Dear fellow digital health enthusiasts, 

It’s only Wednesday but we already have the #facepalm of the week: Medical images of millions of patients are easily accessible online, a collaboration of Res Publica and Bayerischer Rundfunk found. The imaging data (x-rays, MRIs) also includes birthdates, names and social security numbers. To access, all you need is a web browser. The data is on servers that lack simple security measurements, like passwords.

Clinical trials are one of pharma’s most painful and costly processes. Our friend Jan, MD at Accenture, shared a report about the future of clinical trials. It is a comprehensive, but precise summary of pharma’s current challenges (e.g. 80% of trials are delayed due to recruitment problems) and thus presents various venture opportunities (in case you are looking for inspiration). For instance: Contextual information like patient-to-patient communication on online platforms offers huge potential to improve the process but presents privacy risks. Additionally, pharma is looking at how tech may change the nature of drugs and trial design (e.g. precision medicine, stay-at-home trials). [≈ 10min if you read quickly 😉]

Depression and anxiety is not just an individual burden, but also a cost to the global economy (USD 1tn per year in lost productivity). Employers are more and more aware. There are countless apps promising treatment, however a majority lacks any form of clinical validation. Kristian Ranta, CEO of Meru Health, a mental health app, recently published criteria to evaluate mental health solutions for employees. He highlights – among others – the importance of clinical validation, accessibility (a majority of the affected do not seek treatment) and privacy, as employees fear discrimination. [≈ 5min]

Closing as always with the quote of the week, this time from Adam Neumann, CEO of WeWork, after closing the Softbank investment deal in March 2017: «Masa [CEO of Softbank] turns to me and asks, ‘In a fight, who wins: The smart guy or the crazy guy? I say, ‘Crazy guy,’ and he looks at me and says: ‘You are correct, but you and your co-founder are not crazy enough’» 

If you come across an interesting study / article, please feel free to share with us. Highly appreciated.

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Have a productive week,

Dominik & Min-Sung