In this interview, Sophie Park, chief strategist at Bayer G4A, talks about the effect of the pandemic on the digital health landscape, the promise of digital health from Health Equity, and the future of Bayer G4A. Digital Health Forum.
G4A is Bayer’s digital health partnerships and investment team dedicated to scaling digital health businesses to change the health experience. To achieve this goal, G4A works with startups, innovation groups, business partners, opinion leaders, health systems, and public institutions to accelerate and expand innovations in digital health. In that context, G4A offers opportunities for early stage digital health companies to partner with Bayer.
Sophie, Covid-19 has clearly opened everyone’s eyes to the need to improve our healthcare systems and raised awareness of digital healthcare solutions. From your perspective, did the pandemic accelerate digital health in the long term?
Clearly, the Covid-19 crisis spurred a push for digital health. During the crisis, I have observed two dynamics that advanced digital health at a pace never seen before.
On the one hand, the necessary adoption of digital health tools led to a change in mentality and a greater openness between consumers and health service providers. The pandemic was a great opportunity for many people to become familiar with digital health tools and recognize their value. Covid-19 made it clear to people that their own health is also a personal responsibility. Thus, people were more actively concerned with their own health (care) and became more open to securely collecting and sharing health care data. I believe that all these factors will lead to an increasing use of digital health tools also in post-Covid times.
On the other hand, the pandemic exposed the weak points in our health systems. The quality of care you receive is determined by social determinants: where you live, where you are from, what education you receive, and what job you have. The pandemic left no doubt that there is still a long way to go to achieve health equity and better access to health. At Bayer G4A we believe that digital health can and should play a vital role in closing existing care gaps and ensuring health for all.
“Health for all”: that is the objective. Not only is it the leading vision for Bayer G4A, but it is also the title of this year’s Digital Health Forum hosted by G4A on September 9.th. Why did you choose that theme for this year’s event?
Our Digital Health Forum is intended to be a platform for the digital health community and all who are passionate about health sustainability, access, and equity. Therefore, we are bringing together a wide range of digital health stakeholders in one place to discuss the hottest and most pressing issues in the field. Health for all through digital health is not a surefire success. We need to think carefully about how to create solutions and how to implement them not only to provide better healthcare for a small group of privileged people, but also to improve access and outcomes for many. This year’s forum is meant to contribute to that discussion from many angles. Our goal is to generate new knowledge about how we can better harness the potential of digital health for the greater good. I am very happy and proud that after last year’s success, we re-created a forum at the forefront of recent developments in the field of digital health.
It sounds amazing. In fact, last year’s Digital Health Forum was a total success and this year it will certainly be too. What makes the Digital Health Forum so attractive? What is your secret sauce?
What’s really special about our Digital Health Forum is that the virtual form factor, no-cost ticket price, and automated browsing experience reflect the healthcare experience we want the world to embrace. Health matters to all of us and that is why we invite everyone to participate and attend the forum.
On top of that, we invite a unique mix of stakeholders to the forum ranging from government officials to investors to Bayer executives who will share their vision for the future of digital health.
Among many other incredible speakers, we are honored to welcome Dr. Lily Peng (Google Health), Micky Tripathi (US National Health Information Technology Coordinator), Jane Sarasohn-Kahn (Economist at the health), Jeff Arnold (CEO, Sharecare), Dustin. DiTomasso (Mad * Pow) and Dr. Christina Jenkins (Phoenix Venture Fund) and many more at this year’s Digital Health Forum.
Interesting! That advance from the panelists generated an appetite for more details on the agenda. Can you share more about the event program?
Our panels cover a variety of topics in digital health ranging from the role of artificial intelligence as a health balancer to women’s health in relation to the post-pandemic health economy and solution design. from behavior change to the ever-maturing digital health investment market. Finally, just like last year, we are organizing a panel in which we bring together Bayer executives to discuss the role that digital health plays in the company’s commitment to a sustainable future.
There seems to be something for everyone at the Digital Health Forum. Which panel are you most personally excited about?
That’s a tough question because I’m looking forward to all the panels. However, if I must choose one, I will go to our panel “No Longer a Niche: The Rise of Digital Health in Capital Markets.” Digital health is growing now, exit activity is accelerating, and more traditional players are entering the field. These developments raise many questions about socially responsible investing, traditional investment banking supporting infrastructure and broadband access, raising capital, and much more.
All of that sounds very interesting and is worth participating. Sophie, how can our readers attend the Digital Health Forum?
We are pleased to welcome all stakeholders to our Digital Health Forum. The event will take place on September 9. As mentioned above, the conference is free and virtual. Everyone, regardless of income, time zone, geography or day of availability can join the Digital Health Forum. All you have to do is register as a participant through our online registration form.
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