September 16-18, 2018 | Santa Clara, CA

Multidisciplinary Thinkers and Diverse Tech Are Keys To Health Care Transformation

by GRACE MOEN - Writer for Health 2.0 covering news and trends, and reflecting on the evolving industry.



ICYMI: This is your one-stop guide to reliving the excitement and insight that was Day Two of the 12th Annual Fall Conference last month in Santa Clara. To read the Day One recap, click here. And for more photos, soundbites, and a play-by-play, read on…


On the heels of a very successful day one and a vibrant international poolside cocktail hour that convened representatives from across the globe, Matthew and Indu kicked off day two with brief remarks before passing the baton to our Keynote speaker Jane Metcalfe.



Keynote: Jane Metcalfe

“What idea horrifies you today, that could be frontier-facing just a few years from now?” Such were the comfort-zone crushing ideas presented by Jane Metcalfe, Founder of NEO.LIFE. Kombucha-made textiles on the fashion runway… Meat that grows on trees… CRISPR technology as food solutions.... Full genome sequencing. Jane is new to the Health 2.0 stage, but no stranger to the forefront of innovation. Her publishing company, Wired (you may have heard of it) sold for big money to Conde Nast many years ago, and was dedicated to covering the digital revolution. While she never expected to get back into publishing, Jane saw another revolution come to light that begged a platform. She coined it the Neobiological Revolution, which is the convergence of technology and new human biology (most notably, genomics) and the not-so-futuristic possibilities this generates. Today the news site NEO.LIFE and it’s accompanying newsletter (which we highly recommend - it’ll be the only one you actually read) is dedicated to the Neobiological Revolution and is here to inform and inspire curiosity across the spectrum of advancements. The future is now and her call to action for the innovators in the room is that “we need interdisciplinary transformers to make this work.”



The Unacceptables

The Unacceptables session has a history of keeping us all on the edge of our seats. Covering topics that range from diversity in tech and loneliness to violence and organ trafficking, this is where HIMSS EVP Indu Subaiya gets to not only lay down some real truths and shine a light onto the the dark spots within our ecosystem, but also showcase exciting and inspiring solutions. This year Indu focused on the opioid epidemic, physician suicide, eating disorders, and natural disaster relief, and she brought on a cast of frontline leaders to discuss it.


First up: the opioid epidemic and how our community is fighting it from the highest levels of government. Mona Siddiqui cut her teeth in the Obama White House and is now Chief Data Officer at HHS in charge of a vast data management strategy. Her chief initiative has been an upcoming report that interviewed 11 various government agencies and how they use and share their data. This information will become pivotal to how they can work to effectively break the cycle in the opioid epidemic through synthesizing truthful and actionable system changes within the an epidemic that doesn’t currently yield enough data. ESRI is also familiar with this phenomena. As no stranger to our stage, we love ESRI for their comprehensive data sets and interactive visualizations for a variety of public health issues. This year Este Geraghty, Chief Medical Officer, joined us to pinpoint some specific initiatives related to the opioid epidemic. Together their “Death Map,” Hope Map, and a variety of community partnerships connected to Drug Buy Back Days for instance, they are able to thread together stories that speak to the humanity of a drug crisis. As a remedy to insufficient data, ESRI has been working on cross-referencing data sets and public initiatives to illuminate new narratives. Oakland County, Missouri for example is one such community is using ESRI data for intervention initiatives. “Progress happens at the speed of trust” Este reminds us. “Our problems in this country and in the world are so complex, so we need multiple experts. That complexity means you need to build relationships and trust one another with our data and with our processes.” As a technological solution, we featured AiME by Textpert. The tool, founded by Ray Christian, is a bot designed to observe the same inputs a psychiatrist does - body language, tone, and speech content - to assess risk levels of depression, anxiety and addiction. Essentially to decode emotions that put people at risk. “This could bridge the geography gap, to provide tools to patients at the time that they need them” commented Mona.


In the second segment of the Unacceptables Indu moves to discuss physician suicide. Talk about a tough subject that often goes unreported. The root cause of physician suicide can no longer be an enigma, and to cite “burnout is victim blaming. Rather, the problem is the system” says Robyn Symon, Director of the documentary Do No Harm. Her mission is to investigate what’s really going on here. Today in America medical errors are the third largest cause of patient death behind heart disease and cancer. There is however, no checkbox on a death certificate marked for “medical errors” which further pushes physician experiences into the shadows. Robyn reports that approx. 400 physician commit suicide annually, but in reality its two to three times that and 50% of people who need help aren't getting it. Physicians are viewed as heros and it’s unfortunately, unsightly to discuss their humanity. In not doing so, it is literally killing them. The stigma, the shame, and the lack of access to discreet treatment is one major barrier to getting help. Emily Hine of Meru Health presented a very elegant solution: an app that matches users up with a therapist, a community of peer support, and utilizes self reported and behavioral change psychological tools to aid in healing depression. “In a physician setting” she says, “it’s so important to know that you’re not alone. And with Meru Health, that anonymity is protected.”

