Kindled Meme

– exploring the purpose of connection

Can Space technology address Society’s challenges – Medi-Tech for an Ageing population

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One of the successes of the Future Business Weekend (FBW) was in looking at the application of space technology in the use of ‘care at home’ medical monitoring. There were two teams formed over the weekend and both took a different approach – one using existing sensors and building a knowledge and data set on health at home (a pull model that ultimately serves clinicians) – and the other taking a DNA screening and using it as a basis to offer advice on lifestyle and preventitive medication – a relationship/trusted adviser approach that pushes value to the ‘customer’.

There is a lot of talk in the press this week about energy bills and tariffs. People have payed their bills unquestioningly for too long and as Rick Smolans talk at SVCO this week uncovered we are now going to be Smart Metering our consumption to validate the costs. Shouldn’t we be ‘Smart Metering’ our health too?


It might seem arbitrary to take ‘space’ and push it into ‘medical’ but in the UK we have two things going on. The UK Space industry contributed over $9bn to our economy last year and current policy choices hope to see this grow – in the UK we are good at this and much value is capture in the ESA IP that the FBW event used – and secondly we have an ageing demographic that needs a fresh, scaleable approach to healthcare service. The UK demographic profile looks like ‘a pig in a python” – there is a huge bulge showing we are getting older and we can’t all expect to fit into the traditional model of hospitalised health care.

This week in the UK the Technology Strategy Board is looking at this issue – there is a programme of digital conversations going on around an event in Liverpool and insights are being swapped.

This stuff matters and this report captures the scale of the problem and highlights 20 cases across Europe that are taking interventions. It also does well to frame the ‘actors’ involved – it is both a ‘State’ problem, an issue for society  and also a problem for the individual. But its also a commercial opportunity as the above report shows – its not a problem to dismiss with gloom – this can be ‘fixed’. Its not just a UK issue – this is pan-european, global – afflicting Japan and knocking very, very loudly on the door of China’s population too.

Today the UK is being shaken up by changes to healthcare commissioning – this is expected to make service more locally responsive but it also has the effect of fragmenting the supply of services and it levels the playing feel for the medical entrepreneur. Being locally responsive, innovating to learn and understanding GP commissioning problems and somewhere there will be an unmet need that the giants of Siemens and Philips just arn’t nimble enough to serve.

If I hadn’t attended the Future Business Weekend event I wouldn’t have been in the position to be connecting these dots. It shows that its always valuable to get out and about and swap these ideas – we might get sucked into just framing these situations as a business model but it has social impact to.

This stuff matters.






Author: jameslramsay

Practice director at the ShelfLife project - digital by day, campfire by night

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