As both mainstream medicine and personalised therapeutics go through fundamental change, leading entrepreneurs provide their vision of the future

We’re at a crossroads when it comes to traditional healthcare across Europe. In a world of an ageing population and rising costs, healthcare systems are at a breaking point. Barriers are put in people’s way and stop them from getting the support they need, be that financial barriers, lack of knowledge or even time pressures.

We see a future where technology is embraced to make consultations more efficient, safer and better for the patient in order to give time back to both doctors and patients. At Zava we believe that people will always be at the heart of healthcare which is why our digital platform has been designed in collaboration with a twenty-strong clinical team and each consultation, though facilitated by technology, is overseen and approved by a human.

In the coming years, it will become normalised for patients to seek primary healthcare online, and that cost and time efficiency will determine how we take care of ourselves. We envisage a world where a patient’s first port of call is heading online to solve a health concern, and only when they need to physically see a GP will they head to a local practice or A&E.

David Meinertz, CEO & Co-Founder of Zava

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Chronic diseases are some of the UK’s biggest killers, and the world’s too. Our reactive care, prescriptive public health messaging, and pharmaceuticals worked well for the previous era of medicine, but it’s time to look at the data and agree that we all, as healthcare providers, governments and society, can do better.

Technology like the Atlas Biomed tests does just that. Our DNA and Microbiome Tests can identify previously inaccessible health risks. Not to mention, dysbiosis, a term used to describe negative alterations in the gut microbial ecosystem that is linked to chronic inflammation and the diseases that cost the most to healthcare systems and lay a heavy burden on the patients and families.

New technologies make it possible, even advisable, to tailor individual evidence-based prevention strategies using genomics, the gut microbiome, lifestyle changes and nutraceuticals. By combining the research with personalised DNA testing, gut microbiota analyses – and in the future electronic health records, wearables and other commonplace tech – we will be able to identify areas of risk that are static (like genes) and act on those that are modifiable, like diet, exercise and stress – before people fall ill.

Sergey Musienko, CEO of Atlas Biomed

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For too long the conversation around mental health has been focused on metal ill-health – services designed to help people are hard to reach and severely resource limited. This model does not work – people receive support too late or not at all. We live in a world where 1 in 4 of us have a mental health problem – most commonly anxiety and depression. Mental health problems can severely impact on our life quality and ability to contribute fully to society. They are also the leading cause of absenteeism, presenteeism and staff turn over in the workplace. This situation has to change.

In all areas of health care we know that prevention is better that cure and that early intervention is better than late intervention. Mental health is something we have for our entire life – it exists on a spectrum. We need to nurture it throughout our life – after all it is our most precious and uniquely human asset – in fact we need to celebrate it. By working on our mental health preventatively we will also ensure we catch problems early when they emerge – this allows effective early intervention.

With digital health a new dawn has risen for mental health. Digital can provide personalised, scalable and affordable mental health support ensuring that everyone gets the right care at the right time for their minds. It also lends itself well to scientific research – science must remain a central tenant to all digital platforms. Using digital we can finally reach parity with dental and physical health.

At Unmind, a mental health platform for the workplace, we enable employees to look after their mental health proactively. We also aggregate and anonymise the data of organisations allowing their mental health strategy to become data driven. We are proud to partner with leading organisations such as Just Eat, William Hill and the John Lewis Partnership.

Dr Nick Taylor, CEO & Co-Founder of Unmind

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In 2050, mental and physical health will no longer be seen as separate.

In recent years a raft of exciting developments took place in our understanding of how the brain dictates physical responses. In 2018, researchers made a breakthrough case that the placebo effect may not rely on trickery, but is likely a measurable molecular response to the feeling of being cared for. Hypnotherapy has recently been shown to be the most effective way of relieving IBS symptoms, by directly rewiring how the brain interprets pain signals from the gut. And talking therapy is now understood to work as well as antidepressants , by creating long-term changes to personality traits like emotional stability and neuroticism.

How we experience the world is largely a function of what we pay attention to, which is in turn determined by our values and goals . Through talking therapy we can literally rewire how we experience reality. Therapy is therefore not a medicine prescribable to those in crisis; it is a tool that should be used by anyone with a brain and a body wanting greater understanding of their own reality. That’s why Spill was set up: to give everyone in the world access to a therapist.

Gavin Dhesi, CEO & Co-Founder of Spill

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Chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, or diabetes are expensive and difficult to treat, taking up the majority of healthcare time and money for manual treatments and prescriptions. Finding a better form of treatment has the potential to revolutionise care for millions of people and relieve pressure on our healthcare system.

Neural interfaces and AI-based treatments offer a new alternative and represent the future of chronic care. If we think of DNA as the body’s hard drive, the nervous system is like your body’s internet. A lot of diseases are caused by faults in the nervous system, so if we can correct those signals by tapping into the nervous system whether in the brain, spine, or peripheral nervous system like the organs, then we can correct all kinds of diseases seamlessly and individually by prescribing algorithms, not pills.

This new form of treatment will create a whole new relationship between patients and doctors, and redefine what being in medicine actually means, where doctors can get real-time updates on patients and alerts if something is wrong. Not only will this revolutionise how patients are treated, but it will also help democratise and improve the quality of care on a global scale.

Oliver Armitage, Co-Founder and CSO of BIOS

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