. Risk assessment
As a next step, companies should carry out a risk assessment. After all, the more sensitive the data that is to be collected and/or processed, the more elaborated the measures to protect it must be. Assessments of this kind often require the support of a data protection officer.

3. Encryption
It goes without saying that sensitive data must be encrypted both during transmission and storage[1]. Sufficiently encrypted data is considered secure per se; even if data is lost, it cannot be read or recovered by attackers without the appropriate key.

4. Pseudonymization
All information that would help identify the user is removed. For example, the names of persons are replaced by randomly generated character strings. This way, the useful data remains but it no longer contains sensitive information.

5. Access controls
Introducing access controls into your company’s workflow is also an efficient method of minimizing the risk. The fewer people have access to the data, the lower the risk of accidental or deliberate data damage or loss.

6. Backups
Backups can help to prevent data loss due to user error or technical failure. They should be created and updated regularly. While regular backups add costs to your business, potential business disruptions are usually far more costly.

7. Deletion
Under the GDPR, companies are obliged to delete the data that they do not need (see art. 5 and art. 17). Consequently, companies need to draw up an appropriate deletion concept. Depending on the type of data, this concept should also specify deletion periods and durations.

“Ultimately, companies must decide, whether they take appropriate measures themselves or use the services of third-party providers specializing in data protection and data security”, says Ulrich Ganz, Director Software Engineering at TÜV SÜD’s subsidiary uniscon. “Depending on the industry, the size of the company and the type of data collected and/or processed, this can save costs and simplify processes. For example, if companies use certified services, they can prove that they already fulfill their control and due diligence obligations as required by law”. This allows companies to concentrate on their core business—and leave data protection to the experts.

Digital Therapeutics and Care at Home. Webinar 3rd June.

We focus on the latest  EHTEL’s “Second Imagining 2029*” webinar. This virtual meeting is part of the EHTEL Innovation Initiative agenda for 2020 on Exploring Digital Therapeutics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Coaches.

With the Imagining 2029 series of webinars – hosted by its working groups – EHTEL invites the digital health community to reflect jointly on accelerating digital transformation – acknowledging the opportunities and challenges raised by the current COVID-19 crisis. This is what they say

Given today’s situation in which health systems, and especially hospitals, need to manage ever more knowledge and increasing amount of data, they are faced with a number of challenges. These relate to e.g., increasing clinical benefits, providing treatment in a variety of locations (in the hospital itself, in new forms of hospitals, at home), and involving health and care staff effectively in the changes occurring.

The objectives of this first webinar on digital therapeutics and care at home are to:explore how, throughout Europe, care is shifting from the hospital to the home, explore what digital therapeutics has to offer in terms of this paradigm shift, and identify in what ways AI and digital therapeutics work together.

The Date: Wednesday 3 June 2020, Time: 12:00 – 13:30 CET (90 min)

The first part of the webinar is a brief welcome and introduction by TicSalutSocial member, Juan Guanyabens, and EHTEL Principal eHealth Policy Analyst, Diane Whitehouse.

The shift of care from hospital to home: Example 1 – Presenter: Astrid van der Velde and Ed de Kluiver, Isala Heart Centre, Netherlands (NWE-Chance).

The shift of care from hospital to home: Example 2  – Presenters: Massimo Caprino and Riccardo Re, Casa di Cura del Policlinico – CCP, Italy (vCare).

What digital therapeutics has to offer and the relationship between AI and digital therapeutics. – Presenter: John Crawford, CrawfordWorks, United Kingdom and EHTEL Honorary Member.

The discussion will be based around several key questions, that should provide concrete evidence of developments in the field. After the discussion, the moderators will summarise the key messages of the webinar as preliminary conclusions.

The Virtual Meeting is on invitation. Please register your interest via the Webinar Event and Registration Page and find here More on Innovation Initiative workstream in the EHTEL website.

 

Medical Grade Wearable Devices for vital signs Continuous Monitoring

The need for a mobile and wearable clinical device – to take the pressure off our clinics and hospitals – has never been greater. It’s not like  there is no need.  The problem, so to say has been twofold; the reluctance of hospitals and staff to embrace a new technology that appears to reduce their personal involvement; and the lack of absolute clinical quality.  Sure, we have our Apple Watches, but that does not make us all doctors.

