13th May 2021

An ‘Apple a Day’ For The 21st Century

The old adage that 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' may have been an early allusion to the 'five a day' health message. However, In the 21st century the 'Apple' is more likely to be a digital device than a Cox's Pippin or a Granny Smith's and it will be fundamental to a revolution in healthcare that will affect us all.

Why?

The coming decade is forecast to see huge advances in the digital transformation of healthcare with the development and delivery of new techniques, tools and treatments to improve outcomes for patients as well as bringing cost and efficiency benefits for national health services, medical practitioners and governments as well as significant opportunities for investors.

The rapid and unparalleled development of vaccines to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just what can be achieved at speed in a crisis. Those lessons of public/private sector cooperation, corporate cross-border collaboration, enhanced engagement with regulators and the use of emerging technologies are creating an exciting environment for real change.

Among the key drivers of this change – a veritable Healthcare Revolution – are advances in Telehealth, Artificial Intelligence (AI), 3D Printing, Augmented & Virtual Reality (AR & VR), Wearable Health Monitors, Next-generation Sequencing, Data and Connected Health.

To understand the scale and scope of developments within the sector you only have to glance down the agenda for the two-day virtual World Digital Health Congress to take place on June 29 and 30. ‘Game-changing’ is a much over-used phrase but in this case it is undoubtedly an under-statement!

This not only opens the prospect of better health for individuals but the potential for the UK to build on its globally recognised scientific expertise to become a true world superpower in life-sciences, creating tens of thousands of new, high-quality jobs and attracting investment, both from within the country and from overseas.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, speaking at the annual conference of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) at the end of April set out the Government’s intention to build on the positive lessons emerging from the tragedy of the pandemic, to make the UK life-sciences sector a ‘global superpower.’ He backed up his pledge with £37 million of new investments in genomics projects, building on the country’s acclaimed genomic sequencing capabilities and data driven initiatives with the promise of much more to come.

During the pandemic the Government was – rightly – derided for too often making overblown claims of ‘world-class,’ or ‘world-beating’ initiatives which either failed to materialise at all or came up far more modestly in practice than they were promised. But it does seem that in the field of digital health and life-sciences, there is every prospect of the reality matching the rhetoric.

One of the lessons emanating from the pandemic is that people are much more engaged in matters of their own health than ever before. They are more knowledgeable and more inquisitive but, as evidenced by the vaccine doubters, also more questioning and sceptical. So, the issues of trust, integrity and reputation are perhaps more important in this sector than in any other.

As one of the UK’s leading PR and Reputation Management consultancies we understand that only too well. Definition is already working with national and international clients across this dynamic sector, spanning research, data, healthcare services, talent & recruitment and genetic toxicology.

They include Benenden Health with its 800,000 members across the UK, Cielo, a world leader in strategic recruitment process outsourcing with a focus on life-sciences, Gentronix, the genetic toxicology specialist and one of Europe’s premier Contract Research Organisations and telecare provider Alcove. We also work with the law firms that advise businesses within the sector and for the private equity houses that invest in them.

For them all we help enhance their reputations by communicating their expertise, illustrating their experience and showcasing their knowledge and the part they are playing in driving this dynamic, fast-growing and socially critical sector.

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