August 14, 2018

Top 5 Things I Learned at HXLGG Pittsburgh

Maeve Lyons

Amidst the pending snow storm that swept through the east coast of the US, the HealthXL Global Gathering in Pittsburgh housed over 100 healthcare innovators, change makers and experts at the National Robotics Engineering Center on February 8th 2018. It cannot go without being said that this venue is truly unique and its sole purpose nears that of the message of the gathering which is to collaborate across boundaries and challenge what’s known – narrowing the gap between man and machine.

1 - Not another discussion about AI and how it’s going to solve all healthcare problem

Big Data and AI are tools. We need to think more about specific problems in healthcare and how AI can help to tackle them, paraphrasing a member of the audience 'it seems that AI in healthcare is a hammer in search of a nail'.

We need to be bilingual: managing the tech part & understanding the ecosystem: healthcare professionals, patients etc.- Dr Lynda Chin, Texas University

Too often AI is being quoted as the value a solution is bringing, rather than communicated the real problem their solution is solving and how AI is a part equation of how to achieve that in an intelligent way.

AI may provide a diagnosis, but unless the clinician understands what has lead to this decision, they will always question whether they are making the best choice for their patient. This in itself is a challenge, as when deep learning is involved it can be difficult to determine exactly a decision was made. Expanding on that point, was whether many of these solutions describing themselves as AI are really more aptly described as deep learning or machine learning solutions.

2 - The future of healthcare will be built on the shoulders of meaningful partnerships

Complacency is a big stumbling block to making the landscape better and of course access to data. We need a different mindset and to rethink the definition of healthcare. Deep empathy and human centred design is the key to optimize patient experience and foster innovation in healthcare.

"Innovation done well will make tech invisible, what we need in healthcare is to blow stuff up a little bit!" - Dr Rasu Shretha, UPMC

It’s important to get bigger, better, faster, stronger - but we need to collaborate and build communities of innovators, researchers, clinicians, patients and industry engagement.

3 - Healthcare is about taking care of a human being, it is not about bright and shiny technology objects

You can have access to the best care that you can get, but nothing replaces the patient-physician relationship. Human connections enable the best innovations. This is about human beings.

"How many of us like being sick? None of us like to be sick!" - Kellee Franklin, Patient Advocate

The technology is the enabler that assists us to speak with our physicians and to get the information to make better decisions.

We can never lose sight of the fact that healthcare is a business of caring for human beings. Too much focus on the technology will get us further and further away from solving real healthcare problems.

4 - No one is more engaged or involved than the patient

So many patient leaders want to be partners in changing healthcare. What if we put these new technologies in these leaders hands & have them educate their communities on it?

Patients have been the lab rats for a long time. Now they want to be the researchers and/or right alongside the researchers. Technology should indeed be an enabler of better care, not an impediment to care.

"Patients are already engaged. You may just not have had access to them. No one is more engaged, involved than the patient" - Jack Barrette, WeGo Health

5 - Right drug, right dose, right now

Clinicians have always practiced precision medicine, this is not something new but now we have to consider data from EMRs, genomics, PROs, wearables predict and prevent disease and illness.

"We have used the same tools that only flag for binary drug-drug interactions for decades, YouScript moves beyond this to look at interactions caused by three or more drugs or genes. All in the backdrop of a national focus on value-based care and precision medicine." - Dr Alan Russell, CMU

Up until now our genetic data has been inaccessible but now with more access we need to bridge the gap between science and medicine by implementing eduction in clinics. Genomic medicine has the potential to improve patient outcomes and reduce the cost of care. Our knowledge of genetics and patients data will continue to evolve but we need to manage expectations and continue to have access to data.

Pittsburgh has transitioned from a city of steel to a healthcare city, home to healthcare giants such as UPMC and Highmark that are paving the way in digital advancements in healthcare. Dr Vonda Wright summed up the transition perfectly but made the point that a healthcare city and healthy city are not one in the same. Wellness is not baked into cities, we control our environment and need to work with policy to build better communities. Social and individual determinants effect our behaviour and attitude towards lifestyle habits, empower people at an influential point in their life and educate them to make better decisions.

"How do we think about the patient? How do we work with the patient? And once they get home, how do we bring a sense of normalcy in their lives? And make them a shared decision maker in their own lives?" - Taha Jangda, HealthX Ventures

Read the Pittsburgh Global Gathering Report

Check out pictures from the day!


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