The inaugural Health Tech Summit on Monday will highlight the best and most challenging healthcare technology transformations.
The summit — held 9 a.m.-6 p.m. in room 303CD, Main Building — starts with the Main Event session, “Technology and Healthcare: The Road Ahead.”
“This is really a meeting within a meeting,” said Mintu Turakhia, MD, MAS, who co-chaired the summit planning committee with Maulik D. Majmudar, MD, associate director of the Healthcare Transformation Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “It’s not just about the broad topic of health technology. This is an in-depth examination of the application of a whole new set of tools in creative, new ways that can — and should — be highly impactful in cardiovascular health.
“The summit format brings together people who are interested in the problems, the solutions and the tools, and who want to apply them across multiple clinical areas and learnings. The things we are talking about — opening up electronic records; using sensor data; doing clinical trials better, faster, smarter; artificial intelligence — these can be applied to many different aspects of cardiology.”
If the topics sound familiar, the approaches won’t be. Artificial intelligence, for example, isn’t about artificiality or robots. It’s about efficiency. The role of AI is to be assistive, not artificial, said Turakhia, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine and executive director of the Center for Digital Health at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. AI should make health care easier, faster, more effective and less expensive by automating routine tasks that are more about attention to detail than creativity and interpretation of data, he said.
One key application is to speed tasks such as reading EKGs and identifying the arrhythmia in the heart. Both tasks are tedious and prone to errors of human judgment, Turakhia said.
Another application is to speed tasks that are computationally intensive to make them more efficient. A common example is improving operating room scheduling to increase efficiency and lower the pain points for patients, clinicians and staff.
“The spectrum of AI use is not different from any other use case outside of health care,” said Turakhia, who is also director of cardiac electrophysiology at the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health Care System. “That’s why AI is so important. It’s not about building robots that can care for patients.”
Sensors and diagnostics are just as likely to transform health care in ways many cardiologists might not envision. The current generation of sensors is highly sensitive and robust, and every successive generation improves performance. But a mature understanding of how to deploy sensors to improve health and patients’ and clinicians’ experience is lacking.
“It’s not just about the data science and the sensors,” Turakhia said. “It is increasingly an issue of coupling data with clinically proven behavioral science strategies. It’s about making data useful and actionable, and keeping patients looped in and engaged. We aren’t facing problems of technology; we are facing problems of behavioral science and behavioral psychology.”
Another key issue is who will pay for health technology. Familiar devices such as implanted pacemakers are typically paid by a private or public insurer.
“There’s very limited and ambiguous reimbursement for some of these digital devices and technologies,” Turakhia said. “These are the sorts of issues we will address as we look at how these technologies will impact cardiology.”
Where are they now?
A special session during Monday’s Health Tech Summit will feature past winners of the annual Health Tech Competition at Scientific Sessions.
Representatives from Eko Devices, Twiage and Constant Therapy will update attendees on their award-winning products during “Health Tech Competition: Where Are They Now?” The 25-minute session begins at 3:30 p.m. in room 303CD, Main Building.
The fourth annual Health Tech Competition will be held 1-2:30 p.m. Monday at EP Central, booth 2411, in the Science and Technology Hall.