Health is Wealth 2018


This year, LHP's Health is Wealth series had a truly global set up as it took place at the International Business Festival. Bringing together leading experts from across the globe, the event's theme focussed on our collective role in shaping the future of Health and Life Sciences in Liverpool and beyond. Our round table discussions saw speakers engaging the audience in a range of topical debates - from the benefits of global partnerships, to the more contentious issue of the use of patient data in research.  

The day began with an expert panel, chaired by LHP's Neil Goodwin, discussing the conference theme, with a key debate on how best to foster innovation within the clinical trial process. Mike Farrar, of Mike Farrar Consulting and previously Chief Executive of NHS Confederation, emphasised the need to go above and beyond simply putting mechanisms in place, and focus on changing mindsets about the benefits that new technologies will bring; whilst Ben Bridgewater shared his experiences of developing Health Innovation Manchester. They were joined by Prof. Ma from Xi'an Taikang, the National Expert of Medical Education acknowledged by both China's Healthcare and Family Planning Committee and the Ministry of Education - his contribution gave real insight into the developments and challenges for health and life sciences across China.

We hope that audience members from our second session on Global Partnerships, who are themselves considering entering into global collaborations, will have gone away having gained some valuable insights and advice. Healthcare UK's Sophie Kennedy provided a comprehensive presentation on the support that their global office and team of experts can provide, and she was followed by Gary Disley from Cerno Health who demonstrated the 'ups and downs' of establishing businesses between countries. 

Michael Lurie, Director of International Education & Knowledge Exchange at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, took us through the different stages of building partnerships, highlighting the importance of taking the time to form a partnership that is both long-term and sustainable. In a similar vein, Director at China Design Centre, Ying Ying Tian presented key challenges such as the need to understand cultural differences, and establish mutual trust through ongoing work and communication. Rosalind Way, LHP's Chief Operating Officer then led a panel debate, bringing in questions from the audience, to flesh out the real "how tos" of global partnerships.

This session culminated with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between LHP and the Xi'an Taikang Hospital Management Group - a partnership that is set to bring a plethora of opportunities to the Liverpool City Region as well as supporting the developments in the Xi'an region. 

Our lunch discussions, sponsored and hosted by DLA Piper, kickstarted the debates surrounding the transformation of healthcare through technology. This session, chaired by Colin Sinclair, Executive Director at Liverpool Knowledge Quarter, acknowledged the inter-related factors that have led to the regeneration of this city. Indeed, Executive Director at Sensor City, Joanne Phoenix, cited their role in building connectivity amongst a range of businesses and individuals from across the region and further afield. 

Turning the conversation towards the future, Srinivasa Rao Vallabhaneni, Director at Liverpool Life Sciences Accelerator, provided us with some useful insights about where the developments of technology will lie, which encompass three main areas: personalised medicine, the opportunity to combine information and do more detailed analysis, and in responding to anxiety about an ageing population. Finally, Rosalind Way discussed the role LHP can play in supporting collaborative research developments and providing ease of access to those wanting to work with Liverpool organisations in health and life sciences.

This discussion naturally evolved into our following session on the role of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare - chaired by Bonella Ramsay, Partner at DLA Piper and Global Co-Chair for Life Sciences. Bonella expertly led a debate that centred around how collaboration is 'at the heart of AI', while Iain Hennessey, Clinical Director of Innovation at Alder Hey Children's Hospital, explored the ethics of exploiting it. 

Recognising that the hardest part is often getting to the root of the problem, Michael Gleaves, Deputy Director at Hartree Centre, offered some valuable solutions for speeding up collaboration among key stakeholders. Additionally, Ivan O'Dwyer, AI Business Architect at IBM Watson, deliberated ways of speeding up discovery of opportunities within AI, and 'making people's experiences healthier'. 

Throughout the day, we heard a range of predictions about the future of technology in healthcare. Certainly, DLA Piper Partner Mark O'Conor's forecast that in 3 years AI will be the primary way in which health queries will be made, will have made an impression on the health professionals in the audience. 

The day ended with a round-table debate on how we should use patient data for research, and speakers from diverse professional backgrounds brought a range of interesting perspectives to the table. Session chair, GP and clinical lead for iLinks Programme, Simon Bowers, highlighted how we're currently punching far below our weight in this area. Similarly, Marie Kane, Chief Operating Officer of North West EHealth, underlined the pressing need to fix the current, broken, clinical trial process by fostering further innovation. Marie also provided some excellent insights into projects that have been hugely successful in this arena that Liverpool could readily learn from.  

Cecil Kullu, Associate Medical Director for Research, Development and Innovation at Mersey Care NHS FT, provided a valued patient-centred perspective that questioned the best ways in which to engage people to better use their data. To do so, respected broadcaster, Roger Phillips, observed that challenges are something that Merseyside relishes in, and we are therefore well placed to take on the challenge of revolutionising the use of patient data for research.  

The session ended with all speakers agreeing that the NHS is in desperate need of innovation and evolution, and that LHP is the body to help find a solution to mobilise the appropriate use of patient data for research. Esteemed GP and strategist Chris Mimnagh unlocked the 'secret of appiness', and offered one promising solution whereby patients manage their own medical data with an app.  

It was a fascinating day and we are very grateful to everyone that attended, contributed, and communicated their ideas on how to nurture a future in which Liverpool flourishes as a global hub for health and life sciences.  As Robin Wiggs, Assistant Director of Business Development at Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital, insightfully put it; 'we've got some truly world-class institutions, and with the help of organisations like LHP we can make some truly world-class collaborations'. 


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