This week, I had the good fortune to attend the North American Healthcare Forum 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. The event was hosted by Enterprise Ireland, a government organization that helps Irish companies grow and develop world markets. This particular event brought key players from the U.S. and Canada healthcare systems to connect with Irish medical technology companies. While the total population of Ireland is only about the size of Philadelphia, it is a leader in the medical technology industry. One out of four diabetes injection kits are made there, and a third of all contact lenses come from Ireland.
The two-day conference was packed with useful information, and I met with a number of intriguing new Irish companies. The presentation that stuck with me the most, however, was by Michael Dowling, who was born in Ireland and is currently the President and CEO of Northwell Health: the largest healthcare provider in New York State serving more than 7 million residents through a network of 21 hospitals along with other facilities.
My favorite quote from Dowling’s speech was the following; “Feed the positive message about healthcare.” I am admittedly a Pollyanna cheerleader for innovation in healthcare and technology, but I’m the first to admit that the media covers a lot of negative stories about medicine and healthcare. We hear about tainted medications, about how much doctors hate electronic health record systems, about how little time healthcare professionals get to spend with patients, and the skyrocketing costs of healthcare insurance and treatments.
As a result, it’s easy to lose sight of how far medicine has come just the last 10 to 20 years. Open heart surgery is rare; most procedures now are minimally invasive relying on tiny incisions. Stents have saved countless heart attack patients. Hepatitis C used to be a life-long chronic disease; now it can be eradicated. And diabetes patients now have the option of constant monitors and wearable insulin pumps that reduce or eliminate the need for finger sticks and manual injections. Even smartphone apps are now being approved as medical devices and prescribed as treatment for a variety of conditions.
We cover wearable and mobile devices for health and medical applications at Health Tech Insider, so we get to tell the stories about many new products, services, and technologies that deliver better outcomes to patients, save lives, and help lower healthcare costs at the same time. I’d like to think that we follow Dowling’s instruction to “feed the positive message,” as there are many positive stories to be told in this industry.
[If your company has a positive story to be told, please let me know about it. Write to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.]