In this interview Sophie Park, Chief Strategist at Bayer G4A, talks about the pandemic’s effect on the digital health landscape, digital health’s promise of Health Equity and Bayer G4A’s upcoming Digital Health Forum.
G4A is Bayer’s digital health partnerships and investments team dedicated to scaling digital health companies to change the experience of health. To attain this goal, G4A works with startups, innovation groups, commercial partners, thought leaders, health systems, and public institutions to accelerate and expand digital health innovations. In that context, G4A is offering opportunities for early stage to advance digital health companies to partner with Bayer.
Sophie, Covid-19 has clearly opened everyone eyes on the need to better our healthcare systems and raised awareness for digital health solutions. From your perspective, did the pandemic accelerate digital health on a long-term basis?
Clearly, the Covid-19 crisis spurred a momentum for digital health. During the crisis, I have observed two dynamics which advanced digital health in a never before seen pace.
On the one side, the needed adoption of digital health tools led to a mindset shift and more openness among health consumers and providers. The pandemic was a great chance for many people to get familiar with digital health tools and acknowledge their value. Covid-19 made it clear to individuals that their own health is a personal responsibility as well. Therefore, people more actively took care of their own health(care) and became more open to collect and securely share healthcare data. I believe that all these factors will lead to increasing use of digital health tools also in post-Covid times.
On the other hand, the pandemic exposed the pain points of our healthcare systems. The quality of care one gets 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 reach health equity and better health access. 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 goal. Not only is it Bayer G4A’s leading vision it also is the title of this year’s Digital Health Forum hosted by G4A on September 9th. Why did you choose that theme for this year’s event?
Our Digital Health Forum is meant to be a platform for the digital health community and everyone who is passionate about health sustainability, access, and equity. Therefore, we are bringing a wide range of digital health stakeholders in one place to discuss the most pressing and trending issues in the field. Health for all through digital health is not a sure-fire success. We need to carefully think about how to build solutions and how to implement them to not only provide better healthcare to a small group of privileged individuals but 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 insights into how we can best harness the potential of digital health for the greater good. I am very happy and proud that after last year’s success we again created a forum at the cutting edge of recent developments in the field of digital health.
That sounds amazing. Indeed, last year’s Digital Health Forum was a full success and this year’s will be too, for sure. What makes the Digital Health Forum so attractive? What is your secret sauce?
What is truly special about our Digital Health Forum is that the virtual form-factor, no-cost ticket price, and self-navigation experience reflects the healthcare experience we wish the world to adopt. Health matters to all of us and that is why we invite everyone to get engaged and attend the forum.
On top of that, we invited a unique mix of stakeholders to the forum ranging from government officials, over investors to Bayer executives who will all share their vision on the future of digital health.
Among many other amazing speakers, we are honored to welcome Dr. Lily Peng (Google Health), Micky Tripathi (U.S. National Coordinator for Health Information Technology), Jane Sarasohn-Kahn (Health Economist), 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.
How exciting! That sneak peek on the panelists created appetite for more details about the agenda. Can you share more about the event’s program?
Our panels cover a variety of topics in digital health ranging from AI’s role as the health equalizer to women’s health in relation to health economics in the post-pandemic times and design of behavior change solutions to the constantly maturing digital health investment market. Finally, just as last year, we are hosting a panel where we bring together Bayer executives to discuss the role digital health plays in the company’s commitment to a sustainable future.
Sounds as if there is something for everyone at the Digital Health Forum. Which panel are you personally most excited about?
That is a tough question because I am looking forward to all the panels. However, if I must choose one, I will go for our panel “No Longer Niche: The Rise of Digital Health in Capital Markets”. Digital health is growing up now, exit activity is accelerating and more traditional players are entering the field. These developments raise a lot questions about socially responsible investments, traditional investment banking supporting infrastructure and broadband access, raising capital and much more.
That all sounds highly interesting and very much worth it to participate. Sophie, how can our readers attend the Digital Health Forum?
We are happy to welcome everyone interested at our Digital Health Forum. The event is taking place on September 9th. As mentioned earlier, 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 to sign up as a participant via our online registration form.