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Halima Khan, Executive Director of the Health Lab at Nesta.

Nesta is a social innovation charity that has done a significant amount of work in healthcare innovation.

Ahead of Nesta’s flagship healthcare event ‘People Powered Health on February 9th Doctorpreneurs caught up with Halima Khan, Executive Director of the Health Lab at Nesta.


Can you outline what role the Nesta Health Lab plays in healthcare innovations?

Building on our long-term commitment to improving people’s health and wellbeing, the focus of Health Lab at Nesta is about how social and digital innovations can be used to significantly improve health and ageing. By working with a wide range of partners to further develop, support and scale innovations, we want to help create a health and care system that is for people, by people and with people.

When it comes to healthcare innovation, however, the developments I find most exciting are those that use ubiquitous technologies like smartphones to enable people to track and manage their own symptoms better – while also generating clinically-valid data. This can be a brilliant triple win: good for patients, good for clinical decision-making and good for research. That data can close the loop between the everyday experiences of people and our broader understanding of what works for whom under what circumstances. Sleepio, one the 2014 Nesta ‘New Radicals’, is a great example of how technology – in this case, a website with a range of tools and space where people can access expert information on the science behind insomnia – can help teach sleep improvement techniques.

How can doctors and medical students contribute to Nesta’s work in healthcare innovation?

We work with a wide range of partners and a variety of organisations who share our passion to create a health and care system that is people-powered and knowledge-powered. Health Lab is about creating real change to improve people’s health, so for doctors and medical students interested in finding out more about us and how to get involved, we would love to hear from you!

Can you tell us a little more about Nesta’s upcoming People Powered Health event?

On February 9th in London we will hold our first major conference on ‘The Future of People Powered Health’ – exploring specifically how digital and social innovation has the potential to radically transform the health and care system of the future. By bringing together a mix of senior decision-makers, top industry leaders, entrepreneurs and future-thinking practitioners from across the UK – and further afield – we hope to showcase and celebrate the pioneering work taking place in the sector today, whilst also addressing the practical challenges ahead.

Next week, in follow up to this conversation with Halima, we speak to Peter Hames, founder of Sleepio – one of the 2014 Nesta ‘New Radicals’ – about how he became a health entrepreneur.

About The Author


Vishaal graduated from UCL Medical School in 2011 and completed Foundation Training at the William Harvey Hospital and King’s College Hospital in London. He then worked at a start-up healthcare consultancy, Mansfield Advisors, for two years, and then as a strategy consultant at OC&C. Vishaal currently works at Ada Health.

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