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One HealthTech in Amsterdam: Reflections on Diversity in HealthTech at HLTH Europe!

by Maxine Mackintosh

From June 17-20th, Amsterdam was abuzz with energy and innovation as HLTH Europe took centre stage, gathering leaders, innovators, and enthusiasts from across the healthcare technology world (or... certainly mostly Europe!).

Some of our core team including Maxine Mackintosh, Angela Maragna, and Indra Joshi were in attendance, as well as many friends of OHT and community members. It was fantastic to see so many friendly faces in real life (and many for the first time!).

On the 3rd day, we hosted a “Diversity in HealthTech Breakfast" - an informal, early morning mingle for attendees who had an interest in EDI and healthtech.  As well as meeting many new people, catching up with old friends and getting caffeinated before a big day ahead of conferencing, we asked attendees to share some of their diversity-related reflections on HLTH Europe so far. Here’s a summary of what minglers liked, learned, and suggested for improvement when it came to all things diversity at HLTH Europe:

People loved:

  • Content and programming: Attendees appreciated sessions focused on diversity and underrepresented groups, noting the central stages for women’s health and the dedicated women’s hub.

  • Visible diversity efforts: The diverse programming, including events for BLK/BAME, women, and LGBTQIA+ communities, was highlighted as a significant strength.

People felt they learnt about:

  • Passions for solutions: Participants were inspired by the collective passion for finding innovative solutions to health tech challenges, particularly involving issues of equity.

  • Trial participant challenges: Discussions highlighted the barriers faced by marginalised groups in clinical trials, such as travel demands, which impact participation rates.

  • Women’s health disparities: Many were struck by the stark diagnostic disparities in women’s health compared to men’s, emphasising the need for continued advocacy and improvement.

What areas could have been improved:

  • Innovation and representation: There was a call for a greater focus on representative innovation, ensuring that new technologies address the needs of diverse populations.

  • Intersectionality and health inequity: Attendees emphasised the need to address the intersectionality of health inequities and their impact on health outcomes.

  • Event participation and awareness: Suggestions included increasing attendance at key events like the HLTH Foundation Techquity event and better publicising the “patient reps” area.

  • Neurodiversity: Numerous attendees noted the lack of discussion on neurodiversity

  • Mentorship: Attendees suggested more opportunities for mentorship and coaching.

  • Scheduling conflicts: Some pointed out the challenge of choosing between overlapping diversity-related sessions, suggesting better coordination to avoid conflicts.

Moving Forward

HLTH Europe 2024 was a fantastic experience that brought together many people from the world of healthtech. It was HLTH's first year in Europe with so many great successes and also lots of areas to build on for next time, a congratulations to the organisers, and many thanks for inviting One HealthTech to be part of it! See you in 2025.


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