The Internet is our window for looking at the world. Fuelled by the ease of having a smartphone in our hand, we also use it to look after our health. According to the 2015 Doctoralia Report on health and the Internet, users perform an increasing number of consultations and arrangements on this matter through the Internet.

Dealing with the future of digital health on 27th June was the insur_break event “Digital health in a hyperconnected world”, held at MAPFRE’s insur_space. Two great experts on the subject took part –  Pedro Díaz Yuste, CEO of Savia, and Simon Merritt, Associate Partner at Advisium Group.

On behalf of the Savia project – MAPFRE’s digital platform that allows users to access online medical services Yuste gave a retrospective account of how we have reached the advanced stage that we are now at. “In a connected world, being the customers’ favourite today does not guarantee success tomorrow. We need to spot where disruption is coming from in order to be there. And we have done that at Savia”, he explained. Yuste backed this up with data: “70% of medical consultations at the global level are already on the Internet. It is a symptom that technological change in the world of health is about to arrive.” Examples like an app that analyses how well you brush your teeth or a chip that measures heart activity testify to this.

Also, “the human body is a living, breathing data generator, which means that big data, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence [AI] can help us manage this information and apply it to have more agile medical services”, added Yuste. For example, an AI-based symptom evaluator can give us guidance so that we get in touch with the specialist that we need directly.

Yuste also spoke about the needs of future connected customers: “We don’t want to force anyone to have to buy devices, rather what we want is to improve services on what the customer already has“. The CEO of Savia stressed the importance of environments such as insur_space to be able to integrate startups with big companies like MAPFRE and to pilot these kinds of solutions.

Simon Merritt - insur_break

For his part, Simon Merritt listed many cases that are already being implemented in digital health: watches that measure heart rate, a digital atlas with machine learning to analyse the brain, therapists and psychologists who see patients digitally, virtual reality headsets to treat mental health and phobias… The expert confirmed that digital trends in health are here to stay: “A group of patients were asked if they would be interested in having surgery assisted by robots. Before being told of the benefits, only 36% were interested. After, it was more than 50%“.

To conclude, Merritt raised a question to reflect on: “At time when consumers and patients will know themselves better than ever, how much will their insurers know them?”.

After each presentation, attendees had the opportunity to pose questions to the experts to delve deeper into what the future of digital health will look like. Any concerns that remained in the air were dealt with later during networking, beers and pizzas. With such moments, MAPFRE’s insur_space manages to create an open environment in which people with curious and entrepreneurial minds exchange opinions about current technological issues.

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This was the second in a series of events that will be held throughout the year at around 19:00. You can find out about them through the insur_space website, in the insur_break section, and from insur_space‘s social media using the #insur_break hashtag. The events are free of charge, but require registration in advance.

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