top of page
plain pattern no tagline.png

A New Universe of Health Tech

July 17, 2023 - By Jennifer Ringler, MS


When most people think of health tech, they might think of smart watches that track your calories, your heart rate, or how well you sleep. If they know a little bit about the industry, they might also know that health tech can be remote monitoring devices for metrics like blood pressure, blood sugar, and pulmonary function, or apps to help manage mental health and track what you eat.

What many people do not know – and what I didn’t know until I attended the HITLAB Innovators Summit at Columbia University for three days in June – is that there’s an entire universe of health tech out there beyond wearables, weight-loss apps, and blood pressure cuffs.

Smart glasses that let surgeons share what they’re seeing during live surgery remotely with specialists who can help guide them. Comfortable shirts that contain sensors that measure cardiovascular and pulmonary performance that astronauts are using right now at the International Space Station. Fully personalized, 3D printed gynecological prosthetics for pelvic health conditions. The universe of digital health and medical technology solutions has as many potential applications as there are stars in the sky. Like our universe, it stretches on, bigger and further than almost bigger than the human mind can conceive of. And there’s so much more left to explore and discover.

Luckily, the most brilliant minds, who ARE conceiving of all these ideas (and more), had the opportunity to gather for three days in New York for the HITLAB Innovators Summit. There, I got to meet not only the CEOs, founders, and innovators of these companies, products, apps, and solutions, but also to networks with venture capitalists, scientists, lawyers, contract research organizations, regulators, and so many other stakeholders from across the industry. The presentations, panels, and networking  cocktail receptions (one of which was co-sponsored by yours truly, ReadHealthy Communications, on a beautiful rooftop bar on a perfect summer evening), were all equally valuable, and I walked away from every presentation I heard and every conversation I had inspired, excited, and knowing more than I had moments ago.

Presentation and panel topics included AI and machine learning, value-based care, DE&I, business partnerships, virtual care in oncology, prescription digital therapeutics, women’s health, digital biomarkers, connected health devices, supply chain, health disparities, telehealth, empowering consumers, and so much more. Here, in no particular order, are some of the most memorable quotes and insights I captured during the event:

  • “Pharma companies are data companies. The molecule you’re working on means nothing if you don’t have the data to show it’s effective.” — Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, CEO, Hexoskin

  • “Medical algorithms are failing communities of color.” — Dr. David Berger, CEO, SUNY Downstate Medical Center

  • “Patients and end users should have a say in the development process of digital health tools.” — Dr. Sachin Shah, Global Medical Partner, Digital Health & Devices, Haleon

  • “Reimbursement for remote patient monitoring remains a challenge.” — Syed (Ziggy) Arfeen, VP of Strategy & Operations, Hospital for Special Surgery

  • “There are over a billion health-related questions asked into Google alone, every day, around the world.” — Julia Walsh, CEO of Brand Medicine International

  • “Build bridges. I’ve seen so many teams and companies fail because everyone was working in operational silos. There’s nothing wrong with trying to break those barriers and work with different people to make magic happen.” — Olivier Rabenschlag, Founding Partner, Chapter 3 Capital

  • “One of the main difficulties I’ve faced in sitting around the table with predominantly male investors is convincing them that 50% of the population isn’t ‘niche.’” — Inara Lalani, Co-founder & CEO, FemTherapeutics

  • “When you look at decentralized clinical trials through the lens of health equity, they allow for much greater access for diverse populations.” — Julie Kim, President, U.S. Business Unit at Takeda,

  • “Patients seeing objective measurements and seeing what is and isn’t working for them over time is huge. It gives you a good idea of what your personal baseline is, and if you see that data change, it can be a good motivator to speak to your doctor, get treatment, or change behavior.” — Gabriella Francis, OTR/L, ATC, CEO, MySquegg

Overall, the HITLAB Innovation Summit was an inspiring, eye-opening, and fun event that has left me with information, ideas – and, hopefully, relationships – that will last far into my future, as I get the privilege of following the journeys of the innovators I met and the products they’re creating to shape the future of our industry.

plain pattern no tagline.png
bottom of page