AMWA partnered again this year with HLTH: Create Health’s Future, one of the largest conferences for health innovation with 6000+ attendees and 300+ speakers. AMWA Executive Director Dr. Eliza Chin and StudioAMWA Chair Dr. Karen Poirier-Brode represented AMWA. Dr. Chin spoke during the Women at HLTH session to share AMWA’s work on gender equity and the advancement of women in medicine, including our partnership with TIME’S UP Healthcare. There were several events this year focused on women’s leadership, including the Women of Impact luncheon, special networking receptions, and dedicated sessions to address the unique issues faced by women leaders in healthcare.
HLTH 2019 convened a diverse group of stakeholders — physicians, researchers, industry partners, insurers, retail companies, entrepreneurs, innovators, and more. Some familiar household names are now moving in or already active in the healthcare space, like Mastercard, Bose, Lyft, and Uber. Others, like IBM Watson and Google offer hope that our current EMR workflow will someday be a distant memory. One IBM Watson presentation showed how a computer program could extract details from a patient’s record that a clinician might have taken hours to find, if at all. Likewise, artificial intelligence promises to augment our skills as physicians. Google may be able to simplify medical documentation just as it has transformed workflows outside of medicine. Imagine typing the numbers “87” in a patient’s record, and the computer autopopulates the sentence, “87 year old woman with a history of …. being seen for complaints of chest pain.” Much is also happening in the world of personalized and genomic medicine, concepts that are now a reality for patients, particularly in cancer therapeutics.
Healthcare is changing at a rapid rate, and the future of healthcare will largely be consumer driven. Digital technologies will put personal health data in the hands of patients. Already, patients can pay less than $100 to learn about their ancestry or assess risk stratification. For under $1000, they can get their entire genome sequenced. Wearables can monitor vital signs, capture EKG tracings, and track ADL’s like sleep, exercise, and other behaviors. Facebook has developed programs to increase the focus on preventive healthcare. Their goal: “Transition from sick care to healthcare with a focus on prevention.”
Medical education will need to keep pace with these changes and equip the next generation of physicians to handle the influx of new data. Industry is also changing. Pharmaceutical companies have brought
on chief digital officers to help leverage the power of big data and artificial intelligence. But with the rapid expansion of digital health, one must be reminded that these technologies need to be clinically validated and cybersecure to preserve the privacy of patient data.
Despite the advent of many new start-ups, it was heartening to hear from veteran organizations like the YMCA who shared their legacy of fighting and preventing chronic disease to improve community health. Another highlight was the opportunity to hear Mark Cuban’s out of the box perspectives on healthcare and his plans to disrupt the rising cost of pharmaceuticals.
Another interesting presentation came from a father daughter duo. When Bodo Hoenen’s daughter Lorelei was diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis resulting in chronic arm paralysis, the entrepreneur set out to find a solution, tapping into a network of parents and soliciting insights from medical experts and engineers. By leveraging their collective intelligence on an open source platform, they were able to successfully build a robotic arm that provided feedback to Lorelei’s injured muscles. Over time, the stimulation helped her muscles recover. Soon, other families were tapping into the open source design and attempting to adapt similar devices for their children. Hoenen’s singular focus on outcome, rather than ownership, patents, or fame was a reminder of what, in the end, matters most.
Here are some memorable quotes from HLTH 2019:
“Healthcare doesn’t lack innovation. Healthcare lacks implementation.” – Dr. Sylvia Romm, Chief Innovation Officer, Atlantic Health Systems
“The blockbuster drug of this century is: ‘Engage Patient’ “– Dr. Anand Ayer, Chief Strategy Officer, WellDoc
“Life is a series of moments. Recognize that the moments are there. That is what garners respect.” – Dr. Tom Lee, Chief Medical Officer, Press Ganey
“You don’t need to be the leader to be a good leader.”– Mark Cuban, Serial Entrepreneur and Investor
While in Las Vegas, Dr. Poirier-Brode and Dr. Chin enjoyed connecting with the AMWA student branches at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.