Preliminary agenda

Themes and sessions

Built from the ground up and fiercely independent, our agenda reflects what's really going on across European health.

System view: Tomorrow's healthcare landscape

Bored of borders: Breaking down Europe’s silos

It’ll never work in our healthcare system sneered the health minister. 'Our system is different and unique’.

‘Nor ours’, added their international counterpart. ‘Our people, system, and health issues are all entirely idiosyncratic’.

Except…well…they’re not, are they? If the pandemic showed us anything, it’s that health doesn’t really care about lines on a map. Every system has its own challenges, its own quirks, its own individualities.

But better outcomes were never achieved by looking only inwards. What can we learn from our neighbours? What technology, best practices and ways of working can we transfer to improve our own systems? And how do we ensure the default setting is symbiosis, not silos?

Debate: This house believes there’s no role for government in healthcare

Unaffordable, or irremovable? Publicly funded healthcare systems are struggling almost universally.

Individual autonomy vs public health initiatives. The right to care vs the right to choose. Economic burden vs inequity.

The role of government in healthcare is contentious, and fraught with nuance. On one side, it reduces patient autonomy, costs an astronomical amount, and the lack of competition can foster a culture of complacency in innovation.

On the other, private markets can lead to inequity, and as health is a fundamental right, surely government should guarantee it?

Should patients be cared for as a fundamental right, or does government involvement only lead to bureaucratic inefficiencies, limited choices, and lower-quality care?

Join us for a heated 'Oxford Union-style' debate between some of the brightest minds in the sector.

Greener, leaner, cleaner: Healthcare's role in global warming

Pop quiz. Which sector creates more greenhouse gases?

A) Aviation 

B) Healthcare

If you answered B, congratulations, you're a winner. But the planet isn't. Healthcare creates twice the emissions of the aviation industry. Whilst one is a necessity and the other a luxury, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't be taking a serious look at the role healthcare plays in global warming, and how we can mitigate it.

Enter the realm of green healthcare, where the pursuit of medicine is married to the preservation of our planet. What do we need to do to make our healthcare greener, leaner, cleaner?

Prevention is better than cure: Can preventive healthcare save Europe's health systems?

The phrase 'prevention is better than cure' dates back to the 1500s. Public health has come a long way in that time, but the journey has only just begun. The gap between the highest and lowest average life expectancy in Europe remains over 12 years. 

With the global population expected to hit 8.5 billion by the end of the decade, and health systems creaking at the seams, prevention is vital to keeping health systems going. Prevention can only ever be the first stage of the cycle, but ensuring it’s the first thought in mind is key to wider adoption. Yet, who pays for it?

There’s a budget balance to be struck between the high cost of preventative programmes in the here and now on already strained budgets, vs the long-term cost savings. Still, McKinsey estimates that prioritising prevention in Europe could reduce the health burden by 30% over the next two decades.

The gap between the highest and lowest average life expectancy in Europe is over 12 years - what can we learn from one another to bridge this? And how can we manage the wider macro-economic themes that influence healthier populations?

High stakes: Is health's aversion to risk killing us?

It's been 2,500 years since Herodotus uttered the phrase 'Great deeds are usually wrought at great risks,' and yet despite a two-and-a-half-millennia head start, risk and healthcare remain uneasy bedfellows.

The history of healthcare is littered with pioneers who took extraordinary risks - from Jenner's smallpox vaccine to Curie’s pioneering work with radiation. But with medical litigation on the rise across Europe, have we become too risk-averse to usher in a new era of medicine?

Over the rainbow: Making healthcare accessible for LGBTQ+ beyond nice colours

LGBTQ+ individuals face numerous unique challenges in accessing healthcare services. From addressing the specific health needs of transgender and non-binary individuals, to establishing the much-needed trust, to fostering a more inclusive environment in medical settings, what can health do to achieve genuine equality in healthcare?

How do we move from the superficial, to creating a health landscape where everyone can access respectful, sensitive, and inclusive care, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity?

Levelling the playing field: Putting equity at the centre of the discussion

Avoidable, unfair and systemic, inequity in health has been a part of the system since it began. From socioeconomic status to ethnicity, gender to geography, who we are can create disproportionate health challenges. By emphasising equity, this approach strives to ensure that everyone, regardless of their background, has equal opportunities to attain good health.

Technology offers us the best chance to bridge this gap, but can also be a wedge between the privileged and the underserved.

From telehealth offering remote consultations for underserved areas, to apps providing health education and self-monitoring. Or, how about the use of data analytics to identify and tackle inequalities, and AI aids in diagnosis and personalised treatments? From wearables, to language tools, VR to AR, we have a wealth of technology at our fingertips that could eradicate inequality - if used well.

We all know that we have to identify and rectify the biases within healthcare systems. But all too often this falls to the bottom of the pile of priorities. If we're ever to reshape systems to guarantee that no one is disadvantaged or overlooked, the debate must be reframed so that every conversation starts with equity in mind. Technology might just be the lever with which to do so. Enter the techquity conversation in healthcare.

