Why do we need a Horse Tech Conference? (Backgrounder)

On the 15th June 2017 details of the inaugural Horse Tech Conference were announced at a networking event held during London Tech Week. For the producer of the event (David Doherty) the event was born out of a 30 year journey using wearable sensor technology with racing animals and a career in the human side of medicine:



Welcome to the launch of the Horse Tech Conference here at London Tech Week.

The Horse Tech Conference will be held on Wednesday, 18 October 2017 at the Royal veterinary College in Royal College Street Camden and will bring together Vets, Trainers, Technologists, Investors, Hackers and the Owners of Horses.

Visit HorseTechConference.com for a copy of these slides and a recording of this talk or if you’ve any questions, want to get involved or have some ideas to share with us.

In this introduction to the event I’ll first introduce myself and why I’m producing the horse tech conference. I’ll then share details about the conference and what you can expect from participating either with us at the Royal Veterinary College in London or via the free online live-stream of the event. I’ll then go on to talk about some of the exciting opportunities for you to be involved.

So to kick off I’m David Doherty and I studied University College London medical school

in 2006 I cofounded a service called 3G Doctor.

We provide Patients in the UK and Ireland with mobile video consultations with Registered doctors 24x7x365. I author the mHealth Insight blog and a decade ago I coined the term mHealth to explain the convergence of healthcare to the Mobile that we’re increasingly seeing and as a result of that I’ve been hired as a mHealth consultant to the world’s biggest mobile brands, medical, pharma and technology companies as well as healthcare organisations.

My experiences with medical technology started 30 years ago when my older brother was a Royal veterinary College student publishing his elective final paper.

The title was the predictive value of ECG for racing greyhounds.

In 1986 this was the machine he was using, it cost more than a decent car at the time

and it was mains powered, the animal needed to be clipped,

when running the machine consumed these expensive consumable electrodes and rolls of paper.

I was lucky to get the chance to be involved in his work because I had better technology than my older brother. He was using this Casio electronic typewriter

and I as a completely geeky 10-year-old had convinced my father to buy me a computer on the grounds that I could do word processing that would help my brother with his studies. I had to buy the joystick myself…

What is incredible is that today I can do the same research, dictate and publish it using just the mobile phone in my pocket and this little accessory from a company called Alivecor – the worlds first made for mobile ECG machine, the world’s most inexpensive and easiest to use ECG machine.

With a waterproof seal I can even use this machine underwater as shown here videoed with my Google Glass of course.

The technology can also be converted into a wearable sensor that collects continuous recordings of the animals vital signs in this case is it being used integrated into a buoyancy aid that the Greyhound is wearing while doing some rehabilitation exercises in the aqua-treadmill at my brothers surgery.

This picture is taken in my back yard in Ireland and here you can see the same technology but this time it’s being used to continuously monitor a few racehorses. If you have technology you’d like me to validate don’t waste anytime reaching out as this is my hobby and with my little lab I’ve done some fascinating work over the years under Veterinary supervision. The most fun was developing a product that could image a horses eyes when running. It’s not dissimilar to the Google Glass product that you’ve probably all seen but on focused on understanding horses better.

I hope everyone here at London Tech Week has checked out the Internet of things conference next door because the Internet is no longer something that we click on and this is going to transform medicine – something you can learn more about by clicking on the link on this slide and reading this interview I gave to Medical News Today on this topic.

The human Medical record industry is a complete mess. It frequently hits the headlines because of these widespread vulnerabilities and illegal hacking incidents but I think we will look back and be shocked not at so much at the activities of these criminals but that patients were never being given access to the data in the first place. How bizarre is it that for most of us it’s probably cheaper and easier to get our healthcare records from criminals than the Hospitals?

I blogged recently about the experience described by Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive of the Macmillan Cancer Support. This lady described how her puppy here in London is getting more joined up healthcare records then her daughter who had some serious health issues and was been treated in NHS hospitals. I think this tells us lots about the appetite for using data with Vets in contrast to Medics.

But it’s also fascinating when you realise that this cancer charities is doing some pioneering work with big data. So much so that it’s being fined for not following data protection rules because what this cancer charity excels at is not in using data to cure cancer but to extract more money from donors and their friends and families.