But things are changing. We look at the new wearable watch from CardiacSense, and ask, has the time now come for clinical grade solutions in the palm of our hand or on our wrist?  Eyal Copitt, COO of CardiacSense, latest manufacturer of a watch and wristband within the heart monitoring space,  explains what they do in these difficult times. This is what he says;

——

Rapid expansion of the Coronavirus emphasizes the immediate need for long-term continuous remote monitoring of vital signs to closely monitor the conditions of those infected with the Corona virus.

Coronavirus patients suffer from high core temperature, high respiratory rate, high heart rate and low Oxygen saturation

The need for monitoring is at hospital for badly ill patients as well as at home for lightly ill people.
Devices with wireless communication allows hospital and home monitoring without the need for direct contact of medical staff and patients.

The CardiacSense watch and wristband have them all,  – core temperature, highest accuracy measurement of heart rate, respiratory rate, SpO2as well as absolute cuff-less blood pressure and arrythmia detection and wireless communication.

The above turns CardiacSense watch and wristband to be the ultimate affordable continuous monitoring solution for inpatients and outpatients, sending real-time measurements to the nurses station and receiving back written instructions from the medical staff through the device screen whether the patient being in the hospital or at home.

Using the CardiacSense watch and wristband medical grade continuous monitoring enables better monitoring and communication for isolated inpatients reducing staff infection risk and allows light coronavirus patients stay at home, while the monitored data being auto sent to the hospital’s monitoring center.

Eyal can be contacted at; Eyal@cardiacsense.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Inclusion & Diversity Is An Executive Priority

Mariana Bodiu, VP of The Inclusivity Partners – looks at the current issues in corporate understanding of this key topic.

Creating inclusive, respectful and engaging workplace cultures is essential for an organisation’ success. Seems just right on paper but how do companies define and create this culture, empowering employees to feel motivated?

If we consult some very scary statistics to get us all thinking…. Research by the mental health charity Mind, identifies long hours, excessive workloads and unrealistic deadlines as causes of stress. Mind’s own research of 44,000 employees found 48% of people say they have experienced mental health problems in their current job. According to the Samaritans, UK men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women, while men aged 45 to 49 represent the highest suicide rate cohort.

A core question is whether we spend enough time in the discovery phase to truly understand what matters for our employees. What can we do of great relevance to their motivations rather than come up with a one size fits all programme to just put a check on the list?

We often hear executives saying that “People, their People” are their greatest assets. However the budgets allocated to support employee wellbeing are by far, not the greatest.

The Chief Excutive at Quilter, Paul Feeney stated in a recent interview for citywire, people and businesses need to be more open about mental health issues. After revealing that he himself had his own mental health issues in the past, Feeney said he signed the Time to Change pledge on behalf of the firm. “While movements like these are welcome, it’s really important that businesses fully recognise the value of mentally healthy workplaces and that good practice is embedded in policies and procedures so that the impact is felt by all staff, regardless of role or seniority”.

Johnny Taylor, chief executive officer and president of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), is shaking up workplaces by putting a spotlight on difficult conversations. SHRM launched a national initiative about toxic workplace cultures. The initiative aims to assist companies with facilitating crucial conversations surrounding controversial and uncomfortable topics. These conversations will cover race, religion, toxic workplace issues, politics, LGBTQ and gender equality.

The future of employee wellbeing and professional development in workplace cries out loud for individualised programmes and impactful mentorship.

The workforce is changing and so does the mentality of your employees. Your greatest talents strive for a more authentic, meaningful, work environment where they can feel not only financially remunerated yet also welcomed, understood and truly valued as human beings.

The Inclusivity Partners recognises the importance of this change and values employee wellbeing. We help businesses create an inclusive and diverse working environment by co-creating this strategy with their employees – designing momentum for authentic solutions driven by people for people.

HOW BEST TO DEVELOP YOUR BUSINESS IN 2020; OUR NEW YEAR MESSAGE

At a time when the doomsayers of global warming have us reaching for the duvet and cancelling our frequent flyer airmiles, we ask – just how far do we need to go, travel-wise – for the sake of business, and does it work anyway?

Actually – we don’t have to go very far at all. But that does not stop the fanciful dreams of hopeless romantics jumping on long distance planes. There has to be a compromise, but so often, the decision makers of such compromises have their own vested interests – or often no actual interest.

My colleague is CEO of an IT company in Oslo, Norway. We are talking about expanding her business. She says she is thinking about her  neighbours in Scandinavia. But she has booked a Trade Fair place, in San Diego, USA. I ask – do you have a customer there?