Dr. Google will see you now: Improving patient education or miseducating the masses?

We’ve all done it. You get an odd rash, or a strange pain in your back, and off to the internet you go. But googling your symptoms only tells you which diseases have the best SEO.

There are pros and cons to googling your symptoms (or Binging them, if you’re really alternative), but in this interconnected world, where access remains an issue, the number of people doing it will continue to rise.

How can we ensure that search engines prioritise accurate, accessible, and up-to-date health information and steer those in need away from misinformation?

Dr. Google will always be faster and more accessible than traditional healthcare systems. Maybe, in fact, search engines are exactly what the doctor ordered.

Like and prescribe: The rise of social media in health

Social media plays a peculiar role in healthcare. On the one hand, it has an unparalleled ability to disseminate information, foster engagement, and facilitate meaningful connections.

On the other, as anyone who's delved into a YouTube comments section or X (Twitter) thread will tell you, it has the ability to act like a howling banshee of misinformation. Screaming endless obscenities, conspiracies and falsehoods into the virtual void. Usually accompanied by a 'lol' or smirking emoji.

The former sounds like the best place for health information to be circulated. The latter, the worst.

But healthcare social media is here to stay. Clinicians are increasingly turning to platforms to spread advice, educational content, and health tips. One European Commission study noted that across Europe, 55% of patients search for health information online, and 74% of those use social media. As access improves at the speed of light, how can we ensure that the information on social media platforms is accurate and safe?

Breaking the mould: New models of care

New kids on the block: Exploring unconventional players in healthcare

At a high level, the map of players in European healthcare is a relatively simple one. Payers, providers, life sciences, healthtech.

But new players are moving into the space. Organisations that aren't generally associated with health. Think Uber, energy providers or postal services. And many more…

These unconventional entrants are reshaping a new corner of the landscape by capitalising on their expansive networks and customer bases. This diversification underscores the dynamic evolution underway within the European healthcare ecosystem.

As these new players continue to redefine health, how might their entry influence the roles of the traditional healthcare players? What innovative solutions could arise from this expanding map of players? And what can we all learn from the new kids on the block?

Bridging the gap: The role of employers in delivering healthcare services

Employers are a vital component of the US health system, funding more than $1 trillion of the US health ecosystem.

But Europe has, until now, had a more hands-off approach. Health and employment are both vital, but ne'er the two shall meet. We are, as a continent, somewhat uneasy about this relationship.

But as employers start to look more closely at the benefits of a healthy workforce, both mentally and physically, and the increasing number of companies offering solutions to a healthier and happier workforce, is it time to readdress this standpoint?

From patients to consumers: What healthcare can learn from fintech - and how we engage patients

Where would we be without our banking apps? Probably in a bank queue, frankly. Banking, dating, food ordering; one barely has to leave the couch any more (a health problem of its own). But where a swipe of the screen and a few taps can see all manner of trinkets piped into our homes and minds, much of healthcare relies on creaking analogue systems.

The moves from non-health entrepreneurs into the sector offer the opportunity for great learnings and transformation. So how can these learnings be safely applied to a creaking system whilst considering healthcare’s responsibility for patients’ lives? And should patients actually be seen as consumers, in our highly complex and (rightly so) regulated industry?

Stayin' alive: Home care reimagined

From fall prevention to intruder detection, there's never been a better time to care for an elderly family member or loved one remotely.

With the globe's population greying, and a chronic shortage of care workers, joined-up home care must become a priority sooner rather than later.

What does the future look like for care in the home, and how can it be accelerated? And what’s stopping us doing more of it?

Undervalued, underinvested: Why keeping primary care as an afterthought costs lives

There is a wealth of evidence, from across the globe, that shows the clear association between the strength of primary care and improved outcomes in mortality and morbidity. Across borders and eras, time and time again the results are the same. Investment in primary care delivers one of the best returns on investment in healthcare. A 2023 report by NHS Confederation and Carnall Farrar showed that for every £1 invested in community or primary care in the UK, there is up to a £14 return back into the economy.

Yet globally, primary care often remains overlooked, underfunded, and an afterthought.

Are we willing to jeopardise lives and squander economic potential by continuing to underfund primary care? And can we afford to ignore the lessons that history, data, and logic have consistently demonstrated?

Managing chronic diseases more effectively: How to eschew the déjà vu

Globally, approximately one in three adults suffer from multiple chronic conditions. According to the WHO they kill 41 million people a year, equivalent to 74% of all deaths. And yet the way in which we manage them can often feel like an endless cycle of hospital visits, medication, and incremental change.

But in a new world of personalised treatment plans, with cutting-edge therapies, are we ushering in a new era of enhanced disease management?