I have worked with Veterinarians who have been using electronic health records to improve clinical outcomes and get a return on investment for more than a decade.yet I don’t know and have never heard of a single Doctor in the NHS or in the US who could say the same thing. Instead of talking to Vets the NHS – who have wasted over £12 Billion on failed EHR efforts – actually hires experts from the US like Dr John Halamka to advise them.

Read John’s blog and you realise he has never experienced an IT project with a measurable return on investment. The reality is that the incentives and the powerbase and money mean that billion dollar electronic health care records are typically designed to enable data to be used against patients rather than by or for them. I’ve come to realise that while there is no doubt huge potential current efforts to improve human healthcare outcomes through the use of billion dollar electronic sick care records are pretty much equivalent to horse trainers trying to improve the performance of their horses by analysing their vets bank account statements. Good luck with that!

It’s important to understand that mobile is transforming the Internet into a network of devices. I was lucky to get a chance to consult to this amazing company. They had managed to put a SIM card in a glucometer and get it approved by major healthcare insurers in the USA. They acquired the best app on the appstore and redesigned it to work with the device. I helped them with European market strategy and also advised them to produce a Veterinary product and they thoguht I was pulling their leg. The company eventually was acquired writing off nearly $100 million of investors money but I have no doubt they would’ve become a multibillion dollar company had they managed to take a Vet First strategy.

If we look to sentiments expressed by global organisations like the international diabetes Federation you would think that the entire health care Industry was all on board with this but the reality is while diabetes is costing the UK economy as much as £30 Billion per year 99% of the expensive data is captured today by glucometers that are carried by patients are never even downloaded never mind used. Consultant endocrinologists fan their faces with paper diaries that Patients dutifully complete.

In this blog post you can read about how UCL Hospital Trust here in London has just orders a £400 million sickcare record from America yet today this same trust can’t even deploy iPads with it’s staff. They don’t even return them using Apple’s buy back offer, they just lock them up in cupboards unused. Saying to a NHS Doctor ‘why don’t you just use an ipad” doesn’t make sense when your job would be transformed if you were using mobile tools properly. I know of large NHS projects that failed in attempts to introduce connected glucometers. These failures didn;t result from the technology but because the NHS didn’t understand the structural changes it needed to make. They were now having to send ambulances to Patients that they were previously able to safely ignore. They were having to refer Patients to psychiatric services because the short comings of the care they were giving was becoming abundantly clear. It is a depressing fact that most Hospitals and the Medics working in them don’t like patient generated data because it presents to them liabilities and responsibilities that they aren’t being paid to accept.

The point of care is moving but look at what happens in the human medicine market companies like theranos. This young college drop out risked countless Patients lives and ruined therputations of Doctors while taking investors on a $9 Billion rollercoaster with a ‘unicorn’ point of care testing sham. The human medicine market hasn’t got a clue about costs or value for money because unlike Vets who have lots of price transparency and can tell you the value of everything in their practice, the average Doctor hasn’t a clue.

I think it’s becoming clear to everyone that we live in a decade set to be defined by the convergence of medical technology to mobile phones just as we saw in the last decade where we saw the convergence of technology to create todays multifunctioning smart phones.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is on record claiming that perhaps the most profound change the iPhone will make will be on our health and that the Apple iPhone may become synonymous with mobile health care.

He’s also on record claiming that mHealth will the dwarf the mobile market. Imagine how big it’s going to have to be to drawf the newest trillion dollar industry?

Early signs that this is happening are easy to spot. Look at how Apple is killing the biggest medical device companies. The world’s biggest medical imaging brands are frightened of becoming replaceable iPad accessories. A fortnight ago at the Apple world wide developer conference Apple shone the spotlight on Dexcom’s continuous glucose monitoring mentioning how it’s bluetooth connectivity would enable it to be used with the Apple Watch and it added $373Million to the companies valuation. Imagine the crisis meetings in all the businesses that compete in that CGM market waking up realising that they’re now on the outside of Apples winning ecosystem?

To stand any hope of surviving the Kodak moment mobile healthcare brands need to deploy their technology in systems that function and are fair and aligned with Patient Outcomes.

