ITC DIA Europe

Can biohacking solve the healthcare crisis?

Written by Roger Peverelli and Reggy de Feniks - Founders The DIA Community on Oct 9, 2023

We sat down with Eduard de Wilde, the leading European biohacking expert, and founder and CEO of LiveHelfi and NoordCode. He is one of the keynote speakers at ITC DIA Europe Munich, 22-23 November, where he will take the stage to talk about biohacking.

Eduard, what is biohacking?

Eduard: “Biohacking is upgrading your physical and mental performance by optimising your body’s biological process. Biohackers use scientific research as a source of inspiration and conduct experiments to see, fact-based, what works and does not work with the idea that every person is different and that what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. Biohackers are at the forefront of health trends.”

Why is biohacking gaining traction?

“Right now, we see a number of digital trends coming together. Consumers have more and more data at their disposal due to wearables becoming cheaper and other ways to gain insight into the status quo of your body. The global wearable technology market size was estimated at USD 138 billion in 2022 and is expected to surpass around USD 491.74 billion by 2032.  Also, other means to get insight into your health status are growing fast. Think of blood value tests, DNA testing, biological age, etc. Thanks to AI, this data provides valuable insights for optimisation. This development is exponential and irreversible.”

What do these tools mean for the health industry, and specifically the insurance industry?

Eduard: “It is leading to a disruption in the healthcare system. A shift in information symmetry is taking place between consumer and physician. However, the system is not set up to democratise healthcare. The processes are set up to provide care, but not for consumers who want to use their knowledge and data to prevent disease.”

Shouldn’t physicians do that?

“Physicians don’t have the time, resources and training to deal with this. At the same time, it offers huge opportunities for market players such as insurers to play a role in this. Everyone knows that healthcare costs are exploding and the system is becoming unaffordable. This trend is reinforced by new breakthroughs in scientific research in the field of anti-ageing. The population will continue to age and it is crucial that they age more healthily to avoid exponentially increasing costs.”

So, insurers should take a pivotal role. What steps should insurers take to support prevention?

“Insurers can play an important role by inspiring policyholders to improve their lifestyles. Data and AI will play a crucial role in this. In addition, insurers can play an important role by discussing what impact the empowered consumer has on the system and what changes are needed to deal with this.”

Currently, quite a few insurers are already working on this. What should they do to become even more successful in this?

“The prerequisite for success is that it becomes a strategic spearhead. Too often, prevention services fall into the domain of marketing. When crucial decisions have to be made on budgets, the core business of paying and regulating health gets priority. This makes sense because the returns from prevention are difficult to predict. However, there is no other option but to make it part of the core business. Changing the lifestyles of policyholders is a new and extremely complex area. It involves changing the behaviour of large groups of policyholders who only start moving when they become ill. Developments in biohacking can be an important source of inspiration. That’s why you need to start experimenting now. Using technology and data is the only opportunity to develop large-scale services that help customers live healthier lives.”

Eduard de Wilde, Leading European Biohacking Expert
Amsterdam 12-13 June

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