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30th Nov 2023

Child HealthTech: The Pinnacle of Preventative Care 

Jessica Farrow

 Our MedTech Innovation Assembly event took place on the 2nd of November at Nexus (University of Leeds). This full-day event included 10 panels, one being ‘Child HealthTech: The Pinnacle of Preventative Care’. This panel’s focus was to explore this emerging and often overlooked area of HealthTech, understand how entrepreneurs can enter this space, and what they need to consider before they do.  

The Panel

The panel encompassed experts from the field who each specialise in different facets of the Child HealthTech arena, and was chaired by Jacob Branchflower, Project Manager at NIHR Children and Young People MedTech Co-operative at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. 


Speakers included: 

  • Maddie Julian – CEO & Co-Founder of Digibete  
  • Perninder Dahadwar – CEO of Innovate Health 
  • Sander ten Veldhuijs – Director of Operations at Helicon Health 

What is the importance of developing HealthTech solutions for children?

MedTech in all divisions helps to propel patient experience, and Child HealthTech is no different, supporting children and young people with a range of solutions to enhance care.  

Child HealthTech is an expansive field that supports so many areas, and to kick off the panel discussion, the panellists spoke about their solutions and why it’s so critical for MedTech companies to tailor unique solutions for young people and children.  

Digibete provides a video platform and app that acts as a one-stop shop for young people’s diabetes management. Helicon Health delivers a clinically supported asthma medication adherence solution. And Innovate Health support companies with their product development and have facilitated the creation of the Baby Check application that helps new parents check symptoms.   

When delving into the importance of developing solutions for the younger generations, common themes emerged around how it can transform their care for life and enable it to be more proactive. Furthermore, it takes into consideration a wider context than just physical care; it supports their mental health, and it creates a more supportive environment by educating the people around them.  

Why is it important to include children in MedTech/ HealthTech Design?

The next question examined the value of having children and young people actively involved in the development process. Jacob began with context on the current situation by saying, “Child HealthTech has been neglected for far too long, and we need to ensure going forward solutions are developed with them and not for them.” 

 Sander echoed this outlook by saying, “Often people come into Child HealthTech assuming they can just make their solution smaller, instead of building something entirely for children.”

Unlike other MedTech solutions that are used on an individual basis, HealthTech solutions in the child space involve a much wider user group. Users in this area include the children and young people as primary users, but also parents, family members, carers, and even teachers.  

All of those on the panel agreed that it is critical to involve all stakeholders and users as early as possible. Not only this, but to also consider the full context of a child’s or young person’s life circumstances as this could have a considerable impact on the design of the solution. 


“We need to consider the environment a child is in, both at home and in school as supporting them with a long-term condition through a HealthTech solution may be irrelevant if their basic needs such as being fed aren’t being met – we must take into account Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Beyond this, we must understand if our technology is creating more inequality.”

Maddie Julian 

What are the challenges faced when developing HealthTech solutions for children?

We understand that delivering solutions in this space is crucial to building a more preventative care system, but of course it does not come without its challenges.  


As with many areas of children’s lives, adherence isn’t as strong as it would be amongst adults. For Child HealthTech this must be considered, and companies in this sector should consider pilot projects to understand how solutions can be adapted to boost adherence.  

Maddie explored this topic by saying: 

“When children refuse to take insulin or take medication it becomes difficult. We must consider the children’s mindset and support them and focus on early intervention when it comes to mental health support.” 

Collecting Data  

For long-term conditions, the symptoms can feel embarrassing for young people and therefore tracking them correctly and speaking about them could be difficult and Perninder explains how gamification has supported them to overcome this challenge.   

“Chronic bowel conditions in young people are difficult and may not be a topic they want to discuss, and we found implementing a gamification approach has been effective in combatting this and collecting actionable data.”  

Compared to other MedTech fields, the Child HealthTech area is underserved, but one that has expanding possibilities. As passionately described by the panel, there is so much value to be gained by delivering beneficial, user-led solutions to the market, and one that can alter a company’s perspective on solution design.  


The UK MedTech Innovation Assembly fostered numerous insightful discussions such as this one. To explore more, visit our event page.