Tuesday May 17, 2016 0 comments
DENVER -- Hundreds of digital health startup entrepreneurs and health organization representatives converged Monday at the 2016 Prime Health Innovation Summit and Expo to discuss the issues facing Colorado’s burgeoning digital health industry.
The all-day event at the Denver Convention Center featured speakers and panel discussions on building new care models with digital health, improving patient satisfaction and engagement, enhancing quality of care and improving interoperability.
The day’s discussions focused on the medical industry’s rapidly growing digital health sector and how new technology can help accelerate a more patient-centered – and more profitable -- health care ecosystem.
The transformation of the medical industry through the conversion of paper files to digital electronic health records (EHRs) is but one of the many ways the digital revolution is changing the doctor-hospital-patient dynamic.
Making medical systems more patient and physician friendly was spotlighted in a panel on “Building Care Models with Digital Health.”
Jane Chiang, senior VP for medical affairs with the American Diabetes Association, said she understands why digital health startups want to have an impact on diabetes education and treatment, with one in three Americans either having or at risk of developing diabetes in their lifetimes.
“If you’re wondering why tech companies are interested in this – they see the dollar signs,” she said.
Chiang said the ADA has a “wealth of content” to share with entrepreneurial startups, which can aid the organization in getting factual information out to those who need it.
“There are claims that cinnamon can cure diabetes, and that’s not true,” she said. “We want to help tech companies curate the information so we can get really good information out there.
“We want people to have a better quality of life, and that’s why the ADA is involved with digital,” Chiang said.
Christopher Khoury, American Medical Association VP, said his organization is advocating that physicians learn to use technology more effectively.
“We may be a 170-year-old organization, but we’re doing a lot of things to look forward,” he said.
“We want to make sure physicians are at the forefront of this revolution.”
But Khoury cautioned that many physicians are feeling a little overwhelmed by cascading health care changes and need a steady hand to help them cope.
“I do think physicians can be early and aggressive adopters of technology, but they want it done for them and not to them,” he said.
Gary Loveman, Aetna’s executive VP of consumer health and services, told a lunch audience that digital technology holds the key to helping lower healthcare costs.
“We all need to be partners,” he said. “We’ve got to work together to bring down our costs."
Loveman said the future of health care lies in integrating digital innovation.
“We’ve got a very bright future in this area, but there’s an awful lot yet to do,” he said.
Christi Zuber, founder of the Innovation Consultancy at Kaiser Permanente, told the lunch-time crowd that the hospital organization will build an innovation center at the Catalyst HTI campus in Denver’s RiNo district in 2018.
The innovation center will be a pilot site where new clinical innovations and processes can be tested.
“We need to rapidly innovate and develop innovative integrations,” Zuber said.
Jeffrey Nathanson, Prime Health president and CEO, said the five-year-old organization has a program called “Prime Health Qualify” that qualifies digital health companies in Colorado to meet current market needs.
Nathanson said so far more than 100 companies have been qualified through the program, and those who have qualified have raised $34 million in investment.
“Our focus has been on building on the key DNA in Colorado, and that is collaboration,” he said.
Another major issue facing the growth and effectiveness of digital health technology is interoperability, or the ability for different systems and platforms to function with each other.
“A lack of plug-and-play interoperability can compromise patient safety, impact care quality and waste billions each year,” said Ed Cantwell, executive director of the Center for Medical Interoperability in Nashville.
Cantwell said no one expects the government to solve the problem and that the solution must come from the private sector.
Frank Ricotta, managing partner for BurstIQ, said another major issue regarding interoperability is keeping patient data safe and secure.
He noted that 91 percent of all health care organizations reported a data breach in 2014.
“No industry demonstrates the need for interoperability more than health care,” he said.
Prime Health is a business ecosystem of health care administrators, providers, technologists, academics, entrepreneurs and investors dedicated to enhancing health care through digital health innovation.
Mike Biselli, one of Prime Health’s founders and president of Catalyst HTI, a health care campus being developed in Denver’s north downtown area, said this year’s Summit and Expo targeted the integration of health innovation into the medical industry.
"It’s a continued opportunity to drive the collaborative spirit that is Colorado,” Biselli said, “and you’re seeing it in real time.
“How do we continue to drive collaboration between the startup entrepreneurial community and existing health care organizations? That’s what this is about.”
Biselli said Prime Health and Catalyst’s mission is to make Colorado the No. 1 digital health cluster in the nation by 2020.