19 Sep 2014

Healthcare hacks. What are we looking for?

By Lily

As we open applications for Bethnal Green Ventures Winter programme, we wanted to got into some more detail about the kind of things that we would like to invest in. Starting with Healthcare…

Over the coming decades healthcare faces huge challenges: a rapidly ageing polulation with increasing healthcare demands, the spread of highly contagious diseases, an increasingly inactive and obese population; all of these compounded by swingeing spending cuts. We believe that technology is one route to saving money while improving health outcomes. Some examples of themes we’d like to invest in are:

Radical efficiency of healthcare: The NHS was developed at the height of the bureaucratic age and although it has suffered from almost constant restructuring, it has rarely become less expensive. With smart use of technology we think there is great potential for better services that cost less.

Prevention engines: We all know prevention is better than cure, yet almost all of us wait until it’s too late before we do anything about it. The problem is that public services (in particular healthcare) generally only know about people when it’s too late. We’re looking for services that help get to people before they know they need help.

Tackling loneliness: Changes in the way our towns and cities are organised, family structures and work have led to a rise in mental health problems – often linked to the number and quality of social relationships people have. Technology is just as good at helping people meet people in the real world as it is at helping them meet online. We’re looking for technology that can help build real world communities.

Customised Healthcare: With the rise of small scale digital manufacturing, and the low cost of software we can start making devices and services designed around their users rather than mass manufactured and imposed from above. We’re looking for technological solutions that put the patient at the center rather than the periphery.

Keeping Moving: The obesity crisis is costing healthcare services billions each year, even though technology is often blamed for our inactivity it can also be a great motivator! We’re looking for technology that shifts behaviour patterns and gets people moving and eating healthily.

Examples of companies we’ve backed in this area: Good Gym, DrDoctor, Written MedicineFlowy, Talk LifeSee What I Mean, Andiamo, HearToday, Change Alert


Photo from Gates Foundation Flikr