We are still reflecting on last year’s MedTech event: The UK MedTech Innovation Assembly. The event was built to entrench partnerships and collaborations amongst those in the MedTech and HealthTech worlds.
The event brought together experts from the field to discuss an array of topics and challenges that are impacting the MedTech sector as we speak. One of these topics was the emerging field of AgeTech, uncovering how technological advancements in this sector can minimise the ailments that come alongside ageing.
The AgeTech Experts
The pace of population ageing is at its fastest rate in history. In 2020, the WHO stated that the number of people aged 60 years and older outnumbered children younger than 5 years.
The experts that were brought together to discuss this topic were:
This panel was chaired by Victoria Tomlinson, CEO at Next-Up, an advocate for the older generation, who runs a business that helps employers maximise the value of 50+ workers and promote unretirement.
Below we explore the key insight that was derived from the panel on the day.
What can we do as individuals to live healthier lives?
The healthcare system that exists today is very much focused on dealing with immediate problems and emergencies, rather than how we can make the population healthier and prevent illness from stemming in the first case.
Coco brought forward this point by saying that we should “shift from a reactive to a proactive model of medicine. And this can be driven by a bottom-up demand. People should go to their GP when they want to feel better or take healthy action, not just when they feel ill.”
Rachel Young explained how “we should make it our business to know what is going on with our community in terms of local activities. I believe GPs and rehab centres should be connected to local leisure centres; a great example of this is in Grimsby. Aside from this, I have some ‘one thing a day’ tips such as standing on one foot while brushing your teeth, placing items on high shelves so you have to actively reach for them, or taking two steps at a time on stairs.”
Wendy emphasised the importance of connection: “Connect with others, we are social beings and it’s key to us feeling purposeful and it can massively help our mental health.”
Rachael F. implored guests to carry a tune – “I encourage people who are cognitively fit to sing with non-cognitively fit people.”
Are you optimistic about the future of technology?
The next point of call was to explore the technology that can help aid ailments and what the future of AgeTech may look like.
- “Yes, I am optimistic about the future of technology, especially as we move to at-home medicines and wearables that make you take ownership of your care and stops the burden on the healthcare system.” – Coco
- “The interesting thing is technology can be brought into any environment. I think we should integrate technology into leisure centres that are appropriate for older adults.” – Rachel Y.
- Rachael F explores that ‘what could be’ question. “There’s not just ‘one future’ but ‘many futures’ and we need to decide which path we take.”
“I am optimistic about technologies that can elevate your mood and reduce the amount of medication that is required.”
- “Always” – Dr. Linda Mizun “If you’re putting people at the centre of the tech, then you’re going to get good results.”
Who needs to hear about AgeTech for systems to change?
Next up, an interesting question was brought forward by a guest in the audience.
To which the panel responded:
- “Medics, and the message has to come from companies with the data.” – Wendy
- “Silicon Valley or the UK equivalent” – Rachael F
- “Policymakers” – Coco
How do we make tech accessible to older generations?
Whilst there is incredible technology emerging, it is crucial that the people who need it most are able to access it for it to have the intended impact. But how do we ensure that is the case?
- “Co-design” – Coco
- “Make technology that people can actually use” – Rachel Y
- “Using powerful and meaningful research” – Rachael F
- “Make technology that is user-friendly, understand your audience, and come at it with a solution first mindset.” – Wendy
This is just a glimpse of the insight that was gained on the day. If you are interested in exploring more about last year’s MIA event, read more panel content, then register your interest below.