“No – but we want to look at the USA, and this is a recognised Trade Fair.”

Logical enough. Except that the company can hardly stretch to getting out of the suburbs of genteel Oslo itself, but she and her husband did have a nice holiday in California a while back.

There is the CEO of a UK based health care vendor, and we are talking at her shared Booth in one of the big US conferences in International Drive, Orlando. And I ask her; “ what made you pick this one?”

“Well, we took a Board decision to look at an international market, and the USA is large in healthcare. We booked a place”.

There are no visitors to my friend’s booth, which is dwarfed by the much larger domestic US vendors, and the location is nowhere near the other Start-Ups that have got pride of place”.

Sometime after, I enquire how it all went etc. “Oh,. Well nobody came to see us, so we concluded there is no market for us there”.

There are golden rules about developing a business, the first of which is that you must think internationally even from concept – it is unlikely that your domestic market will be enough in the medium term; and the second is, never pick a market where you had a great vacation, or where a few days near Disney can justify the excuse of a “business investigation”.

The other obvious set in stone mantra, is that the more local your business expansion, step by step, the better it will be. You can make your mistakes quickly, learn from them, without too much damage in time or money.

The proof of the above wisdom, is that the key to success anywhere, is preparation. This takes time and effort in emails, phone calls, discussions, prior to ever setting foot anywhere different. It is so much easier to focus your resources on places that are nearer to home, because the chances are exponentially higher that you will understand their culture, their way of doing things, that ultimately will make all the difference.

All of which makes the current UK focus on long distance trade etc, a bit of a nonsense. It just is not practical. It takes too long, and the inherent “short-termism” of UK businesses, mean there is no room for business process, the art of developing relationships in the medium term.

In other words, what we are risking doing, is replacing actual results, with simple activity. It “looks” like we are doing something – but we are not actually achieving anything.

What to do?

The answer, is to step by step look around at the next street, the next town, the next country. Looking at the next Continent, unless you are already everywhere else – may be a bridge too far. And you won’t need the airmiles anyway. Be thankful.

Are Healthcare people missing the point?

As the need for the provision of healthcare has moved from Hospitals to the Community, we have been looking at who “gets” that?

Actually not very many people, by that I mean, very few hospitals, and very few established vendors. In a survey that we are still conducting, of approx 100 key Hospitals in the UK NHS – the ordinary consumer (that’s you and me) with our smart data on our wrist, is light years ahead of knowing about their health situation, than the very places they go to when things look serious.

What is worse is that, not just established vendors seem to be clinging on to their market position with solutions that cannot possibly keep up with what the ordinary guy expects – but that newer start ups, who regularly look for funding – are being overtaken by Apps that are already in use for free. on our iPhone or Android device.

We have written about this before on our these Press pages, but our initial and interim assessment is that, whilst accepting that hospitals are routinely underfunded in the UK – their salvation will be the inclusion of primary care, sorting out issues before they ever get to the need for what hospitals currently do. so they become a one-stop shop. There are significant reductions in costs in this combination.

Approx 10% of the hospitals we deal with ourselves, get this notion – and either reach out to providers of community finance, or they include private paid-for health clinics, within their own walls. These tend to be the ones that regularly top the league tables of health excellence.

But what does not work – is doing nothing, because patients are now starting to walk with their feet away from these hallowed institutions anyway. We are very interested in hearing from those organisations who link ordinary Apps, with their healthcare services provision, and if we can, we will be pleased to publish their experiences.

Some Healthcare Updates…

Two of the leading independent voices in European and USA healthcare have published today and in past few days, some important announcements that need sharing.

The first – from the COCIR trade association in Brussels, concerns standardisation of medical device standards; this is really key, because without this, countries cannot refer or regulate new innovations and vendors cannot offer this internationally; what they say today is:

Brussels, 25 July 2019 – In response to the European Commission’s publication of the draft standardization request for the MDR and IVDR, COCIR has developed detailed feedback and recommendations for improvement of the document. We have always underlined the importance of having harmonised standards available and cited in the Official Journal under the new Regulations. Unfortunately, the proposed draft standardisation request still includes several elements that prevent flexible harmonisation and timely reference of standards in the Official Journal. COCIR recommends to the European Standardisation Organisations to reject this request if it is adopted in the currently proposed form. COCIR is more than ready to engage in further discussions with the European Commission and member states on this topic. We specifically call upon the next Commissioner for the Internal Market to find pragmatic solutions to the current deadlockBack

Related Files

And in the USA, the AHIMA organisation based in Chicago, has two days ago announced the aim of country-wide use of a standard Patient ID; you wonder what they did before….