Moving right along to the Unacceptables part three…. in case you thought eating disorders were for attention seeking white teenage girls, you’d be super wrong. Kristina Saffran, CEO of Project HEAL, implored us to look past cliche. It turns out that one in 10 people have an eating disorder - and those rates by the way are true across racial, age, and gender demographics - and 80% of them don’t get treatment. This is due to variety of factors related to stigma, lack of diagnosis, or lack of affordable resources. Project HEAL raises money for treatment for those who couldn’t afford it and now serves an impressive 100,000 patients and communities across the country. What caught my attention was that a lot of the work we do in the health tech space related to quantifying the self is in fact detrimental to a person in recovery. Tracking steps, calories, and BMI is a huge trigger as they all share in common a goal of losing or maintaining weight. These trendy initiatives don’t cast the kind of inclusive light required for recovery. Jenna Tregarthen, a Health 2.0 and 2013 Launch! alumnus presented her alternative: Recovery Record. Recovery Record is a tracking tool that helps users collaborate their recovery with dieticians, medical professionals, and a support system. It’s the first tool of its kind designed for both patients and physicians.


The fourth and final subject area for this year's Unacceptables session was emergency responsive with an emphasis on natural disaster response. With the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and flooding of late, and the resulting poverty and hunger suffered by millions, there have been some impressive and sweeping initiatives in the health care realm brought to the forefront. In the wake of unspeakable destruction, having safe and expedient resources available is key. Two representatives of this field joined Indu on stage, Brendan Carr, who works within HHS ASPR (Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response) TRACIE (the Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange) spoke to the the government side, while Scott Afzal, who presented a technology solution. TRACIE is a coalition of response partners organized by HHS and includes programs like the Hospital Preparedness Program. They, for example, provide capacity information such as number of open beds, number of nurses on staff and sorts by hospital speciality areas like pediatric surgery or burn trauma for example. Brendan goes on to say that “data is typically stale by the time it gets to decision makers” and that the U.S. government doesn’t have enough expertise internally to bridge data silos in extreme conditions, thus highlighting the importance of partnering with community organization to bring about the best innovative resources. Audacious Inquiry, led by Scott Afzal, is one such solution. They are a tech tool to deliver health care more effectively under the pressure of and limited resources of a natural disaster. Their core product is called PULSE (Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies) and it’s helping health care volunteers to retrieve health information for victims and evacuees.


And on that note it was time for a break to absorb the weight of what we’d just heard, eat some lunch, and continue mingling with our fellow guests.



4 CEOs

On our return from lunch we filed back into the main stage ballroom for a fan favorite: 4 CEOs. Notable this year in comparison to years past was the number of female CEOs featured. But not before Matthew introduced the first interview pairing with an unavoidable Jonah Hill joke as Jonah Comstock, Editor in Chief at MobiHealthNews and Hill Ferguson, CEO of Doctor on Demand, took their seats on stage.

Telemedicine is as popular as ever, with a reported 96% of employer groups planning to offer the service to their employees this year. Technology platforms like Doctor on Demand are lighting the way. In practice, Doctor on Demand provides video visits with healthcare providers but in mission, they are bringing an old care delivery model that used to mean commuting to a brick and mortar clinic, long wait times, and short visits, into the future. Hill’s approach is two fold: to gain adoption and consumer trust through meeting people where they are, and to also be innovative through pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. “technology should be accessible and delightful” he says, “and behavior change is at the heart of it, both for the consumer and the doctor.”


We are arguably, in the third wave of data use. What began as quietly collecting data behind the scenes, then evolved into a Free the Data movement with dissolving silos led by patients and clinicians alike, and is today a climate where “if you’re going to sell my data, count me in” says Jess DeMassa, who you likely know from WTF Health and her regular video chats with Matthew Holt in Health in 2 . 00. Her shamelessly candid interview style is a great compliment opposite Deborah Kilpatrick, CEO at Evidation Health who comes across as even keeled and whip smart. Consumers now want in on the data game, and Evidation believes patients should be compensated for these data transactions. Deb prides herself on Evidation’s direct connections to people and their ability to ingest billions of data streams to provide better outcomes. Their core product is using data to disrupt clinical research and unlock unprecedented amounts of behavior data in the context of clinical trials. Folks like Sanofi love them and their recent milestones include a $30 million round of funding they plan to use to scale their studies. Also keep an eye out for the launch of a data platform - a popular resource that will soon be made more widely available.