Crunch time: Preparing for the rising burden of neurodegenerative diseases

By 2060, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that the number of people living with Alzheimer's will more than double, to an estimated 14 million.

It's not just Alzheimer's. Across the board, as people live longer, treatments improve, neurodegenerative disease rates are rising rapidly.

Whilst technology and innovation can help to curb some of the impact, planning for a future with more people in need of care needs to start now. So how do we do that? And what are the latest innovations we should be looking to embrace and scale?

No place like home: Why ‘chez vous’ might be the ideal care location

In many ways, the idea of home as the best location for care makes sense.

Familiarity, comfort and independence have all been shown to have positive impacts on patients’ recovery. As health models evolve, the notion of home as an ideal care location is taking centre stage, promising benefits for patients, caregivers, and the healthcare system as a whole.

Challenges of course remain. The lack of immediate medical resources, caregiver strain, and limited technological access are all concerns. But with the workforce crisis showing no signs of abating, and increasing access to technology, home care is here to stay.

So can home care hit a home run? Or is bringing care through your front door a little too close to home? Some of European health’s brightest care pioneers present their uplifting approaches to a home care revolution.

DTx are dead - long live DTx!

Picture the scene. It's 2019. You're at a conference. All anyone can talk about is DTx.

'It's the future of pharma' they cry. 

'This will change medicine forever.'

But after so much hype, promise and expectation, do DTx still have the same appeal? Was DTx ever a whole new branch of health? Or was it just a digital rebrand of what already existed?

Regulation, red tape and reimbursement remain significant hurdles, but we know DTx can provide real value. So how can DTx providers prove that value to Big Pharma, investors and patients alike?

Ready for takeoff: Moving beyond pilots

The hospital CEO turned, slowly, rising from his chair to stand by the window. He stared at the planes taking off just a few miles away, their contrails criss-crossing the clear skies.

"The thing is, my boy," he said, choosing his words carefully, "there are more pilots in this hospital than in that airport."

An excerpt there from Arthur Miller's seminal play, The Death of a Salesman. If it had been written about people selling SaaS solutions to hospitals. Which it wasn’t.

OK, fine, perhaps we're being overdramatic. But pilot-isis is real. They're everywhere. And yet so often they fail to gain the traction they need to garner a commercial decision being made.

Why is this? And how can we better model the pilots to ensure takeoff?

Beyond GPT: The new world of data and AI

Ctrl+Alt+Defeat: Winning the cyber security battle in health

Massive. Irretrievable. Data. Leak.

Four words that, alone, are unlikely to send anyone into a frenzy, but combined are enough to bring out the thousand yard stare of even the most experienced IT professionals.

IBM's annual data loss report has listed healthcare as the most expensive industry in which to have a data breach 13 years running. Arguably rightly so. The data with which we deal is the most sensitive data there is, and every effort should be made to protect it.

With security more paramount than ever before, but budgets becoming increasingly strained, what can health learn from industries that have already achieved Fort Knox status?

Goldmine or fool’s gold?: Extracting value from health data

Healthcare data is a veritable feast - trillions of rows, across billions of patients, housed in millions of silos globally. It's a little known law, but healthtech startups are now legally required to have the phrase 'data-driven' somewhere on their website, just to be able to get a seat at the table (or the next round of investment).

Data has transformed industries globally - from finance to shipping, energy to retail. Healthcare data has the power to transform our lives more than any other, but it’s still far from realising its maximum potential. Underutilised, siloed, and mired in ethical and moral debate. To access the potential goldmine, the conversation has to finally move forwards. Where will data make the most effective difference in healthcare? And how do we excavate this impenetrable goldmine?

From Data to Discoveries: Envisioning health's future with EHDS

The European Health Data Space (EHDS) looks set to herald a hitherto unimaginable era of collaboration. Bridging borders across the continent, and promising individuals seamless access to health data, wherever they are.

Healthcare professionals will experience improved data accessibility, leading to enhanced patient care. Researchers will gain access to comprehensive data sets, spurring medical breakthroughs. The health industry could see harmonised regulations and market expansion. 

At least, that's what we're told to expect. But projects like this are often fraught with difficulties, hard to implement, and deliver underwhelming results.

The EHDS' success relies on striking a balance between data accessibility and privacy protection, ultimately paving the way for a digitally transformed and patient-centred healthcare landscape in the European Union. How we navigate that will make or break it.

Safekeeping: Is trust AI’s biggest hurdle?

The rise of ChatGPT, and a flurry of articles and papers on what AI could mean for healthcare flooded the sector like nothing before. But, from Terminator to The Matrix, popular culture hasn’t exactly engendered trust in AI.

Whilst this might seem facetious, gaining patient and clinician trust in AI is paramount for widespread adoption. For as long as AI is deemed mysterious or secretive, these issues will remain.

A 2023 study from the Pew Research Centre found that 60% would be uncomfortable with their health provider relying on AI in their care. How do we clear that hurdle to unleash the huge potential of AI in healthcare?

