Faces of Digital Health

Faces of digital health is a podcast about digital health trends and how healthcare systems around the world adopt technology. The podcast steers away from American centricity in reporting about digital health. I believe this information can be helpful for healthcare entrepreneurs considering different global markets. It can give medical professionals and decision-makers insight into the latest digital health trends.

Cancer Series Ep.2: Cancer, Genomics and Data Science

This is the second episode in a special series about cancer, cancer care, accessibility and technologies related to cancer care.

The first episode focused on the current state of cancer care with a speaker from Canada – David J. Stewart, MD, FRCPC, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Ottawa and The Ottawa Hospital. David explained the current state of cancer care, IT in oncology and financial toxicity of a cancer diagnosis for patients. 

This, second episode, dives into genomics, the role of AI, and data science in oncology.

Speaker: Xose M. Fernandez, genomicist and up until recently the Chief Data Officer at Institut Curie in France, one of the leading medical, biological, and biophysical research centers in the world.  

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Cancer Series Ep. 1: Access to Care, Financial Toxicity and Healthcare IT in Oncology

There were an estimated 18.1 million cancer cases around the world in 2020, according to the World Cancer Research Fund International. According to the Comparator Report on Cancer in Europe 2020, the absolute number of people diagnosed with cancer rose around 50% in Europe over the past 20 years. However, the number of deaths only increased by 20%. The numbers show we’re making great strides in survival and treatments and early screenings. But because of the aging population, cancer care and prevention are rising global public health concerns. 

In the next few episodes, we’ll talk about cancer, cancer care, and technology, the role of data and IT for improved care and research, AI in the search for new therapies, but also about cancer survivorship: what happens to patients after they are cancer free, but unfortunately far from back to the life they had before cancer. 

Speaker in this episode is David J. Stewart, MD, FRCPC, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Ottawa and The Ottawa Hospital. David recently wrote a book titled: A sort primer on Why Cancer Still Sucks. Find the book: https://www.amazon.com/Short-Primer-Cancer-Still-Sucks/dp/0228871999 

David talked about the comparison of financial toxicity of cancer for patients in Canada and the US, and the challenges with drug development and access in the two countries; David also talked about his experience with healthcare digitalization and IT systems. 


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The Power Of At-Home Diagnostics and Prevention of STDs (Ash Wellness)

This episode explores the role of at-home diagnostic testing in managing and preventing sexually transmitted diseases. More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which include syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV hepatitis, and other infections, are acquired every day worldwide. The majority of STIs are asymptomatic early detection that much more important to prevent the spread of these diseases.

According to WHO, globally, 38.4 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2021. Science has advanced immensively to help treat and manage HIV. For over a decade, populations at risk can take preventative pills, which prevent HIV infections by over 99%. Unfortunately, access to this prophylaxis shouldn’t be taken for granted. In the US, prevention is supposed to be covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act. However, in September, a district court ruling in Texax potentially endangered this access. A Christian-owned company argued against the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that insurers and employers offer plans that cover PrEP for free. The argument was that this statutory provision “forces religious employers to provide coverage for drugs that facilitate and encourage homosexual behavior, prostitution, sexual promiscuity, and intravenous drug use.” The company won the case, and the ruling opened up concerns about what this will mean for future efforts and coverage for preventative health measures. 

In this – which was published before the Texas Court ruling -, you will hear from  Emma Rayer is the Head of Strategic Partnerships for Ash Wellness, a remote diagnostics solution. Ash Wellness supports traditional healthcare systems, universities, public health initiatives, and digital health companies in giving patients access to at-home sample collection kits that are then sent and analyzed in laboratories. 

Emma talked about the differences in the attitude towards testing for STIs in South Africa, where she grew up in and the US, where she lives now. She also explained how the Ash platform works, how is at-home diagnostics market evolving, and more. 


Recap of this episode: www.facesofdigitalhealth.com/blog/std-prevention-through-platform

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Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana: How is Medtronic Labs Redefining Chronic Disease Management

This is the second episode where we will discuss healthcare delivery in Africa. In the previous episode, the entrepreneur and regulatory advisor Herve Mwamba from South Africa talked about stereotypes and medical device regulation in Africa (Full transcript: https://www.facesofdigitalhealth.com/blog/medical-device-regulation-mdr-africa).

In this episode, you’re going to hear about an effort to manage non-communicable diseases in Africa better. Medtronic Labs is a nonprofit organization that works with governments and local communities in across Africa to create local ecosystems for the management of hypertension and diabetes. I spoke with Anne Stake, Chief Strategy and Product Officer at Medtronic Labs, who explained, how Medtronic Labs approached the African market, gaining of trust in the local communities and what challenges and innovations they observed on the ground in Kenya, Rwanda and Ghana.

Did you read our newsletter yet? We finally have one! It only comes out monthly, filled with information about insights in the last month. Do check it out here:

Newsletter: https://fodh.substack.com/

TRANSCRIPT: https://www.facesofdigitalhealth.com/blog/medtronic-labs-africa



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South Africa & Africa More Broady: What’s The State of Medical Device Regulation?

It’s September, it’s time for school and a new season of Faces of digital health podcast episodes. Faces of digital health strives to bring you an insight into digital health development across the world. We’re going to start this season in Africa. In this episode, South African entrepreneur, regulatory, and quality assurance consultant Herve Mwamba discusses the state of medical device regulation in South Africa and Africa more broadly, his observations about the consequences and problems related to the European Medical Device Regulation, his observation regarding innovation in Africa. 

This is the first of a few episodes where speakers talked about the African market, so do make sure to subscribe to the show to be notified about other episodes automatically. In the next episode you’ll hear about chronic disease management in Kenya and Ghana, provided by Medtronic Labs, and after that, a discussion about the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and how that can be improved with the rise of at-home testing.

BTW – did you read our newsletter yet? We finally have one!  It only comes out monthly, filled with information about insights in the last month. Do check it out here:

Newsletter: https://fodh.substack.com/



What Makes Hospital Medication Management Complex? (Talking Healthtech Summit)

There are “five rights” of medication use: the right patient, the right drug, the right time, the right dose, and the right route. It might seem obvious, but in practice, an error can occur at the level of each of these “right”s. 

Unsafe medication practices and medication errors are leading cause of injury and avoidable harm in health care systems worldwide. According to WHO, the cost associated with medication errors has been estimated at $42 billion annually globally. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare estimates that between 2% and 3% of all Australian hospital admissions are medication-related. In the UK, it is estimated that adverse drug reactions account for 10-20% of hospital in-patient admissions, according to the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s National Overprescribing Review, which was published in September 2021.

This episode is a recording of a panel discussion at the Talking Healthtech Winter Summit in Australia in August. The panel session you’re about to hear is focused on medication management in the hospital setting. It will give you an overview of: 

  • the current problems with medications in the hospital setting, 
  • why are decision support systems suboptimal, 
  • what it takes to implement healthcare IT in the hospital setting. 



Talking Healthtech Winter Summit: https://www.talkinghealthtech.com/summit 


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