We just got back from an inspiring 2 days at the Rock Health Innovation Summit in San Francisco. It felt like a true intersection of digital health disruption and “old guard” transformation. Keynote interview Ian Clark, CEO of Genentech, welcomed consumer tech companies Apple and Google to the health playing field and wished everyone luck with the regulations involved in health innovation. He embraced potential partnerships with Silicon Valley’s burgeoning digital health scene, saying Genentech was open to technologies that could help patients.
Largely, the discussion centered on how innovation and change would take hold in health. Many of the speakers and entrepreneurs are identifying places where the current healthcare system is broken in terms of serving people and developing ways to positively impact health at a reasonable cost. There was considerable debate about whether this innovation would come from consumers here in the US, from other countries not as highly regulated, or incrementally from the existing infrastructure moving cautiously forward to embrace practices like telemedicine, smartphones technologies, and robot-performed surgery, among others.
A few of our highlights from the 2 days:
Tour of the offices of Grand Rounds
In today’s healthcare system, there are one-percenters inside the medical community. These people are knowledgeable, critical thinkers about the healthcare they receive and, as a result, are getting quality care. The other 99% of us have no real idea what the path to good outcomes looks like. We assume the answers we get are the best ones available when in most cases, this simply isn’t true: we don’t have access to the right specialists who know how to put us on the path to the best possible outcomes — even though these doctors are technically available to us.
Grand Rounds fixes this by building a world-class network of experts who can evaluate treatment options and quickly put patients on a path to great health outcomes in a way that isn’t limited to wealthy or privileged. Grand Rounds works directly with employers to reevaluate the health situations of the 6% of people who are driving 65% of an employer’s healthcare costs. Among the patients they have helped, they have changed treatments 67% of the time, saving employer plans $10,000 per case, and have 8x higher utilization of services than 1st generation healthcare programs.
AliveCor Gets FDA Approval for an algorithm
We also toured the offices of AliveCor. Their AliveECG app will soon run an algorithm that detects atrial fibrillation (AF). This is serious. For people with a history of heart trouble, this app could provide an early warning system you simply don’t get with sporadic trips to the doctor.
When the algorithm detects AF, the user can either send their ECG to a board-certified cardiologist (24 hours) or a technician (30 minutes) for verification, or send t directly to their doctor.
Paging Doctor Droid
In a conversation around finding the balance between the efficiencies and accuracy of “robodocs” with the human need for empathy and touch, one of the panelists, Dr. Daniel Kraft from Singularity University, showed up in the form of a telepresence robot. The highlight of the panel (besides the discussion around robots in surgery, which is clearly an exciting area to watch), was his response to a question from the audience along the lines of “As this panel has clearly shown, how do we deal with the fact that humans don’t interact with robots (and visa versa) unless they are directly addressed?” When Dr. Kraft answered, he thought he had heard the word “flying”—and proceeded to talk about how drones could be used to deliver medication—a perfect answer, considering the gist of the question 😉
A great gathering of thought leaders from across the world of healthcare. Our takeaway was that the consumer and the clinical experiences are coming closer together. The new guard and the old guard will have to work together to move the transformation of health forward—and that process is already underway.
– Brendan Gallagher, EVP, Experience Strategy & Innovation