Hospital IT: From peripheral to pivotal

ChatGPT in the hospital: Helping hand or unhelpful hindrance?

If you've not been living under a rock (and given the pan European housing shortage, if you have, no judgement from us) for the last 12 months, you'll have heard of ChatGPT.

Simultaneously billed as the solution to and cause of all future and existing problems, ChatGPT is a generative AI that bamboozled bankers, perplexed professors, and disrupted developers. Seemingly no industry is safe. But what role can it play in the hospital? 

NB The prompt for this description was: Write a whimsical description of a session with the title 'ChatGPT in the hospital: Helping hand or unhelpful hindrance?'. Use British English. Maximum 100 words.

Hospital of the future: Where robots dance, stethoscopes groove, and clinicians conduct

When The Jetsons envisioned 2062, mankind was happily co-existing with aliens, flying around in solar-powered cars, and dogs could talk. Whilst we can almost guarantee the last one won't happen, predicting the future can be something of a fool's errand. Yet, this should not deter us from imagining it: The hospital of the future.

A world where robots work arm-in-appendage with clinicians. Where clinicians orchestrate an armada of technology at their fingertips, enabling better, faster, more personal care, with fewer hours, and lower costs.

The Jetsons might have missed the mark on talking dogs but looking to the future is vital. It provides us with a North Star, allowing us to define the direction we want to journey towards.

When systems speak to each other: The CTO view on interoperability

Teamwork, as every company values statement in the early 00s proudly proclaimed, makes the dreamwork. And for this, communication is key.

But when it comes to getting different systems to talk to one another, it can feel like a Herculean task. Scores of papers over the years have tried to measure the number of wasted hours this lack of integration creates. They all arrive at different estimates, but they all agree: it's too much, it has a huge negative impact on staff wellbeing and patient outcomes, and it costs a fortune.

At the heart of this debate, CTOs have to wrestle with myriad frameworks and requirements. Frustration is a word that crops up more often than it should in these discussions. With so many requirements, we have to ask: Is true interoperability a pipe dream?

Rewriting the script: Setting the electronic health record straight

Come on down and jump into the HLTH Europe time machine, as we head back to 1968.

Humans are yet to set foot on the moon.

The Beatles’ Hey Jude has just done a record nine weeks on the top of the charts.

Charles de Gaulle is coming to the end of 10 years in power.

Oh, and the first EHR has launched.

Those first punch cards spawned an industry worth $28 billion today. We may have switched gears from the old problem-oriented records to subjective, objective, assessment, and plan (SOAP) notes, but even as the industry trundles along, the complete potential of EHRs remains a mystery for medical professionals, patients, and health systems.

With more data available than ever before, functionality requests coming in faster than the industry can process, and ever-increasing demand on systems often built decades ago, how do we set the EHR straight?

Trials and innovations: What next for life sciences?

Thrills, pills, and VC bills: What will it take to unleash innovation in the world of drug development

Drug development and rapid innovation are unlikely bedfellows. Drug development is, by its very nature, a long-winded, wieldy, hyper-expensive process.

However, the integration of artificial intelligence, high-throughput screening techniques, and advanced computational modelling has catalysed the identification of potential drug candidates and expedited the prediction of their efficacy and safety profiles.

Are we finally entering an era where the once-distant notions of drug development and rapid innovation are becoming increasingly intertwined? And what will it take for the industry to fully harness the potential of novel tools and strategies to address unmet medical needs in a more efficient and agile manner?

Decode, detect, and defy: Expectations for digital biomarkers

In the past, the idea that technology could offer earlier detection and prevention of diseases, unparalleled insights into diseases currently not tracked well with diagnostic tests, and improved patient engagement, safety and quality of care, would have been laughable.

On the face of it, digital biomarkers are the holy grail, beautifully blurring the patient-consumer boundary, and providing clinicians with previously inconceivable levels of monitoring and data, and patients a level of health autonomy never previously possible.

But there is no perfect fit. Lack of precision, gaps in both evidence requirements and economic models, and questions around data ownership abound. Can digital biomarkers rise up to the expectations?

Inclusive clinical trials: Why we really shouldn't still be talking about this in 2024 (but have to!)

In 2022, the US National Academy of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine (NASEM) released a damning report into underrepresentation in clinical trials.

"Whilst progress has been made with representation of white women in clinical trials and clinical research, there has been little progress in the last three decades to increase participation of racial and ethnic minority population groups."

Whilst we celebrate diversity in Europe, from race to gender, sexuality to age, participants in clinical trials remain overwhelmingly white and male.

However, until interest and investment to improve diversity and representativeness in trials comes to the forefront, the goals of diversification remain poorly articulated and understood. We all know how important diversity is, but how exactly can we make clinical trials attractive to all?