Lonnie Rae is not your average patient. She’s also not your average tech CEO. Lonnie has survived two major health events: a bus crash and an arduous search for a diagnosis to her mystery illness. As a trained physician, the culmination of all three experiences left her with some very real frustrations: data isn’t being shared, when it is, it isn’t being shared efficiently, and thirdly, that it isn’t actionable. It’s her personal founders story that she shared on stage in conversation with Beth Kutscher from LinkedIn, and gave some rather frightening context to the interoperability problem facing the entire industry today. Luckily for all of us, Lonnie is tenacious and she founded Medal: a super simple tool that can extract data from any health record and share it anywhere in the world. Their robust NLP tool makes sense of extremely large data sets allowing the end user to understand the whole picture about any given patient. Do not mistake this for yet another EMR though. Rather, Medal plays with them all. Expect to see and hear a lot more from Lonnie in the coming months. And as a personal anecdote, Lonnie would often take calls with me while on bedrest, fresh out of surgery, steadfast and focused. Such is her passion for solving the interoperability problem for all of us.

The session has historically been 3 CEOs, but we add a fourth when the curation team unanimously shares an excitement for a particular leader’s work in our community. This year it was Elaine Batchlor, a doctor with a background in population health and CEO of Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in South Los Angeles. The region is facing a shortage of 1,200 physicians, which means the work that they do with the resources they have is even more vital. Weeks before their onstage interview Indu went to visit Elaine at MLKCH and what she found so fascinating about their approach is their model. Their unique public-private funding model is a rarely seen in the US and it’s working. So far they have received $50 Million in private funding from donors and 40% of their own staff make donations to the hospitals general fund (compared to 5-10% at other hospitals). “Generosity is our culture” she says. What’s more is that they “developed a culture that moved quickly and that is adaptive. We gave our team permission to be creative, to not follow the crowd.” Her administrative team doesn’t necessarily have traditional hospital backgrounds, meaning that they walk in the door already thinking out of the box. Having opened in 2015 to a community devoid of clinical resources, they got to work well before the ribbon was cut. This meant being in the community, meeting people in places they were already spending time like in barbers, in malls, etc. which enabled them to address root causes of health such as nutrition. The result is being nationally ranked for patient satisfaction in the top 8%. We can’t wait to see how more hospitals learn from Elaine’s leadership style and business practices.



EMR Evolution: How Big Players Are Changing the Game

The excitement of the Fall Conference had to come to an end and the cherry on top of three incredible days was Matthew’s EMR-focused session. The EMR saga reigns on. And at the snails pace many large systems run in, it’s actually quite remarkable to see over 1,100 EMRs on the market today. It leaves one to wonder if more EMRs is really the solution to the interoperability question. Matthew, who has historically curated and moderated the EMR-focused session at Health 2.0 and who usually shows up with an anecdote or two about his children’s latest blunder with the health care system, brought on a well-rounded all-star cast to discuss their respective latest initiatives.


Rasu Shrestha, Chief Innovation Officer at UPMC (who is also - fun fact - on the VA committee for the open API pledge), John Gresham, SVP DeviceWorks and Interoperability at Cerner, Jim Hewitt, EVP of Development at Allscripts (who has been with Health 2.0 from the beginning which is a fascinating vantage point to observe Allscripts growth from), and Simon Kos, Chief Medical Officer at Microsoft all joined Matthew onstage for a series of technology demos and curious conversation.


First up at the podium was Medisafe. You’ve probably seen Medisafe on stage at Health 2.0 before (they won our Traction competition in 2014). But you haven’t seen them demo how they plug into Apple’s Health Records. Now, Omri Shor, CEO and Co-Founder at Medisafe is telling us he can pull health records directly out of the Health Records app and continuously sync data complete with physician instructions and medication management. No wonder they recently won $25 million.


Next up to demo was Erin Trimble, VP of Provider Organizations at Redox. She showed us how they take the vast array of disparate languages and protocols across EMRs, across provider organizations and translate them into a consistent and standardized language. Finally, we can get all our data on the same page… Part of the difficulty, says Simon, is that “every country has a different regulatory framework,” speaking to just one of the many challenges faced when launching into health care. Aashima Gupta, who spearheads healthcare solutions at Google Cloud, reminded us all that “in the end it’s not about tech, it’s about patient outcomes.” Kristin Valdes, CEO at B.well couldn’t agree more. B.well uses technology as a platform with the mission of supporting patients and enabling care teams to act together more effectively. Her FHIR-enabled app gets care teams to manage all their care in a single location. Bonus: users get points for healthy behaviors.


Rasu and Matthew backstage before the EMR Evolution session. Photo courtesy of Rasu Shrestha.


How we’ll continue to evolve this industry is to be seen, but one thing we can guarantee is that the question of data ownership and data liberation will be a key thesis for 2019.


That’s A Wrap, Folks!

Thank you for joining us, as always, and we can’t wait to see you again in 2019 for lucky number 13! If you’re hungry for more and can’t wait until then, check out some photos from the event, save the date for WinterTech in San Francisco during J.P. Morgan Week, or engage with a Health 2.0 Chapter near you.







Secure Your Seat

Be a part of the conversation!


Register Today