Emerging risks in healthcare innovation

Our product liability and life sciences team recently hosted their fifth life sciences conference which focused on emerging risks in innovative healthcare technology.

After sharing the legal and insurance risks of robotic surgery and augmented reality, nanotechnology, the danger of data breaches and smart medical devices, a Q&A session was hosted by Kennedys Partner Samantha Silver, with four expert guest panel speakers;  Anthony Meyerstone (Commercial Consultant), Tony Sedgwick (Life Science Strategy Advisor), David Wood (Chair of London Futurists, and Paul Landau (Founder and CEO of Careology).

The major themes that emerged from the Q & A included:

Healthcare innovation in the UK

  • The UK has the passion, commitment and expertise to become a world leader in healthcare innovation;
  • There are significant obstacles that the UK needs to overcome if it is to keep pace with competitors:
    • Naturally risk averse;
    • Pressures on funding;
    • Fragmented nature of the NHS impacting on strategy and decision making in innovation.
  • Changes that would advance healthcare innovation in the UK include:
    • A shift away from traditional models of healthcare provision to a more holistic approach, with investment focused on long term and preventative benefits. An example given was that poor mental health co-exists with poor physical health. Technology can impact in this area, delivering wellbeing and monitoring apps (such as meditation) to achieve significant health outcomes.
    • Collaboration between different companies will be key.

Receptive markets of innovation

  • The US, Israel, Singapore, South Korea and Germany are seen as some of the centres of excellence of innovation. They offer all the elements for success including funding, expertise and the opportunity to offer the products to patients and consumers within the mainstream healthcare setting.


  • Not all healthcare problems can be solved by technology.
  • It is hard to see how technology can substitute direct human interaction, for example in carrying out personal care. However if we use technology properly, it will reduce clinician time spent on diagnostics and routine processes, and allow more face to face contact. So perhaps, counterintuitively, technology could help to put patient focus back at the top of the agenda.
  • Developers need to be alive to obstacles which may impact on the use and effectiveness of technological apps and devices, for example, clinicians and patients/ consumers will need to be properly trained in the use of consumer friendly technology and patients will need to be competent and engaged in the process.

For more information on these topics or to access our slides, please click on the contact us link below.