Patience for patients: Ensuring the future of biotech

In the past ten years, biotech (or techbio, depending on who you ask), has made ungodly progress. From CGT to bioinformatics, we're entering a world that makes the sci-fi of the last century look timid.

But there is a barrier to enter this new world. Cost. The prolonged timelines inherent in biotech, from research to approval processes, and the uncertainty around a viable product existing at the end of these cycles, are uncomfortable territory for many.

That healthcare needs biotech to work is almost without question. Patients and clinicians alike are longing for new treatments - how can biotech ensure not to lose their patience?

Out of the lab and onto a tab: Get ready for the in silico boom

In silico drug development has been around since the tail end of the 1980s, and whilst it's always shown great promise, it hasn’t yet hit the heights it could.

But in the last two years, investment in the sector has risen as backers across Europe, the US and Asia have looked at the lab space crisis, and the cost of physical development and given in silico the backing it needs.

After so many years, is now the time for in silico to boom?

The new face of pharma: Partner, Investor, Acquirer…Friend?

Big pharma makes big bucks. It saves lives, develops treatments, pushes the boundaries of humanity.

But problems are flying at pharma from all angles. Drug development costs are soaring, the war for talent shows no signs of abating. Pharma finds itself in something of an identity crisis. What should big pharma be in 2024? Is it a partner? An investor? Acquirer? A friend? Or something entirely different?

10 million short: Solving the workforce crisis

Stemming the flow: Reversing the healthcare workforce exodus

Despite the great technological leaps already achieved, the promise of AI, and all manner of hybrid models proposed, healthcare remains a human-centric industry. Simply put, without a workforce, there is no healthcare.

From Glasgow to Gibraltar, Lisbon to Lund, Paris to Prague, the reasons for the exodus stay the same: hierarchy, working hours, scant resources.

But there is light at the end of the workforce tunnel. Passionate healthcare professionals are driving change from within their own organisations, pushing, cajoling and forcing decision-makers into action.

They envision healthcare systems that focus on collaboration, compassion, and care. How can we foster a culture of empowerment and job satisfaction, to ensure that the workforce is motivated to stay and contribute to the betterment of healthcare for all?

Recruitment, retention and upskilling: Turning workforce woes into workforce wins

Education, it was once said, is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.

Innovation abounds in healthcare, from board to ward, recovery to discovery, but one area remains overlooked, and it's arguably one of the most important.

As we look to recruit and inspire the next generation of healthcare professionals, how can we ensure that training keeps pace with the rapid rate of change in the industry? Hear from examples of leaders who’ve made great strides in addressing health’s workforce woes.

The transformation tales: Real-life stories of exceptional change

Semantic satiation is a psychological phenomenon in which repetition causes a word or phrase to temporarily lose meaning for the listener, who then perceives the speech as repeated meaningless sounds.

Anyone who's been in healthcare for longer than five minutes could be forgiven for reacting the same way when the word 'transformation' is bandied about.

But when it does happen, the impact is enormous. Hear from our real-life examples of exceptional change, from grass roots projects to national implementations, from across Europe. But beware, it’s not all pretty. Get ready for the good, the bad and the ugly, as our visionaries share real-life examples of transformation and what it meant for them, and ultimately, their patients. 

Healthtech regulation and reimbursement: Cheques and balances

Radical reimbursement: Why the payer-provider model needs a superhero approach

Healthcare: 2023. A frenzy of fee-for-service, spiralling costs, workforce burnout and pandemic fallout. But look up to the skies? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s radical reimbursement!

In it swoops. Caped and charismatic. Challenging the status quo. Embracing a new approach. Instead of counting pennies for every procedure, it clamours for change.

As Europe's population swells and ages, this radical rebel is needed more than ever. Rewarding providers for delivering first-class care and outstanding outcomes. Championing patient satisfaction and cost-efficiency. Be gone, old ways – radical reimbursement is here!

So how can reimbursement be repurposed to meet the needs of today’s health systems and patients? And who’s responsible for the change?

Meet the regulators: DTx reimbursement across Europe

PECAN (FR). DiGA (DE). DiGA (AT)

And, err, the succinctly titled 'The mHealthBelgium validation pyramid'. (BE, obviously)

They might sound like 70s rock bands, but they're changing the face of reimbursement in Europe.

Hear from the great and the good of European regulators, as they share their own processes, and the future for reimbursement in European healthtech.

From the drawing board to the ward: Making value-based healthcare work

In principle, value-based healthcare is a no-brainer. Patient and provider spend goes down, outcomes and efficiencies go up. You would be hard pressed to find anyone to disagree with that methodology.

But, like all such principles, the delivery is a little more complex. Defining value is fraught with nuance. Patients also have the pesky habit of being individuals, with unique needs, genetics and circumstances, further complicating both the value equation and the process.

The shift from fee-for-service to value-based might be tricky, but it is possible. When the stars align just right, and the transition is carefully managed, value-based healthcare can create real impact, on both patients and systems.

