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2017 UCL MedTech Conference: where entrepreneurship and medicine meet

1 March 2017

2017 UCL MedTech Conference: a round-up from the sold-out event

The 2017 UCL MedTech Conference, a free annual event focused on entrepreneurship in the medical field organised by UCL students, was a resounding success with a 250-strong audience enjoying talks delivered by top figures from medtech and digital health.

The conference, which was held last Saturday (25 February), kicked off with a talk from Harry Thirkettle who described his own journey in medicine and medtech, and how medical training is starting to accommodate innovative individuals with programmes such as the Clinical Entrepreneur Programme.

Thomas Balkizas, Executive Lead of IBM Watson Healthcare, delivered a talk on the changes that healthcare might see with increasing clinical insight being provided by machine learning algorithms, a theme next discussed from an entrepreneur’s viewpoint by Matteo Berlucchi, co-founder and CEO of Your.MD. The morning’s talks wrapped up with serial entrepreneur Barry Shrier imbuing the audience with the kind of confidence that is required for successful moonshots.

After the morning talks, attendees and speakers alike gathered for a networking lunch to refuel for the afternoon’s workshops. In their workshop, Harry Thirkettle and Ashish Patel took attendees through recent trends in digital health (or rather, computational health), highlighting opportunities for future start-ups. The audience got to fill out their very own Lean Canvas plan, contemplating their targeted problem and its solution along with aspects like customer segmentation and cost structure.

Claudia Orrell from MedTech Engine provided a tour of Digital Marketing in a medtech context. In this workshop the audience’s ideas were used in examples of how to optimise the ways of engaging different stakeholders.

Data problems in healthcare

UCLU TechSoc led a workshop in Python and how to use it to tackle data problems—an increasingly prominent issue in modern, data-driven healthcare. After a brief introduction to the programming language, attendees were challenged to come up with solutions to tough data problems.

The team behind the 2017 UCL MedTech Conference

Workshops were followed by a panel discussion featuring Jack Kreindler, Ashish Patel, Avi Mehra and James Somauroo. Moderator Mark Jenkins did not shy away from controversial topics and engaged the panellists with a series of interesting questions that received very honest answers.

The pros and cons of different healthcare systems were evaluated and ways of putting the NHS on a sustainable trajectory were discussed, along with the roles that fledgling start-ups play in the medtech field. A Q&A session then allowed the audience to ask their own questions from the panel.

Capping off a day packed with learning and inspiration, Jack Kreindler gave a heart-felt talk on what it means to be a medical innovator and how to go about improving medical practice.

Great feedback

The UCL MedTech team would like to extend our warmest thanks to all attendees—after all it is the attendees who make the conference. We received great feedback from our speakers with Matteo Berlucchi describing the conference as “a great platform for anyone in the industry to go and inspire a hungry group of passionate people who are clearly willing to make a positive difference in the world."

Thomas Balkizas said, “The participation from the audience brings every presentation to life: there is a new generation of doctors who will become expert technologists and transform the way medicine is delivered.”

It is thanks to our partners and sponsors that we were able to keep our growing conference free to attend for everyone, which is something we highly value.

Enormous thanks are of course also owed to all of our speakers, workshop leads and panellists who dedicated their spare time to come inspire our eager audience.

We look forward to working with them and other medical entrepreneurs in the future to keep bringing the medtech community a free annual event acting as a platform for learning and networking at all stages of an entrepreneur’s journey.

While waiting for next year’s conference, keep up with our other events on the UCLU Medical Society Enterprise and Innovation Facebook page.

Otso Pelkonen, UCLU Medical Society Enterprise and Innovation