This is a different and expansive take on their usual technology coding and practical approach., as they move nearer to compete with HIMSS.

We will get a view shortly from our colleague Christina Roosen, who knows both organisations well – to see where this is heading.

Managing Energy has never been more important.

We look at the upcoming Future of Utilities: Smart Metering Update 2019 conference on Smart Metering of Energy and ask – why has it taken so long?

In brief – this topic has been discussed and received focus – for the past five years even to our knowledge. But in those earlier halcyon days, small interruptions such as hacking and global warming were but twinkles in our eyes. Nowadays of course – things have changed. As my colleague at a Cyber Security company in Israel tells me – “there are two types of smart meter; those that have been hacked and nobody knows it; and those that are hacked and everybody knows it”. And for sure everybody knows about global warming.

So the upcoming Conference from Marketforcelive, in central London this June, is timely. This is the latest and important opportunity for leaders in the Energy space, to sit down and say – how are we controlling access to the flow of energy, both remotely and at source. Saving energy has been defined as the secret sauce of modern energy management, We are not as naive as before.

Whereas before, delegates that subscribed tended to come from the pure data and tech environments and talked in a language that you or I could not understand – nowadays, this Conference will attract the commercial leaders and all those on the peripherals. Energy control is essential big business in a world where such is the reach of media, we are all experts now.

With an impressive Speaker List – we expect “Future of Utilities: Smart Metering Update 2019”,to become a Forum for exchange of ideas that are proven and that work, a significant development from other Conferences in the past that were merely talking shops.

The Conference takes place on the 18th June; go visit it at; http://bit.ly/2wGAiqZ. our longer report will follow shortly after.

COCIR concerns in the event of a no-deal Brexit

If anybody had any doubts of the damage that Brexit is doing to our UK and EU economies, the following official announcement today from COCIR, should be a wake up call that is already too late.

The date of withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union – 29 March 2019 – is drawing ever-closer. While we sincerely hope that both parties will continue to do their utmost to find an agreement, our industry is increasingly concerned over preparations for a “no-deal scenario”. Such an outcome means that the UK will no longer remain part of the European Single Market. Given recent communications by the European Commission (1), this will have detrimental consequences for our industries in the European Union. Our major concerns are that:
–    UK Notified Bodies, which currently play a critical role in certifying medical devices placed on the EU-27 market, will no longer be able to issue EU certificates. 
–    Non-EU manufacturers that currently have an Authorised Representative based in the UK will have to change to one based in the EU-27.
–    Manufacturers transferring to a new – EU-27-based – Notified Body will need to change how their devices are labelled to reflect the new Notified Body number or face non-compliance with the Medical Device Directives. 
Unfortunately, it appears that the European Commission and the EU-27 Member States are currently not planning to adopt a specific transition period for medical devices (similar to the one planned by the UK). However, we would like to point out that the current timing is insufficient to allow for manufacturers to receive certification by a new Notified Body. Even where a transfer is possible, and new CE certificates from EU-27 based Notified Bodies have only been issued in the last few weeks, re-labelling all their devices would be challenging at best and unfeasible in many cases, particularly for manufacturers with large product portfolios. If devices are not available, even temporarily, the resulting impact on European healthcare systems – and the safety of EU citizens – could be substantial. 
Therefore, in the best interest of citizens, we call on the European Commission, together with Member States, to agree on a limited transition period. This will allow those manufacturers directly impacted by any no-deal Brexit to continue to place devices certified by a UK Notified Body on the market. 
Standard practice for medical devices (2) when changing to a different Notified Body would be to provide six months following the Date of Withdrawal. This would allow the re-labelling of devices after the certificates transition to a new Notified Body. Even 12 to 18 months could be necessary in case manufacturers have to switch to a completely new Notified Body to ensure the necessary time for the re-certification process.
Such a transition would give manufacturers much-needed certainty and ensure that hospitals, healthcare professionals and citizens in the EU see reliable and predictable access to these devices. 
This, however, provides a short-term solution to a long-term challenge. We therefore encourage the EU and the UK to expedite negotiations on a trade agreement that includes the mutual recognition of medical device certification. 

 1 – ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/qa_brexit_industrial_products_en.pdf 
 2 – www.doks.nbog.eu/Doks/NBOG_BPG_2006_1.pdf