Hear from selected real-life examples, from across Europe and the US, where value-based healthcare has gone from the drawing board to the ward.

WELL x HLTH: Consumer health, mental health and more

Shattering stigmas: Reappraise mental health

Take one of Europe's largest stadiums, Wembley, and fill it with 90,000 people. Put nine people on the pitch.

That's the ratio of mental health physicians to patients in the UK. And this isn't a problem confined to the British Isles.

Across Europe, a pre-COVID trickle has turned into a post-COVID tsunami of people seeking mental health care.

How can we ensure that mental health care gets the attention it needs and the technology that can help it cope with the growing amounts of people in need of support?

Navigating depression: New pathways in mental health

7.2% of EU citizens report having chronic depression. A figure that rises year on year.

The wait times in the traditional patient pathway for depression are, somewhat ironically, often cited as a contributing factor for patients with severe depression.

But clinicians in the sector are overworked and under-resourced. The entire pathway needs a rethink. What would good look like for depression? How can technology support it? And is there the capacity to make it happen?

Trust your gut: Advances in metabolic health

If you're reading this from the bathrooms at HLTH Europe 2024, perhaps you should have opted for something a little less spicy than the bang bang peri peri hot wings? Especially after last night's reception.

Most people have experienced an upset stomach before.

Whether we’ve eaten something a few days past the expiry date or picked up a travel bug whilst overseas - we all recognise the tell-tale symptoms.

In fact, recent figures show that 86% of adults experience a digestive concern in any given year, while 10-20% experience these on a weekly or daily basis. The most common symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bloating, flatulence, and constipation.

Recent advances in metabolic health have created an environment where we've never had more control over the rumblings of the gut. 

Hear from some of Europe's top gut health experts, if you can stomach it.

Expecting tomorrow: Health's most fertile new market

Healthtech is revolutionising family planning. From ovulation tracking, to hormone monitoring, fertility advice to conception aides, from a tech standpoint there's never been a better time to add to your family.

Roughly 1 in 6 worldwide experience infertility in some form, making it a more prevalent health condition than other, much better-funded areas. But over the last five years, that balance is shifting. VC cheques are pouring in, and across virtually every market, fertility brands are springing up and multiplying.

With so much choice, how can those on the journey to parenthood decipher what technology is in its infancy, and what's already grown up?

Dream come true, or a neuro nightmare?: Improving your sleep with digital solutions

In 1968, sci-fi author Philip K. Dick asked "Do androids dream of electric sheep?"

Little did we know that 50 years later, our own Androids, and their Apple counterparts, would be being blamed for a rapid decline in sleep quality.

The intrusion of blue light into bedrooms worldwide over the past 15 years has been undeniable.

Embracing irony, digital solutions now offer remedies for sleep woes they helped create.

From monitoring apps to relaxation tech, this session explores how technology can mend our relationship with sleep, illustrating that even in the electric glow, sweet dreams of sound slumber can come true.

Transforming perspectives on psychedelics: A journey beyond the trip

Is it possible to write a session description on psychedelics without resorting to tired tropes about Haight-Ashbury, the 1960s, and flower power? Let's find out!*

In August 2023, UK-based COMPASS Pathways raised $285 million for psilocybin therapy in mental health. Whilst it remains to be seen if this was a watershed moment, it certainly made everyone in Europe sit up and take notice. 

Funding for psychedelics has skyrocketed in recent years, surpassing all expectations for such a nascent market. Will this emerging sector pass the acid test? Or is it too soon for flower power to have its hour in the sun?

*Turns out it's not possible.

Beyond the fountain of youth: Unlocking the secrets of longevity

"Who wants to live forever" belted out Freddie Mercury in 1986. We all know what happened next.

But whilst an entire generation of rock stars died too young, the rockstars of the modern age, startup founders, are keen to find new and novel ways to extend life and more pertinently, youth.

From gene therapies to blood transfusions, it can be difficult to unpick the genuine biological breakthroughs from the Paltrow-esque pseudo-science.

Moral quandaries notwithstanding, can the longevity industry live up to its hype, or like us all, will it simply die out?

Every step you take: Wearables, data & responsibility

'Congratulations, that's 10,000 steps."'

'You've hit 84% of your cardio goal for the day, and it's only 12:00.'

'You haven't stood up for an hour.'

'Have you drunk enough water today?'

'Inhale. Now exhale.'

It can sometimes feel like wearables were programmed by an overbearing parent.

And like any overbearing parent, they're certainly keeping a watchful eye on us all. The data they generate can save lives. But at what cost? Who truly owns the health data our devices record? How secure is it? With whom is it shared? And to what benefit?

Startups: How to successfully launch and scale in healthtech

European champions: How to scale across the European continent

Complex, diverse, and disparate, covering 750 million people, 44 nations, in all manner of configurations. European healthcare is a veritable smorgasbord of variation.