The NHS is clearly not fair when a NHS consultant endocrinologist tells me that although he wants to give embedded mobile connected glucometers to all his Patients he could sooner get his hospital CEO to build him a new £10 million ward before he’d pay for a single £100 Sim card.

35 We’re only a small privately funded business so we have to be careful about speaking out against powerful organisations but I have a confession that I need to make and which has led me to wanting to produce the Horse Tech Conference. On one occasion a global diabetes brand paid me not talk to a group of endocrinologists because it didn’t want them to be modernising as it would be bad for their profits. In a way this free live-streamed Conference is about me returning my 30 silver coins because I feel guilty that I’ve let Patients down, Patients who could benefit from these technological advances.

Unconnected Diabetes care doesn’t make any sense to the born mobile generation with Type 1 Diabetes.

Parents are up against big pharma as guilt leaves them feeling so powerless that it’s given rise to a DIY movement amongst Parents of these children that society is failing.

Everyone’s heard of Elon Musk and Tesla right? But look at the origins of the idea for Tesla and it’s actually very humbling.

It came from him seeing what was happening with GM recalling and destroying their EV1 cars. A candlelit vigil was being held by customers while the car company scrapped them because the motor industry didn’t want electric cars no matter how much their customers did.

For me the act of doing something speaks louder than hosting an annual International Congress about it and this is why I think medtech companies should prioritise their Veterinary strategy.

It’s hard to appreciate the value of change if you are preoccupied with why it doesn’t suit you, similarly it is easier to describe existing jobs disappearing than it will ever be to imagine ones that haven’t yet existed. and that is perfectly illustrated by the keynote address you can watch here by James Madara, the CEO of the American Medical Association as he petitions members to look to mHealth apps as snake oil.

Equine medicine operates very differently. I’ve never met a trainer who wants to increase her vet bill I can show you 120 NHS trust CEOs who want to do more work but don’t waste your time looking check out the vending machines that sell sweets in every single NHS hospital waiting room.

Doctors can’t use technology as readily as vets because the data comes from medically marketed billing engines and 99% of the economic rewards come from more billing not outcomes so that’s naturally what the most talented people are working on.

Why do you think we only read about this type of pricing nonsense in human medicine? Salesman of the decade award goes to anyone who can get $600 for a shot of adrenaline off a small animal vet!

In my opinion sick care institutions are the worst placed to appreciate the value of mHealth innovations.

In contrast equine vets are ideally placed to appreciate the value of mHealth.

Angela Davis said it loudly I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change I am changing the things I cannot except.

And that’s why I’ve arrived at producing the inaugural Horse tech conference

Who here has been to the Royal Veterinary College in Royal College Street?

The founding story of the Royal Veterinary College is all about a Champion Racehorse. It’s a college born steeped in equine science tradition.

X-Ray equipment in use in 1895. The same year Xrays were discovered…

I know there owners, trainers, vets, students investors techies and hackers Who need to be interconnected to take visions into reality.

The success of the Horse Tech Conference will be measured by how well we do this so this is one of our highest priorities.

If with your help we can achieve this it’ll be an unforgettable event. I want delegates to leave able to answer the question: “how would Elon musk train and breed horses” and full of the enthusiasm that is needed to go and work on the innovations they’ve learnt about in collaboration with the people they’ve met. There will be plenty of investors there too with the understanding of the market and the funds to make this all a success.

We have to dispel myths about the experimental nature of equine research. Apart from know how look how little there is to stop a trainer implementing a ResearchKit trial for all horses in her stable. Now compare that to unbelievably administrative situation in super expensive clinical trials that are run by CROs – contract research organisations that essentially out bid each other to run the trials on the cheap. Did you know the biggest reason most european clinical trials fail is because they can’t recruit Patients? Most clinical trials being tendered for in Europe today are trials that have already failed.

Don’t let anyone be confused about the safety and welfare issues. I see trials of technology in world leading hospitals that you wouldn’t even get in the door in front of a Horse Trainer or Vet. Imagine anyone letting you experiment with VR Goggles on a horse during a racing season?!

