3/12/2020 | Point of view

A Greater Responsibility – reflections shared at Frontiers Health 2020

Roberto Ascione | CEO Healthware Group


One year ago – I was writing about my reflections on last year's conference which I summarized as Spirit, Purpose, Scale and Empathy.

Thinking back to those ideas, in the middle of this pandemic, I think they are more valid than ever.

Back then I said, our ecosystem is up to a huge task. Transforming healthcare. This has never been truer and more needed. We are holding strong through these unprecedented times as much as everyone else, but we hold a greater responsibility.

As innovators, we carry the torch of science and technology and thanks to the ingenuity of the founders and the researchers, we’ve been always the driving force of any remarkable progress.

One year ago, we were reflecting on the sense of purpose that comes with our collective mission to improve people’s health, and we were also discussing about the mission of making healthcare more sustainable and accessible.

While this stays intact, this pandemic has clarified, once again, that there is no economy, there is no society, without health and it also posed a direct threat to the already insufficient level of universal access to care that we had previously.

Our purpose should therefore escalate and be complemented by a sense of urgency, able to mobilize all stakeholders to accelerate these transformational innovations, digital health innovation is by far our best option to walk through the uncharted territories ahead of us.

The pioneering years are over, the pilot years are over too. We need to scale what works, armed with the rigor of scientific evidence but also with the aim to create the highest positive impact possible.

Accrue data, learn, iterate, perfect and do it again. And do it faster. The only way out of this pandemic is to go through it, we need to accelerate all possible best practices and adopt them at scale.

But we need to aim even bigger, the impact of the current situation on our life is unprecedented, and it will also have significant impact on the future, too many people are lacking access to care for all the other diseases and conditions which have not gone away.

I used to say “sooner or later we will all be patients; it is inevitable and important to remember”

We are touching this firsthand, as never before. We feel the fear, the uncertainty, we experience the lack of clarity, the lack of access to doctors and not only about this virus but truly about all other issues whose treatments are disrupted by the current situation and we have no idea how they will resume.

We are all in this together as patients and we also know how much pressure our doctors and nurses are facing. Empathy is something we need as much as medicines.

It is an integral part of the care we need and there will be no success for digital health without it.

Our responsibility is greater than before

As our industry attracts as much attention as funding, we carry the responsibility of enabling digital health much faster and ensuring a much greater access. In fact, it is no longer about health itself but is about jobs, economy, society, instruction and, in one word, our future as human beings.

As innovators we should all unite, as we do with this conference. Let’s join forces, mobilize the policy makers, leverage the capital and support each other to accelerate the change we need.

All of this is what drives us at Healthware as communicators, connectors and builders of the digital health future.

I am truly honored to be part of this and feel blessed to be able to share this journey with all of you.


  • Empathy
  • Purpose
  • Responsibility
  • Scale
  • Spirit
Roberto Ascione

Roberto is a pioneer in digital health and a recognized thought leader, people-inspiring founder, serial entrepreneur and global manager. With more than 20 years of experience he has been focusing on marketing and communications, business transformation and innovation in health and wellness.

Read more about his story.