What will it take to build a successful pan-European digital health ecosystem? With more companies than ever before looking State-side to achieve real scale, how can we keep them successful in Europe? And how have those who have done it scaled successfully?

Investor panel: What's hot and what's not

VCs are market makers. Where their pockets lead, technology surely follows. We often refer to them as a homogenous mass. "The VCs think X", "the VCs are investing in Y." But they all have their fortes, and whilst market trends can dictate a certain level of investment, in health and life sciences, these specialist VCs know exactly what they're looking for.

We've gathered an all star panel of VCs from across the globe to answer one simple question: What's hot? And what's not?

Missed the exit?: Health keeps on trucking despite IPO jam

In 2021, health was in cruise control. Ticking over at 130 km/h, with an IPO every few kilometres, a clear road ahead, and not a cloud in the sky. 

Looking back as 2020 disappeared in our mirrors, we were forging ahead, free to forget about past issues and objections. As we soared up to junction 2022 though, a jam appeared. Just one lane at first, then rapidly filling the highway. 

The skies grew darker. Warning lights started to appear. Slowly at first, then with rapid, debilitating, frequency. Objections in the mirror were indeed closer than they had appeared.

If you looked just at the public markets, and their reaction to healthtech over the last two years, you could be forgiven for questioning whether an IPO is (still) a legitimate route for the sector.

With a number of high-profile firms down over 95% from their IPO, many have questioned whether this is indicative of a wider trend in venture-backed healthtech.

After the SPAC-attack of 2021, and the subsequent fallout, and with VCs sat on more LP cash than ever before, can healthtech companies really still dream of an IPO? Or should they be set up to explore other exit routes?

The long and winding road: Healthtech's path to validation

The story is a familiar one: A brilliant idea. A visionary founder. More clinical data than you can shake a stick at. Transformed patient outcomes. And then a 24-month queue to get certified.

Validation is a crucial step in our ecosystem, protecting patients, providers and clinicians. But it's at a crossroads. Too often brilliant innovations are stalled; stuck in a paperwork purgatory, tethered behind bureaucratic barriers, and mired in administrative anguish.

With funding harder than ever to secure, and a burgeoning need for technology to support a dwindling workforce, how can we ensure that the validation process matches the innovative essence of the technologies it appraises?

Sales: Reclaiming healthcare's dirtiest word

Chief Growth Officer. Head of Partnerships. Business Development Director.

We'll do almost anything not to use the word 'sales' in health. It doesn't feel right, does it? Selling health?

The same skill set that brought you realtors, second-hand car salesmen, and telemarketers, shouldn't align with the basic human right that is health, should it?

Well, yes and no. In many ways, sales is as much a part of the treatment cycle as triage. But how it's done can leave a lot to be desired.

Companies often see validation as the peak of the mountain, but if we're to take anything from Pear Therapeutics et al, it has to be that just because it's validated, doesn't mean it'll sell.

So what does good look like, and how do we Make Sales Great Again?

How to succeed as a DiGA: AMA with DiGA pioneers

When Germany launched DiGA in 2019, it was the envy of the healthtech world. The first dedicated pathway for digital therapeutics worldwide. Finally, a pathway not just to market, but to reimbursement, that made sense. With characteristic German efficiency, DiGA was rolled out and the tech companies rolled in.

So impressive was DiGA that Emmanuel Macron himself made sure that France set up their own version, leading to the launch of PECAN.

But was it lauded too much? What started in a blaze of expectations, hasn't disappointed exactly, but it hasn't been the trailblazing world-changing pathway many thought it could be.

It remains an excellent pathway into the largest European healthcare market and there is a lot to be learnt from DiGA pioneers.

With prices lower than expected and prescription numbers rising slowly, what will it take to get DiGA to fulfil its promise?

Stripes, stars, and success: Scaling healthcare startups in the US

'O say can you see by the dawn's early light,

The largest health market, in financial might.'

Alright, it's unlikely that The Star Spangled Banner's composer Francis Scott Key was thinking of the potential for European health startups in the modern American healthcare system, but there's no denying that America represents a new (and exciting) horizon for European health companies.

The glittering financial prizes available for those who manage to scale can be found at the end of a difficult pathway, but hey, nobody said achieving the American Dream was meant to be easy.

HLTH Foundation: What's new in women's health

We're not (!) all the same: Addressing women's health as a priority

For too long women’s health has been the underdog. From funding to research, despite the gap closing slightly in recent years, women’s health still lags behind. And like the stepsister trying on Cinderella’s slipper, healthcare's one-size-fits-all approach across biological sexes doesn’t work.

Women have unique physiological, hormonal, and reproductive needs that deserve attention and prioritisation. From reproductive health and menopause, to breast cancer, mental health and understanding how conditions present differently in males and females, healthcare must invest in recognising and respecting the incredible diversity of female biology and the unique healthcare needs of women.