The big challenge we see is everywhere everyone is super secretive about what they’re doing but this is one of the great things about a Conference. We need to completely blow the doors off what’s going on and we can do that by rewarding innovators with recognition. We want to inspire leaders to share what they do and why, we need to create the interconnected networks that the likes of elon musk rely on to develop new ideas and businesses. Forget Artificial Intelligence and Imagine experienced Horse tech fans the world over giving you feedback and sharing their ideas.. We dont just need medtech cos to have one health strategies we need to inspire them to go veterinary medicine first because it will help to ensure that they fully understand their tech and its interaction with the body.

If you’re looking for tech inspiration right now join the mHealth group on LinkedIn I started this in 2008 and there are now 8000 members you can read of 1000 introductions from them, most haven’t yet done anything in equine medicine arena but it’s a treasure trove of ideas and opportunities.

If you’re thinking you can press the pause button imagine the disadvantage that you would be at if it became a regulatory requirement? This is already happening with concussion monitoring in sports like rugby and who’s going to be able to make the case against the adoption of tech that is wearable and will improve horse welfare?

If you look to the living nightmare that has fallen on trainer Hughie Morrison after a single failed drug test. How can a big trainer with hundreds of horses and hundreds of staff possibly be responsible to the extent that regulators are enforcing rules?

If trainers want to leave no stone unturned to prevent something like this happening to them the reality is non-invasive continuous biomonitoring is going to have to be adopted both as a deterrent and to detect tampering.

We all know that lab technology is rapidly advancing and will eventuall completely eliminate drug cheats. As we’ve seen in elite athlete markets this has been a major driver of interest in data science as they will need to keep their competitive advantage or leave the sport.

The world’s biggest tech companies are getting very interested in the medtech market. Apple’s CEO thinks the world’s biggest company is set to have a healthcare future that dwarfs the trillion $ mobile industry. An industry from whihc it practically sucks up all the profit! Last week at the Worldwide Developers Conference Apple gifted $373 million to Dexcom, the developers of a bluetooth connected continuous glucose monitor. It did this by mentioning them for just a few seconds for their bluetooth integration with the Apple Watch. Apple doesn’t need to disrupt itself to cannabilise the medtech market but everyone else does. if you are a medtech company you have better be focused on disrupting yourself. Because every single major health care organisation wants to work with Apple and they are only a update away from taking your customer base.

My advice is to do what apple can’t do. Create an equine medicine team and make it your disruptive strategy. If your brand leads the medical technology industry why isn’t it used by the world’s best trainers?

Don’t resign to letting your innovation strategy be the same as your regulation strategy.

Make Equine Medicine your disruptive strategy.

So how could we do that? Come to the Horse Tech Conference and your team will go away not only knowing how to do it but having met the best people in the industry with whom you can work with.

I was hoping to tell you all about the amazing speakers we have filling the agenda but we’ve agreed a media partnership that we’re announcing today with The Irish Field. As part of that the speakers and their work will be announced in an editorial interview every Saturday in the print and online edition. h a bio and editorial feature on this expert in the Irish Field.

Established in 1870 The Irish Field have an incredible international reach and they’ll also be reporting on the event in October.

Some of the topics we’ve got world leading speakers presenting on include the Use of Biomechanics and gait analysis to optimise training and performance

the use of Advanced diagnostic imaging

Breakthrough insights into Stem cell work

Sleep deprivation, big data, machine learning and Transdermal drug delivery. Okay enough I can’t do this to you. I think it’s a bit unfair to not give you a speaker so the first I can confirm is Jeff Seder.

I hope you’ve all heard of this gentleman’s work? Well he’ll be flying in from the US to share secrets behind his work at EQB.

American Pharoah may not have benefited from the use of spell check technology but Jeff’s going to share his experiences with an inspiring and unmissable keynote.

So that just leaves us with the options for you to get involved. First off put the date in your diary and participate via the online live-stream. This is completely free and we’re looking to get it CPD accredited for all the Vets and Nurses. You are also welcome to Buy a ticket & join us, price of a ticket is from £999+VAT and availability is limited, once their gone their gone. We also welcome you to apply at HorseTechConference.com to Present, Sponsor or Exhibit.

So if you’re a vet a trainer, owner, student investor techie or hacker and you wanna make a contribution at the forefront of this exciting industry this is your invitation to come and join us at the horse technology conference.

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