Digital Fireside Chats: Floriano Bonfigli, Collabobeat
Digitization has dramatically transformed the world of medicine and healthcare. Especially the flow of information throughout the medical infrastructure has benefited greatly from digital health innovations recently. With smart phones, tables, and other web-enabled devices abundantly available, an ever growing amount of information can flow much more seamlessly, creating additional value for patients and medical personnel alike.
A vital piece in this digital health puzzle is the rapid improvement of electronic health records (EHRs). Put simply, EHRs are computerized versions of a patient’s paper charts. Injecting some digital health innovation, EHR can be transformed into real-time, patient-centered records. They can also contain information about a patient’s medical history, diagnoses, medications, immunization dates, allergies, radiology images, and lab / test results. We had the pleasure to interview digital health CEO Floriano Bonfigli, whose professional life revolves around creating the next generation EHR.
Could you briefly introduce yourself? Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Floriano Bonfigli, founder of a digital health startup named Collabobeat. Our mission can be summarized with these words: We help doctors share visit notes with their patients, patient engagement made easy.
Our service has already been chosen by a 1000-bed teaching hospital. In particular, it has been up and running in their Pediatric Oncology Division since mid-May 2015 and in September, we are planning to expand our solution in a second much larger ward.
In hospital settings, Collabobeat has shown its value in the discharge phase, when patients go back home with a set of recommendations to follow. Collabobeat is also being used by a company which provides personalized diagnostic services in the field of the so-called medically assisted procreation or MPA. Right now, the company is testing a new protocol involving patients from all around Italy.
Collabobeat has been chosen as the tool for streamlining the very frequent medical communication going back and forth between the geneticists of the company and the patients in a single dedicated channel. In conclusion, we are seeing Collabobeat as a very flexible patient engagement platform, which can be used in very different settings.
Why Digital Health and what was your pathway into the field?
I’ve been into the eHealth sector since mid-2006. Being a mechanical engineer by education, I accepted a quite a good job proposal as product manager in a multinational ICT company providing RIS, PACS and HIS solutions to the market. When this experience had ended, I wanted to remain in the sector as freelance consultant.
Now I’m an entrepreneur after realizing the big opportunity of combining my vertical know-how and the latest digital technologies.
What is the unique appeal of the company you lead?
The appeal is in the effort of introducing a straightforward service, as Collabobeat is, into the very complicated and regulated medical market. The fun, if you will, is in the gritty parts in between.
What was your biggest professional challenge so far?
Presenting myself as a trusted entrepreneur, making people believe that we can timely and effectively deliver what we show in our slides or demos.
What was your biggest professional success so far?
The largest hospital of our region accepting the challenge of using our innovative service and the fact to be firstly piloted in a very particular ward, Pediatric Onco-hematology.
What drives you to continually advance your company?
We see our ability to generate interest in what we do increasing day by day. So the opportunities of doing business with potential customers, distributors or investors are likewise increasing, which sounds definitely good!
Which Digital Health development so far do you consider the most remarkable?
The ability to have a huge amount of personal health data “easily” transportable from one place to another, mainly from the places where these data are taken, usually hospitals and similar, to the places where they actually belong, in the palm of the hands the natural owners, the patients.
Which game-changing product/service can we look forward to?
An augmented thermometer, a smart indicator of our health that will tell us every morning through a double digit number, just like our body temperature level, how well we are in general.
In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge in the field of Digital Health?
It is not making digital health solutions appear as superfluous gadgets.
How is Digital Health going to change our lives and society in 5‚ 10, 25 years?
In 25 years we will have that smart thermometer already described, no doubt about that!
What advice would you give graduates who want to join the Digital Health industry / a Digital Health start-up?
To speak as much as possible with their potential customers, then to visit hospitals and have a chat with doctors, nurses and patients.
Which concrete problems or challenges within the field of Digital Health are these graduates going to face?
Discovering that digital health is not just one single market, there are plenty of different sectors with lots of different treats but also opportunities associated to them.
What new, relevant perspectives do you think recent graduates will bring to the table of their company?
These graduates are basically digital natives, I hope they will bring completely counterintuitive perspectives to founders like me
Which three qualities should an ideal candidate have?
Curiosity, no fear and optimism.
Floriano Bonfigli, thank you very much!