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How we found inspiration from Amsterdam’s healthcare sector

· Insight

Some organisations have taken these uncertain times as a sign to slow down to re-evaluate their plans and missions – and it’s always good to take time to reflect and recharge. We at EdenFrost have certainly helped many of our clients find new stories for them to follow and share as they move forward.

Slowing down vs speeding up

But others, like those working in health and healthcare, have had no choice but to speed up and face up to – and act on – immediate challenges. Through our work with the City of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Science Park, Smart Health Amsterdam and other active players in the local life sciences and health scene, we’ve got to witness first-hand a galvanised sector rewriting the future of medicine – and doing it at lightning speed. These front row seats have given us the warm-fuzzies – and a lot to think about.

We are being fast-forwarded to the future.

Innovation overdrive

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve written numerous stories on the accelerated development of new diagnostics, medicines and vaccines in the face of COVID-19 – driven by people out to have impact and make the world a better and healthier place.

And whether we are talking to the director of an esteemed research academy, a young MedTech entrepreneur, or an experienced policymaker, we’re getting the same quote again and again: “We are seeing innovations taking hold in months, when otherwise it would have taken years.”

In other words, we are being fast-forwarded to the future.

More collaboration for the common good

This acceleration is largely thanks to people coming together. Private companies are no longer hoarding their data. Public hospitals are seeing each other more as colleagues instead of competitors. And patients are only too happy to share their anonymised data – if it’s for the common good. In other words, people are collaborating more than ever to develop new methods to help each other.

And the results have been dizzying, which has inspired yet others to push their long-held ambitions forward. For example, we helped formulate the argument that now is the time for a unified data infrastructure – as opposed to some vague point in the future.

Accelerate to slow down

Similarly: “Telemedicine is here to stay – everyone likes it a lot. It would have happened anyway over the next decade. But we’ve had the incentive to make it happen now,” as Dr Philip Scheltens, the founder and director of the Alzheimer’s Centre Amsterdam, told us recently.

“And it turns out to be great for the patient: using video conferencing, we go over their chart together. Spouses and children can join in, we all drink tea and have a nice intimate conversation about what matters most.”

And that’s a story: slowing down to appreciate each other – thanks to fast-forwarded tech.

By Steve Korver, Senior Editor

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