Reflections on Day 1 of the Connected Health Conference

       The Connected health Conference in Boston has been a great experience for me so far.  It has been so fun to be immersed in everything digital health.  Discussed Artificial Intelligence and machine learning as well as telehealth and wearable technology.  There have been a few themes that resonated with me that I would like to share.
       As clinicians and as any provider of healthcare, in the very near future it will be expected that we meet the patient where they are, not where we would like them to be.  Remote patient monitoring was a constant motif throughout the day today. There are so many telehealth and virtual visit opportunities for patients.  Anyone who thinks that medical care should happen exclusively within the walls of a medical office or hospital will be the least successful healthcare providers moving forward.  Digital health is many things, but is it clear to me today that it is really about providing convenience to patients.
       More than any other group, those involved in Digital and Connected Health are acutely aware of the exponential growth in healthcare needs in America over the next decade.  One stat that absolutely drove this home was the idea the in 2020, less than two and half years from now, there will be more people over 65 years old than there will be children under 5.  The needs of those older adults will preclude most one on one care and the virtual care provided these patients will be able to fill in the gaps of care.
       It is 100% clear to me that Fee-For-Service payment models holds back new models of care.  Physicians, health care teams and administrators can not focus on experimenting and creating brand new models when you have to work so hard to on Fee-For-Service.  I heard Clayton Christensen speak today and he mentioned that in a lot of health systems, they make money when a patient is sick.  Better models would allow a healthcare system to make money to keep the patient well or to get well faster.  That is not where many of us are but where we all wish we could be.
       Many of the companies I met today are looking to go directly to the patient or caregiver to sell their product.  That has two consequences for physicians and those that provide medical care.  Traditional healthcare providers may find themselves marginalized in the decision making process for their patients.  We will find that our patients obtain devices and apps without any physician guidance.  The second issue that we, as physicians, will be expected to review and evaluate said data.  This will be expected of us, regardless of how beneficial we think the information is.
       Finally, one of the Keynote Speakers this morning was Futurist Chunka Mui.  He said something that will stick with me for a very long time.  He said that the “fast learner wins.”  That is applicable to everything in today’s medical and business environment.  When you think about it, it applies to everything.  Those who learn the fastest can adapt to changes faster.  It’s that adaptation in a rapidly changing world that leads to success.  I can’t wait to learn more tomorrow.  And learn it quickly.

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