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eHealth in the Digital Home - Big Opportunities for ICT players

Referencing the recent Munich Economic Summit, the London Times ran a headline the other day saying “The most important person in healthcare is the IT guy”. What they really should have said is “…the ICT guy”. There are huge opportunities for telecoms and media players to join technology vendors to generate new business at the intersection of Digital Home and Digital Health.

But we need to work out what propositions and business models are appropriate. We may never achieve the end goal suggested by this image (or want to!)…
ContinuaAlllianceTeleHealth.png …but the IT sector (and now some telcos) are starting to salivate about the home/health market.

We’re therefore delighted to have Thierry Zylberberg join the ‘stimulus speaker’ list for the Telco 2.0 ‘Executive Brainstorm’ in October. Previously Executive Vice President in charge of new services at France Telecom Group, a few weeks ago he was formally announced as the head of FT’s new Healthcare Division. Why this focus? Well, eHealth is now the fastest growing ICT sector - 15-20% per annum growth for the next 5 years, from which FT Group is aiming to generate 500m Euros of new annual revenue by 2010.

Thierry presented the opportunity to investors back in December, and defined the opportunity for telcos here.

This is, of course, the context for the Digital Home Summit at the Telco 2.0 event. We’re looking at how TMT players can carve out new and exciting business models that not only support physical health for an ageing population, but also support a better quality of life through more appropriate and targeted entertainment, communications and independent living services.

We’re gathering the best stimulus speakers for the brainstorm to look at the issues and opportunities from a wide range of relevant angles: from a large telco perspective, local service providers, consumer electronics and telehealth experts, marketing specialists and cutting-edge examples of implementing ICT for this sector, not forgetting of course the media players who are looking at delivering laser focused content (via IPTV and internet TV).

Here are some stats and examples to whet your appetite:

Today there are 605m people aged over 60. In 2050 there will be 2 billion. In Europe close to 20% of the population (70m people) is over 60 and figure will double in the near future. This market is the least served by marketers, brands, service providers and merchants of all kinds today, yet it represents huge and growing purchasing power.

The number of doctors and natural carers (families, friends and professionals) will not keep up with demand.

At the European Commission’s Personal Health Systems conference in Feb this year, Paul Timmers, Head of the ICT for Inclusion Unit (DG Information Society and Media) described the value chain and pointed to statistics suggesting that ICT can not only dramatically reduce the cost burden on society (note: on average, 40-70% of healthcare spending in developed countries is for care of diseases and conditions of the elderly), but also offer great market opportunities for service providers:

* The market for smart homes applications will triple in Europe between 2005 and 2020, from 13 million people up to 37 million.

  • In the Netherlands alone, ‘seniors’ will spend €500 million per year above what they are currently spending if targeted by appropriate ICT products and services.

Another speaker of interest was the Intel representative from the Continua Health Alliance (very useful presentation here). This body was launched June 2006 as “A non-profit, international, open industry alliance of the finest healthcare and technology companies in the world joining together in collaboration to improve the quality of personal telehealth.”

“Our Mission is to establish an eco-system of interoperable personal health systems that empower people & organizations to better manage their health and wellness”.

Continua describe a move from residential care to ‘personal telehealth’, by which they define as services that support Independent Healthy Living, Community Clinics, Chronic Disease Management and virtual Doctor’s Office.

All this has a huge telecoms (and media) element, hence FT’s interest in the sector: Email / chat / video, Appointment scheduling, Personal Health Records , Vital sign monitoring (RPM), Medication reminders and compliance, trend analysis and alerts, connecting with family care givers, etc, etc.

So, coming back to the Digital Home Summit on 18th October, we’re delighted to have Nick Augustinos, Board Member of the Continua Health Alliance, Director in Cisco’s IBSG Global HealthCare team, and “the father of the HealthPresence concept” stimulating the event. Luis Carlos Fernandez, Head of eHealth Solutions from Telefonica will bring his perspective, Daniel Heery from Yorkshire’s CyberMoor project, Caes Rovers founder of OnsNet in Holland, a ‘grey market’ specialist from Ogilvy, and a Senior Vice President from Deutsche Telekom, among others…

We’re hoping that Adrian Flowerday, Chairman of the Telehealth Group at Intellect, will also join. He has some very practical experience of implementing personal eHealth solutions - see here for a teaser.

If you want to take part in the brainstorm, logistics details here.

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