Paul Horstmeier – Chief Operating Officer, Health Catalyst
On the second day of HAS 20 Virtual, Paul Horstmeier welcomed attendees from wherever they were joining, whether it be a couch or home office. He then offered a quick rundown of the day’s events, starting with three keynote speakers addressing topical healthcare subjects such as leveraging data to address COVID-19, digital healthcare transformations that improve accessibility, and the role of education in overcoming health disparities. Horstmeier wrapped up his remarks with a mention of the Analytics Walkabout and Machine Learning Marketplace and Digital Innovation Showcase, available in the afternoon, and a reminder of the latest HAS Game standings, including a come-from-behind leader now in first place.
Amy P. Abernethy, MD, PhD – Principal Deputy Commissioner and Acting CIO, US Food & Drug Administration
Sadiqa Mahmood, DDS, MPH – General Manager & Senior Vice President, Life Science Business, Health Catalyst
As an oncologist, scientist, and now the acting CIO at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Amy P. Abernethy, MD, PhD, has noted one common denominator across all industries: the value of data. In conversation with Sadiqa Mahmood, DDS, MPH, Dr. Abernethy explained that, while still at the beginning of its data journey, the FDA has laid the technical and communication foundations to leverage real-world data science in new ways.
COVID-19 highlighted the critical role data plays in responding to and managing public health emergencies. Data helped the FDA (and researchers and clinicians) understand the virus, treatment patterns, responses to treatment, and the performance of emergency use authorizations. Dr. Mahmood questioned that, though the FDA’s role as a regulator requires it to distance itself from other organizations, is there still an opportunity for collaboration? Dr. Abernethy responded with a strong yes and went on to discuss how the scattered response to COVID-19 surfaced an opportunity to synchronize efforts and combine data to create a vast pool of more accurate analytics.
To ensure organizations prepare for the next crisis, Dr. Abernethy emphasized that, above all, the healthcare community must learn from COVID-19. The pandemic has exposed a lot of challenges (e.g., remotely monitoring clinical trials and maintaining patient privacy) and as many opportunities to improve them—if the industry is open to data-driven innovations.
Yonatan Adiri – Chief Executive Officer, Healthy.IO
Yonatan Adiri, the founder and CEO of Healthy.io, identified the widespread adoption of smartphones as a new tool to make healthcare delivery more convenient. Adiri wanted to leverage the “selfie” concept by taking a photo with a smartphone camera (“a medical selfie”) and then transforming it into a clinical-grade image to deliver health information. To provide clinical-grade reads from a standardized smartphone camera, Healthy.io had to find a test that addressed the needs of the masses—something it could deliver via an image with clinical-grade accuracy.
Adiri decided the first test would be a urinalysis, administered to more than 600 million people every year. Currently, the urinalysis process is inefficient and cumbersome, requiring patients to visit different locations and wait days for results. The concept of the “medical selfie” would allow a patient to take a urine test from home, scan the results with her smartphone camera with clinical-grade accuracy, then safely submit that information to a provider.
This new clinical reality has resulted in a smartphone urinalysis that is FDA-approved, consumer-centric, and more convenient. Adiri emphasized that the medical selfie does not disrupt healthcare from the provider and payer perspective. Frame.io doesn’t change the hierarchy or workstream. Instead, it allows the patient to take the urinalysis at home and then submit the results from home. With medical transformations on the forefront, providers can deliver quality healthcare and serve patients where it’s most convenient without compromising quality or accuracy.
Anita Pramoda – Chief Executive Officer, Owned Outcomes, Inc
Chronic pain can cause a severe downturn in quality of life. While opiates can provide some relief, they also carry grave risks. Using an opiate for just five days increases the risk of long-term use and can lead to a lifetime of addiction. Fortunately, non-pharmacological pain management alternatives to opiates are emerging, with a growing volume of research attesting to their effectiveness.
In her keynote address, Anita Pramoda, CEO of Owned Outcomes, Inc, discussed widespread findings on virtual reality (VR) as an effective modality in pain management. As VR technology advances, Pramoda said, the costs are dropping, making these tools more accessible for widespread use. Meanwhile, researchers are evaluating ways VR can alter an individual’s experience of pain. In theory, if a VR headset allows users to tap into content for immersive experiences that transform their sense of reality (e.g., creating the sensation of standing on a beach from the comfort of home), can’t the same “sensory hijacking” methods alter the perception of pain?
