eHealth Conference in Tallinn

by James Kennedy
RPP Group's learnings at the eHealth Conference in Tallinn

Estonian Presidency event - Why eHealth is not getting passed pilot projects

Last week as a representative of RPP Group I was sponsored by the Estonian Presidency of the Council to participate in their event on eHealth in Tallinn.

The room was filled with so many obviously good technologies that I struggled to understand how their uptake was not more widespread.

A break-out session featuring Virtual Reality technologies threw reality into sharp relief with a demonstration of how panelists hoped to make their new surgery assist tool more widely used.

My question “How do you market your product without running into health claims issues?” was met with a somewhat concerned look. I made the point that as long as you are calling your device an assist, that is perfectly fine – it remains an educational tool for healthcare professionals. But even if you have the data, the second you make a health claim like "can reduce adverse events by 20%" now you have made it a medical device and you must prove it through a clinical trial. The answer was “well yes that’s a challenge”…you bet it is!

The disconnect between software developers and the healthcare industry revealed at this conference is stark to say the least. The newest actors in healthcare are a group of visionaries who are attempting to market and sell VR systems for advanced cardiac surgery the same way they would for a playstation in the consumer sector. A lack of understanding of health claims, of regulatory systems and of reimbursement is what is holding back their products from going beyond pilots.            

It’s not easy to get into the heavily regulated field of health policy but if you are serious about getting proper market uptake of your eHealth product you best start looking into it. Or better yet – contact those who know all about promoting new tech in a complex regulatory environment @RPP-Group!

For those of you in eHealth, deciding whether or not to get up to speed on health policy today will dictate what you will be saying in saying in a decade. Will it be “welcome to our 10th annual global meeting” or “that was a fun pilot project”.