What well being tech execs mentioned
Jen Horonjeff, a affected person with an auto-immune illness, wore a hospital robe on stage throughout her panel on the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Convention in Jan. 2020 to remind attendees to deal with sufferers.
1000’s of well being executives descended on San Francisco this week for the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Convention to pitch their firms, forge offers and talk about the way forward for the $3.5 trillion well being sector.
Conversations unfolded in espresso retailers and bars, and at a slew of unofficial occasions, but additionally in public shows, the place executives talked up how their companies.
Listed here are a number of the greatest themes thus far:
What’s digital well being?
Some attendees felt the shortage of a transparent definition for “digital well being” is likely to be hurting the sector.
Digital well being is broadly thought of the intersection of well being and expertise, however the time period is so over-used and over-hyped, it is now not clear what it means.
Gamers within the area exhibit large variations in high quality and method. Some firms are profitable over medical doctors by funding scientific research that present their options could make a distinction to sufferers. Some are getting their software program instruments cleared by federal regulators.
On the similar time, some wellness apps and instruments routinely outlined as “digital well being” are in actual fact working on the fringes of the medical sector.
All of these merchandise are lumped collectively — and that may very well be drawback. American Medical Affiliation CEO James Madara referred to as for higher curation of those apps in order that medical doctors know whether or not they can suggest these new applied sciences to their sufferers.
Massive tech’s march
The convention was as soon as primarily crammed with biotech and well being care executives and buyers. Now, a number of the largest Silicon Valley firms, together with Google father or mother firm Alphabet and Salesforce, host occasions to speak in regards to the roles that expertise like synthetic intelligence and cloud computing play in healthcare.
Not everyone seems to be satisfied that these firms will be profitable. Google’s relationship with the well being system Ascension was introduced up a number of occasions. The Wall Avenue Journal reported that the 2 firms struck a deal that concerned some Google workers accessing sufferers’ protected well being data, with out asking for consent within the course of. Google’s vp of well being David Feinberg addressed considerations about affected person privateness this week at Startup Well being, a J.P. Morgan Well being satellite tv for pc occasion. He stated there will be public well being advantages to giving tech firms entry to well being information, and highlighted the corporate’s efforts to detect breast most cancers in mammograms for example.
Different firms stated they wish to transfer into healthcare with out competing with incumbents. Peter Lee, Microsoft’s company vp of well being, advised CNBC that Microsoft is forging partnerships with the medical trade (it already has offers with drug makers and well being plans like Novartis, Humana and others), somewhat than competing with incumbents. Lee stated many shoppers do not belief tech firms to safeguard their delicate medical data.
Attendees requested lots of the well being executives at J.P. Morgan to handle situation of drug pricing, which is an more and more essential matter in Washington, D.C. Drug firms kicked off the yr by elevating the price of a lot of their therapies by about 5 %.
Pharmaceutical firms routinely identified on stage that it prices greater than $2 billion to develop a brand new drug, and that the US foots the invoice for the majority of this R&D in comparison with different nations. That is true, however it’s additionally the case that sufferers are getting routinely bankrupted by medical debt — they usually aren’t in different elements of the world.
One new effort that obtained plenty of buzz on the convention this yr is an formidable start-up that’s trying to handle the drug pricing drawback. EQRx, which is backed by a mixture of well being and tech buyers together with Alphabet and ARCH Enterprise Companions, launched this week with a aim to undercut the value of medicine. The corporate advised CNBC that it goals to get 10 new medication accepted within the subsequent decade, however declined to specify its first set of targets.
The shortage of variety
JPM doesn’t draw a very various crowd. The attendees are typically white, male and wearing and Patagonia vests. There are all the time tweets on the subject, which is placing extra deal with bringing new voices to panels and shows.
However these modifications are occurring slowly, partly as a result of there is a lack of variety within the c-suite throughout all sectors — and well being care is not any exception.
The place are the sufferers?
One of many highlights of this yr’s convention concerned one affected person with an auto-immune illness, Jen Horonjeff, carrying a hospital robe on stage at her panel.
Horonjeff, who began the hashtag #askpatients and can be a affected person advocate, famous in a tweet that she determined to put on the robe to “spotlight the ability imbalance between decision-makers and finish customers.” She famous that sufferers are sometimes “stripped of company and blamed once they do not comply.”
Horonjeff has some extent. Sufferers are sometimes invited, however hardly ever effectively represented at well being conferences. Their perspective is commonly overshadowed in a sea of conversations about tips on how to make higher monetary returns within the sector.