According to studies of the virtual intersection of medicine and technology, the answer is yes. Among the research, a 2018 meta study showed that non-pharmacological adjuncts had become necessary modalities for effective pain management. A VR technique can distract the patient and reduce pain and anxiety, both for acute and chronic pain. Studies also indicate that immersive VR environments that allow patients to interact are most effective, with some cutting perceived pain by about half. Theories differ on how VR works to suppress pain (e.g., external stimuli reduces pain by blocking receptors), but there is consensus that newly injured patients are most receptive to VR therapy. Patients with positive outcomes with VR report significant increases in sleep, behavioral, physical, and social goals.
Sampson Davis, MD – Emergency Medicine Physician, New York Times Best-Selling Author
In a powerful keynote address, Sampson Davis, MD, shared his unique journey from his humble beginnings growing up in poverty in Newark, New Jersey, to becoming an emergency medicine physician and New York Times best-selling author. At the age of 17, he was arrested for robbery. Luckily, he was charged as a juvenile and sentenced to two years of probation. Through the experience, Dr. Davis realized that everyone faces challenges in life; it’s how you handle them that counts. He began to focus on school and embraced academic excellence for the first time.
Dr. Davis shared the story of unwittingly ending up in an assembly about higher education, something he had never aspired to because, in his words, “You can’t aim for what you can’t see.” Against many odds, Dr. Davis and his two friends from high school—all African American—graduated high school, college, and medical school, together every step of the way. After medical school, Dr. Davis applied to 45 different residencies. He ended up at Beth Israel Medical Center, the same hospital where he was born. There, Dr. Davis began to see the same despair he grew up with, including gun violence and high rates of blood pressure and diabetes. In response, with his friends from home, George Jenkins and Rameck Hunt, he founded the Three Doctors Foundation.
Dr. Davis shared the story of becoming a best-selling author and the many opportunities that came from his anomalous journey, including being a guest on the Oprah Winfrey show. He also shared losses he’s experienced during COVID-19 and the disparity with which the outbreak has impacted his community. As racial inequities continue to come to light, the pandemic has forced communities to sit still and work together to get past this moment because, in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Although the Analytics Walkabout and Machine Learning Marketplace went virtual this year, Paul Horstmeier was still full steam ahead, providing attendees with a showcase that explored analytics case studies and offered live conversations with presenters at each of the 19 stations. A common theme throughout the 10 Analytics Walkabout stations was how to leverage analytics in response to COVID-19—from population health strategies and primary care delivery to implementing telehealth solutions as an alternative to in-person care. The Machine Learning Marketplace offered nine stations that featured different ways health systems used machine learning in healthcare. Multiple case studies highlighted the value of predictive modeling to plan and prepare for future hospital needs (e.g., unplanned readmissions in a pediatric environment, forecasting hospital capacity, and planning for hospital surges) during the pandemic.
With presenters offering in-depth analysis of projects, answering live questions, and a chance to earn more points for the HAS Game, summit attendees had an exciting and engaging afternoon.
The HAS 20 Virtual Digital Innovation Showcase (DIS) maintained the event’s tradition of highlighting some of the healthcare industry’s most innovative digital solutions. This year, attendees navigated though virtual stations to view prerecorded 10-minute sessions with a live Q&A following and had an opportunity to request more information on products and services.
The virtual DIS featured 18 stations in which healthcare technology companies shared their solutions for common challenges in today’s industry landscape. Showcased innovations included AI-backed care coordination, digital health tools, AI voice assistance, social determinants of health, healthcare safety and quality, and more. Attendees could vote for their favorite stations, with voting results announced on Day 3 (Thursday, September 3) of the summit, and earn points towards the HAS Game for each station visit.
COVID-19 and the accelerated urgency for healthcare digitization naturally drove some of the showcased innovations. Solutions, however, focused on healthcare delivery challenges beyond the acute phases of the pandemic, looking at emerging models of care and operations in the new normal. Examples of solution focus areas included the following:
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