20 Jan The New York City shuffle – Day 4
We landed, tired but excited, in New York after a ‘red-eye’ overnight from San Francisco – for the final leg of the Healthcare Disruption Tour. San Francisco showed us the full range of disruption – of straight up venture capital, to wet biology, to digital healthcare. New York promised to show a different side to Healthcare Disruption – of big business and big health systems redeploying technologies to re-ask the questions core to the business of everyone across the healthcare continuum.
Our first presentation of the day was from IBM Watson Health – the healthcare division of the cognitive computing arm of IBM. While also being a champion gameshow player, it is in its extension towards enterprise roles – for instance, in drug development and population health – where Watson is beginning to excel. The future is definitely emerging in this kind of technology – and it is sure that eventually it will touch areas of the healthcare industry we cannot even think of yet.
We then shot up to Mount Sinai, at the north end of central park. We were there to engage with two different parts of the organization – the Sinai Applab, and the Icahn School of medicine – for a bumper afternoon, highlighting the importance of the interaction between real patient contact, and creative thinking.
The Applab, led by Dr. Ashish Atreja, serves as a research centre and coordinator for smart apps which can be prescribed by physicians. By offering a platform (with apps for different conditions as modules within it), the team offers an intriguing glimpse into the future of the relationship between the patient and the health system. For instance, in the knowledge that physicians are not willing, or able, to see further data on their patients, there will need to be a new role. This will be that of a ‘remote care expert’ – who will be able to flag and engage with any negative trends seen in either self reported data from, or other information about, patients between care encounters. Importantly, within the app platform it will be possible to feed in different information sources – such as wearables, or smart pill bottles, to speed up and improve the clinical trials experience. It proved to be a truly fascinating look into not only how technology can change treatment options, but also how this may require changes in traditional staffing and careflows. It is clear that for these tools to work well, they can not only be a digital widget – it requires change at all levels.
The Icahn Institute proved another intriguing glimpse into the consumerization of healthcare – both on a genomic level, and on a hardware level. Mount Sinai has a huge genetic screening facility, and is expert in hereditary disease markers (amongst other things). This has proved to be a high growth area – and they are using this experience to drive engagement with a much wider, consumer-focussed, series of partnerships. This will allow people to gain not only specific disease and life-changing insights, but also to see where tastes may be different from others – and ‘warm consumers up’ to the idea of genetic testing for a wider range of issues.
On the other side of consumerization, Icahn was also one of the first research outfits to use the Apple Researchkit platform – for measuring data around those with asthma, using their Apple phones. Not only was this revolutionary, in so much as there was no formal ‘site’ for the experiment, but also the trial filled in a fraction of the time it would take for a conventional version (3000 participants in three days!). This methodology raises many more questions for how best to keep consumers engaged in their own care, and what the trial of the future may look like. Needless to say – this is the beginning of a new way of thinking about geography, engagement and experiments.
Tomorrow is our last day in New York – and of the Healthcare Disruption Tour. We will visit Zocdoc, who is bringing a new degree of consumer logic to the selection of physicians and scheduling, and StartUp Health, one of the most important healthcare startup incubators in the country.