We sit down with Dr. Lisa Kennedy, Adjunct Faculty at the Singularity University to share about insights into current and future trends, challenges to Singularity and seamlessness, as well as how resource-sparse regions of Asia should approach technology uptake.
The HIMSS Asia Pacific Digital Healthcare Week 2015 is also honoured to have her attend as a speaker to share her insights. Go to www.himssasiapac15.org for more information about the event and register as an early bird today (Deadline: 1 August).
Trends leading up to 2020
Q: The Singularity University emphasizes on exponential technologies to solve pressing global problems. What exponential technologies will be trending in the next 5 years in the healthcare field?
Health technology is changing faster than it ever has before. Whether it's wearables that are moving to become "disappearables" unnoticeably integrated into clothing, genomics, bionics, tissue regeneration, robotics, artificial intelligence and the democratization of health tools and innovation - all of these are moving at an unprecedented pace of change.
These technologies aren't abstract news stories, they are improving health outcomes in patients: Technologies like the robotic Da Vinci surgical system that is making surgery more precise, wearables that are picking up disease complications faster than ever before, bionics that are allowing paralyzed people to walk and the deaf to hear or genomics that are letting women choose how they deal with family-inherited breast cancer.
While hospital providers have new and better tools, patients are engaging with these technologies that offer them more information, more choice and the opportunity to drive their own health. It isn't just the "wonder' that we talk about - it's the "wonder" that's having a material impact on patients' lives.
Q: Do you foresee a revolution in healthcare technologies? What issues do we hope these technologies resolve?
The best example of this is synthetic biology. A discipline that is only slightly more than 15 years old is now available to college and high school students who compete in the iGEM competition to create biological systems and operate them in living cells.
These are teenagers who now have the skills to modify e-coli to carry oxygen or change a cell to withstand the challenges of space. We talk about the 'digital native' - these are 'synthetic biology natives' who will shape our future in ways we can't imagine.
But the single most important symbol of change is websites such as the Genome Compiler that allow anyone to custom design DNA through an easy interface. Once that DNA is bio-printed, its creator can purchase it receiving 4mcg of their freeze-dried designed DNA in the mail. It's 'Amazon' for synthetic biology and over such a short time this is surely the best example of the healthcare technology revolution. It's mind-blowing!
Innovative and affordable healthcare delivery
You will be sharing about various cost-effective solutions for healthcare deliveries. What is that ONE affordable innovation that Asia should adopt to re-define healthcare delivery for their patients? How will this impact especially the resource-poor and budget-constrained healthcare institutions?
For resource-poor and budget-constrained healthcare institutions, cheaper, smaller, durable and more mobile technologies are allowing healthcare to be delivered in the field wherever patients are found.
These devices have simple interfaces allowing non-medically trained healthcare personnel to utilize these tools for a more accurate diagnosis and better treatment of diseases.
These include 'lab on a chip' malaria diagnosis devices, hand-held PCRs such as Bigtec's TrueLabRead, Urinary devices such as Ucheck for the detection of anemia in pregnant women, Matternet ONE that is utilizing drone technology to deliver needed supplies and the Embrace, an affordable way to keep newborn babies warm.
These are the technologies that are making healthcare easier and more accessible, improving healthcare outcomes in the most remote places.
They are ideal in Asia as they will leapfrog older tools and redefine affordable accessible healthcare delivery: cheaper, more accessible, effective and safer.
Challenge to singularity
Q: Many hospitals acquire solutions without a long-term or wider strategy to synchronize with other healthcare stakeholders. What is the biggest challenge to seamlessness in healthcare institutions?
Healthcare doesn't naturally lend itself to synchronized care. Historically, the challenges are numerous from how products are manufactured to how healthcare systems are structured. Inter-operability has been discussed as one of the leading unmet needs for the past 10 years.
Yet manufacturers haven't been able to justify the massive investments to remediate for inter-operable devices. IT is only now evolving into next generation advanced and nimble systems. At the same time healthcare providers are siloed across community, primary, secondary and tertiary care making common standards in the sharing of patient records and data sets more difficult not to mention legislation that can limit the movement of patient data. Add to this the pressures in healthcare that are not the same as in other industries.
Q: What can be done about this?
Health care incentives are just changing now across the world as payment moves from capitation and fee-for-service to value-based payment focusing on health outcomes.
We've been discussing the promise of population health and better disease management for the last 20 years but it's only now that we're starting to see changes in every one of the above challenges that will enable this.
If you can believe it, creating an exponential health technology is a magnitude easier than reforming a highly regulated system with a legacy of poorly aligned incentives! For those who have been more than patient, synchronized seamless healthcare will be a reality in 5 years.
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Machine learning and artificial intelligence will massively influence the way healthcare is executed in the years to come. This is true for diagnostics, for medical therapy, and for population health management. This issue of Insights will address numerous tough and exciting questions around regulation, the algorithm black box, and what does it all mean for care delivery?
Healthcare digitization is still often perceived as being an endeavour on the level of the individual healthcare system or nation state. While there is some truth in that, it is equally obvious that a global digital health market is evolving, with vast opportunities for IT companies, healthcare providers, med-tech, pharma giants and even charities who are courageous enough to think big. In this edition of the HIMSS Insights eBook, we give these global eHealth champions a platform. Download your copy of the eBook for free today to access the most insightful content and news.
Paper health information presents significant challenges to large hospital environments. Due to the clinical risks that having a predominantly paper health record causes, Mater decided to take action to address the challenges of paper health records, which also resulted in significant increases in efficiency and cost reduction, all pre-dating the commencement of an EMR implementation. HIMSS Asia Pacific speaks with Sallyanne Wissmann, Director Information Management, Mater Health Services, Brisbane, ahead of her presentation at HIMSS AsiaPac18.