The World Trade Center in Rotterdam was this year’s venue of the third Dutch Innovation4Health event. If you want to get a grasp for what is going on in the Netherlands with respect to health and healthcare innovation, this is the place to be.
Here you can find funders, scientists, entrepreneurs, policy makers and even patients and patient representatives. With ample room to meet old and make new friends one would almost forget there is also content. During the plenary sessions and in numerous parallel sessions all aspects of health innovations were covered, from IP management to funding and from consortium building to patient driven innovation. There are two key messages I took home this day. One is that patient involvement is now really picking up. More and more, all stakeholders become convinced that patients (or even future patients) need to be co-owner of development efforts. In the end, patients own the data we need to implement concepts like personalized medicines. Also, as stressed by Ronald Bruss of myTomorrows, we need to find better ways to ensure patients get access to treatments earlier on as patients no longer accept the long lead time from proof of concept to market introduction of new medicines.
But health is not only about development of new medicines or treatments. That is the second message I took home: the rapid developments with respect to health technologies and crossovers. Wearables, gaming, robotics, all supported by big data analysis will have a tremendous impact on healthcare and wellbeing. And even more then in drug research, these technologies are patient-centric. Moreover, the development lead times are way shorter as compared to timelines in drug development resulting in shorter life cycles and faster impact. Altogether, it was a great showcase of the vibrant life science sector in the Netherlands. We all know the future of healthcare is full of challenges. And on conferences like this Innovation4Health I again realize how great it is to be part of a community where each of these challenges are considered opportunities.