ICT Summit Eurasia, held in Istanbul, is the biggest Information, communication, and learning event of Eurasia. This year, the main theme of the Summit was the "Next Step" in both business and technology. Turkey has a population of 75 million with a large percentage of young adults. The young generation of Turkey is very keen to explore new opportunities and innovative approaches. For this reason, Turkey represents a significant market for information technology. Considering this emerging market, speakers and attendees of the ICT Summit Eurasia discussed the opportunities of tomorrow instead of today.
Turkey, which continues to develop in healthcare based on digital solutions, is a significant and rapidly emerging country. The Turkish government has made extraordinary steps in supporting health and pharmaceutical markets. It organises public awareness and rational drug use campaigns and regularly institutes new drug regulations. During this process, the Ministry of Health has successfully used digital implementation in order to create awareness of e-health issues.
People in Turkey, who are looking to sustain or improve their health, need reliable, scientific, and sustainable healthcare portals. These portals must be based on a new business model in which digital marketing plays a large role. Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies must collaborate by sharing their services with one another in order to provide effective portals and information sponsorships. Additionally, working together will improve marketing power by ultimately decreasing overall costs and maximizing return on investments. Collaboration between healthcare and pharmaceutical companies can bring their services together within a digital platform to create successful new business models and case studies.
PortalGrup Healthcare is the only company that focuses on healthcare and pharmaceuticals in Turkey to provide digital marketing solutions based on strategy and technology. Our company invited Mr. Roberto Ascione to the ICT Summit Eurasia as a keynote speaker to talk about e-health and m-health opportunities that exist online. He shared his positive experiences in collaborative business platforms in the field of digital healthcare.
Turkey is home to a number of innovative and hard-working young adults who are excited about and open-minded toward digital services and products. These young people will play an important role in developing Turkey’s e-health and m-health market as they provide intelligent approaches toward digital development. For this reason and those mentioned above, I believe Turkey can be a key player in the e-health and m-health industry of the digital future.Interview with Roberto Ascione by Elçin Tuncer Seyman
- You have been an expert in healthcare for a long time. Can you give us information about your career and company? What can you say about your key achievements?
I started Healthware as a digital entrepreneur in 1996 in Italy, pioneering the development of digital technologies in healthcare. In 2002 a strategic partnership with Saatchi&Saatchi Health brought us close to Publicis Groupe which acquired us in 2007. Under the Publicis Healthware International (PHI) brand, between 2007 and 2011, multiple units (eHealth Solutions, iMed Studios, Digital District) were added to my team. Finally, in the last months, PHI and Razorfish Health (also member of Publicis) merged into Razorfish Healthware resulting in one of the largest ever digital health players active in 10 markets with more than 300 professionals. I am honoured to keep serving as President of this company.
I have been always passionate about medicine, computer science, and human-technology interactions and I believe that technology will be the most impactful driver of change in the healthcare industry. Being able to see my long time vision come true and contributing to this change in multiple countries is what I consider my greatest achievement.
- We know you always travel and share your experience in many countries. Can you explain your vision about healthcare and the solutions that bring technology and healthcare together?
Healthcare will be completely transformed by information technology as it has already happened for other industries such as finance or travel.
However this change will have a deeper impact and will be more complex to handle because health is very personal and matters to all of us as we can already see when it comes to trends like self tracking or quantified self.
Technology will make healthcare more accessible, personal and transparent by emphasizing both best and bad practices but ultimately allowing consumers (not necessarily patients) to control their own health journey. The shift in paradigm will be massive and the various stakeholders will have to deal with dramatically changing roles.
- Social media and mobile devices are becoming so popular all over the world. How will this situations affect the future of healthcare solutions? Do you think it’s going to affect the approach of therapy and perception of illness?
Yes, sure. The key trend I see is the shift from a discontinuous and disease-driven process to a continuous and well-being driven approach.
Access and costs force all of us to deal with diseases (or problems) when triggers such as symptoms appear and then to deal with the healthcare system acting as 'system integrators' by carrying around the information (our health history for example) and forcing us to navigate the system which is largely self centered.
In the future we will all pursue well-being by exchanging data and accessing information when we need and where we are. The healthcare system will focus more on personalised prevention as well as comprehensive programmes embracing not only the disease state but also the other key aspects such as nutrition, life-style, education, etc.
- As you’re going to speak to our audience at ICT Summit Eurasia Turkey this September, do you have any special message that you want to share with us
Turkey as well as other participating countries are in a great position to embrace this change.
The penetration of digital communications and mobile technologies and the ability to design significant part of the healthcare system around this constitute a great opportunity that should not be missed.
These are years that will never happen again; these are years that will see us reap better health for more people realising one of the most visionary ideas beyond the concept of Internet itself.