19/11/2019 | Point of view

On spirit, purpose, scale and empathy: first reflections from Frontiers Health 2019

Roberto Ascione | CEO Healthware Group and President Healthware Ventures


It’s been a few days since the wrap of the 2019 edition of Frontiers Health, and I wanted to share a few reflections from the time spent on stage feeling the energy and passion of the community and discussions with our great 2019 faculty.

The spirit.
Our ecosystem is up to a huge task. Transforming healthcare. This is at least on par with the challenge our predecessors took in creating the web or the social networks as we know them. I feel their pioneering spirit, the curiosity, the sense of excitement and, at times, the frustration of a huge hill to climb which deeply involves several stakeholders, is important to us too. A challenger and transformative spirit that needs to be cultivated and nurtured to keep us strong as we advance.

The purpose.
Many industries set themselves up to a higher purpose to stay focused and inspired. Our higher purpose is embedded in all things we deal with, as this is healthcare -- the most personal, important, essential dimension of the human being. We should never forget this, it comes with the great pride of hopefully improving people’s health, but also with great responsibility in how we will make this sustainable, accessible and ethical.

The scale.
Scaling digital health is important. It’s a business and that’s the obvious part, but being able to scale means making these solutions sustainable and spreadable to the masses. Digital should become the norm when it comes to health and this is not possible without scaling. It takes a lot, as it needs the alignment of many players and will not happen in isolation. Partnerships will be essential along with an open mindset, a true ecosystem culture, all are critical in order to advance.

The empathy.
Sooner or later we will all be patients, it is inevitable and important to remember. When it happens to us or to those we care about, we realize how cold and distant healthcare can be. Digital health has the power to change that. By inventing and designing with the patients’ unmet needs in mind and by empowering our doctors, nurses and caregivers, digital health can help ensure empathy remains a key priority alongside improved health outcomes and broader access to care.

Spirit, purpose, scale and empathy.
The ultimate goal of digital health is to humanize healthcare by democratizing access, redesigning around the patient and making health bigger than care until we need it. To accomplish this, we need a big collective drive full of spirit, purpose, scale and empathy.

I love the feeling that the Frontiers community embodies and it’s also what drives us everyday at Healthware. I am honored to be part of this and feel blessed to be able to share this journey with you all.


FH19 Team

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.