This year’s 2nd Annual Digital Health Conference put the spotlight on efforts to advance healthcare innovation in New York and beyond. While the big apple is home to some of today’s biggest name celebrities like Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, talk of progress on health information exchanges and the secure sharing of data, as well as new mHealth and telemedicine tools, was top of mind at the conference.
Featured over the two-day conference were keynotes with Dr. David Brailer, Chairman of Health Evolution Partners, and often referred to as the ‘grandfather of health IT’, and Stephen Dubner, journalist and award-winning author of Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics, as well as breakout sessions on some of today’s hottest topics in healthcare.
One of the most well attended and thought provoking sessions was the ‘mHealth Innovators Panel’ with Ben Chodor, CEO of Happtique, as moderator and Leonard Achan, Vice President and Chief Communications Officer at The Mount SInai Medical Center; Wendy Mayer, Vice President, Worldwide Innovation at Pfizer; and Martha Wofford, Vice President, Head of CarePass at Aetna as panelists. By addressing the goals, perspectives and challenges of using mHealth for care delivery, this hour-long panel offered key insights on mHealth’s potential to revolutionize the healthcare ecosystem from the key players in the market including hospital providers, physicians, patients, pharma, payers and programmers.
Q: How do you convince the C-suite that innovation is important?
Wendy: My team drives innovation platforms with a focus on transforming digital to support business and develop capability tools across the organization. With digital, you can innovate more quickly. Pfizer is still working towards a corporate digital strategy but has come a long way.
Q: How has innovation changed?
Martha: There’s been an explosion of applications. Now it’s more about navigating the ecosystem and connecting the best pieces brought to market.
Leonard: We’re further along now. Once you get the C-level support and get past the threshold of change, then you build trust and it’s easier to move forward.
Q: What’s the best innovation out there?
Wendy: Accessibility to healthcare beyond the local environment and the global implications of providing care and extending care more broadly.
Q: What’s the best thing about CarePass?
Martha: Allowing people to see a different future with data and get them there. We’re excited about all the things you can plug into mobile. You can revolutionize access to care around the world.
Leonard: The $7 trillion impact of mobile in low and middle income countries across the globe. A lot of more simple technologies will be transplanted from countries around the world.
Q: Why do people say they want mHealth but not everyone is using it?
Wendy: The existence of mobile technology in places where there is no alternative of care allows for quick adoption. Here in the U.S., the alternative is the person, the doctor. We have an immense amount of data from the traditional care delivery approach and less reliable evidence and data to allow doctors to let go and feel more comfortable with mobile. Mobile as a new means of communication is difficult to assess the impact.
Q: What advice would you give to startups?
Wendy: Do your homework around issues that pharma is dealing with. Vendors come in and talk about solutions that don’t connect to our business strategy. We’re looking for ideas that address our challenges and solve real problems.
Leonard: You have to do a lot of research ahead of time. We used to let everyone in. It was a disaster for entrepreneurs pitching to executives and not doing their homework. It’s important to understand the business goals. If you’re going to save lives and money, you have a chance but you really have to differentiate yourself.
Martha: CarePass is attracting developers with new solutions. We’re working collaboratively with other organizations to inspire innovation. We may be further along but not yet attracting the best and brightest. We want to create a community for developers to help us innovate and drive change. https://developer.carepass.com/