Festival issues wake-up call for sustainable health


Health systems are being squeezed by ageing populations, overstretched health professionals, unsustainable costs and a failure to tackle disease prevention – and a new way of delivering care has to be found.

That was the theme of the Radical Health Festival, which was held in Helsinki, Finland, from the 12th to the 14th of June and brought together around 1,000 representatives from just about every part of the healthcare ecosystem to discuss how things can be changed for the better.

At the heart of the deliberations and discussion was the need to elevate the patient voice in healthcare – fostering patient empowerment and a patient-centred approach to healthcare – and the deployment of data, precision health approaches, and digital technologies like artificial intelligence to make healthcare more effective and sustainable.

Among the wide range of topics discussed was the importance of healthy ageing, which looked at how innovation and digital solutions, delivered holistically and in partnership with healthcare providers, can keep individuals healthy, active and productive as they get older.

Sessions looked at the emergence of digital therapeutics in terms of gathering evidence for their safety and efficacy and the need to overcome barriers to adoption and develop pathways to reimbursement that can help developers build viable businesses.

Delegates also heard how the power of data might be unleashed to personalise health services, improve patient outcomes by allowing prevention as well as earlier detection and treatment of disease, and accelerate R&D.

The inaugural event set out to “inspire radical steps for a healthy future, foster collaboration, stimulate change, and challenge the status quo," said Pascal Lardier of digital health agency editohealth, the Festival's content lead. It delivered on its promise, he added, and a second instalment is now planned for May 2024.

“The Radical Health Festival Helsinki has been an exceptional Gathering of minds,” said Juha Paakkola, director of Health Capital Helsinki, which was one of the supporters of the event along with the European Society of Cardiology, CHIME, Frontiers Health, EHTEL, COCIR, ECHAlliance, Healthtech Finland, Health-ISAC, the city of Helsinki, and pharmaphorum parent Healthware.

“The festival program has been of high quality, and the exhibition has been vibrant,” said Paakkola. “The event successfully achieved its goal of bringing together professionals and influencers with diverse perspectives on health matters. The most valuable aspects have been the out-of-the-box discussions and connections formed among diverse participants.”