It's time to shine a spotlight on women's health, through research, funding, and comprehensive care that acknowledges the diverse experiences and challenges faced by women.

Let's rewrite the script and give women's health the starring role it deserves - because we're not all the same, and our health should never be treated as a one-size-fits-all equation.

How can we ensure equitable access for all women, regardless of their socioeconomic status or location? How can funding models be changed to reflect biological differences in symptoms and address diseases experienced by females? And crucially, how can we close the gender gap in health?

Long overdue: Taking menopause seriously

Menopause is a complex biological shift - and yet it remains both under-researched and underfunded. It is estimated that by 2025 more than one billion women around the world will be postmenopausal, an estimated market size of around $600 billion.

Despite this huge potential market, between 2015 and 2022, just $530 million has been invested in the specific menopause technology and treatments. It may seem a lot, but in 2021 alone, femtech startups received $1.9 billion, whilst healthtech companies globally received $30.7 billion.

Given the impact on virtually all women over time, when will markets finally take menopause seriously? How can innovation help with treating menopause and confronting biases?

Yes it is: The future of health is female

Two years on from the reversal of Roe v. Wade in the US, the women's healthtech industry is at a critical inflection point. 

The US markets lead the way when it comes to tech investment, but women's health remains massively under-invested. Despite women constituting 50% of the population, a mere 1% of healthcare research and innovation investment is directed towards female-specific conditions beyond oncology.

Now more than ever, broader, bolder conversations around women's health are needed to address the innumerable areas where women's health needs investment and attention, above and beyond fertility.

From blue to red: Communicating women’s health without hiding

The number of beings in the animal kingdom with blue blood is surprisingly low. Crustaceans, squid, and octopuses mainly.

Oh, and humans apparently. At least they do if you're the brains behind sanitary product adverts, where menstrual blood is routinely displayed as blue.

13 years on from Always debuting an advert in the US using red liquid, the communication around women's health remains squeamish. Blue remains the colour of choice (with few exceptions).

There’s an intense inequality when it comes to advertising. Numan's UK advertisements reel off euphemisms for penis, 25 in 20 seconds, culminating in a quintuplet of bellowed 'dongs'. And more power to them.

But showing an accurate female bodily function? Almost unthinkable.

What has to change, in both health and society, to break this absurd status quo?

Schedule overview

Our agenda overview gives a taste of what to expect on each day at HLTH Europe. We'll release the full agenda in early 2024 - sign up to our mailing list to be the first to know.

Monday

17 June

12.30 - 19.00
Registration open

13.30 - 17.30
Partner Programming

19.30 - 21.30
HLTH Europe welcome reception

Tuesday

18 June

8.00 - 18.00
Exhibit hall and registration open

9.00 - 12.30
Connect Programme

9.00 - 17.00
Funding Founders 

9.00 - 17.45
Content sessions

14.30 - 16.30
Connect Programme

17.45 - 19.45
Beach social

19.30 - 21.30
HLTH Europe dinners (by invitation only)

Wednesday

19 June

7.00 - 8.00
Yoga

8.00 - 18.00
Exhibit hall and registration open

9.00 - 10.30
HLTH Europe startup pitch finals

9.00 - 12.30
Connect Programme

9.00 - 17.00
Funding Founders 

9.00 - 17.10
Content sessions

15.30 - 17.30
Connect Programme

17.00 - 18.30
HLTH Foundation meetups & Impact programmes, HLTH Europe networking drinks

19.00 - 22.30
HLTHfest: The ultimate HLTH Europe party

Thursday

20 June

8.00 - 14.00
Exhibit hall and registration open

9.00 - 13.00
Funding Founders 

9.30 - 13.00
Connect Programme

9.30 - 15.30
Partner Programming

9.50 - 13.00
Content sessions

15.00 - 17.00
Survivors' BBQ

When should you arrive?

Arrive

Monday morning, 17 June 2024

You should plan to arrive by Monday morning to join the Partner Programming sessions (from 13:30) and the Welcome Receptions.

Depart

Thursday evening, 20 June 2024

Depart Amsterdam after our last full day of programming and networking on Thursday, or stay until Friday morning and enjoy a spectacular send-off at our survivors' BBQ.

About HLTH Europe


hlth.

HLTH Inc. is a dynamic community delivering unique value to the healthcare industry through a mix of unparalleled global events, inspirational content, and impact-driven initiatives.

EUROPE


2024 | HLTH Europe: 17-20 JUNE
2025 | HLTH Europe: 16-19 JUNE
2026 | HLTH Europe: 15-18 JUNE
2027 | HLTH Europe: 21-24 JUNE
2028 | HLTH Europe: 19-22 JUNE

USA


2024 | ViVE: Feb 25-28

2024 | HLTH US: Oct 19-22

2025 | ViVE: Feb 16-19

2025 | HLTH US: Nov 15-18

2026 | HLTH US: Oct 17-20


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