Before I begin, I would like to introduce myself: My name is Christopher, a current 2nd year medical student at UCL. I am very enthusiastic about health-tech and entrepreneurship within that field.
A few weeks ago, I attended the GIANT Health Event 2017, a healthcare innovation and enterprise conference. I have attended several events and talks like these before, most notably the UCL MedTech Conference and the National MedTech Conference in 2017.
The typical saying is that ‘you get what you put in to these conferences’. I believe that is indeed true. In retrospect, the very first of these events I went to, I did not make the best use of my time. I was too nervous to talk to other attendees. I may have focused too much on one talk, while neglecting others. However, I learned through my experiences and my approach gradually changed. Here’s how I now approach health-tech conferences:
I go to these events to learn about all the new, different ideas being innovated. In my case, as a university student interested in health-tech innovation and enterprise but yet to have a solid idea to start a business, I focus on breadth, more so than depth, of learning. I strive to learn about different products and businesses to see patterns and possibilities. This way, I have this store of knowledge to apply similar ideas to other areas.
For example, at the GIANT Health Event, I saw Epicardio at an exhibition stand. This was an educational software that simulates a heart beating, and shows its ECG and electrical activity in real-time. You can also choose to simulate different heart conditions and diseases. As a medical student, I really liked this product. As a health-tech enthusiast, seeing this product stimulated me to think about applying this concept to other body organs.
According to the Third Wave by Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, the future will see technology integrated into many aspects of life, one of those aspects being healthcare. Innovating will no longer see programmers working alone, but collaborating with different professions.
That is why networking is very important in the health-tech field, and also in general. At health-tech events, such as GIANT, I try to talk to anyone that I meet and connect with them on social media. When I meet a fellow university student, I always try to ask about their interests, experiences, and aspirations. You learn so much by listening to people’s experiences. And you never know, you may end up working with one of these people you meet.
As a student, networking can also lead you to great opportunities. At health-tech events, there are many start-up founders, innovation hubs and health-tech companies. They may be looking for interns or employees. It may just be a conversation and a question about a possible internship that determines whether you are able to get a great internship offering valuable experience and learning.
Reflecting and Acting
The first few health-tech conferences I attended, I was overwhelmed by the amount of information I received, the amount of people I met, and the awareness that there is still very much to be learned, in terms of technological and business concepts. Because of that, I ceased to think about the event and what I learned from it as I got home. That was a mistake because reflection on my experience and what I learned would have given me an indication of what I needed to do next to develop myself. I set myself a to-do list after events to learn new knowledge or skills, and use that overwhelmed feeling to motivate myself to achieve my targets.
This is how I approach health-tech conferences. As a university student, this approach really helps me to learn new knowledge, develop skills, and find valuable opportunities.
E&I this year
If you are interested in health-tech enterprise and innovation, you can apply this approach to the upcoming health-tech events organised by MedSoc Enterprise and Innovation.
AI Evening – 6th February 2018 (Tuesday)
Come enjoy an evening where we will bring in speakers to talk about all things AI in medicine.
Hands on with Health-Tech – 20th February (Tuesday)
Come try out the latest medical gadgets and apps brought in by ground-breaking health-tech companies.
MedTech Conference 2018 – 24th February (Saturday)
An annual conference where we bring in speakers at the forefront of health-tech to talk about the latest health technology, their journeys to the forefront of the health-tech field, and how we can do the same. There will also be workshops. MedTech Conference 2017 did not disappoint. We ensure this year’s will be better.
2nd Year Medical Student at UCL. Health-tech enterprise and innovation enthusiast.