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Interview: Health technology can transform healthcare industry (Includes interview and first-hand account)

In October 2017, Health2047 announced the spin-off of a new company that is developing a secure health data network. This network will share information between physicians, providers, payers and pharmaceutical groups. The initial focus of this new venture will be tackling issues like chronic disease management, value-based care and physician burnout.

To understand more about this, Digital Journal spoke with Health2047 Managing Director Dr. Jack Stockert.

Digital Journal: Please explain about Health2047 and its mission?

Dr. Jack Stockert: Health2047 is an enterprise founded by the AMA and focused on transforming the $3.4 trillion U.S. healthcare industry at scale by collaborating with top leaders in technology and healthcare. To do this, Health2047 focuses on four key problems areas: data liquidity, chronic care, radical productivity, and healthcare value. By tackling core system wide problems in these areas Health2047 creates leverage at the enterprise level, formulating projects and companies with its partners to reshape the whole industry.

DJ: You work with the American Medical Association (AMA). How did this partnership come about?

Stockert: Dr. James Madara, the visionary leader of the AMA, foresaw a need to bridge the gap and transform healthcare. Health2047 is an organization that brings together leading stakeholders in healthcare and technology to work on the most fundamental problems facing our system. The AMA serves as a trusted broker and self-regulatory entity for the system-level changes that are required to impact lives in a tangible way.

DJ: What are the biggest challenges facing healthcare?

Stockert: We think of the challenges in terms of the problems that we can address together with our strategic partners. These problems fall within the portfolio pillars of data, chronic disease, radical productivity change and healthcare value.

Tackling system level problems together allows us to do things like: improving data liquidity, rights, interoperability and security; re-engineer care delivery to be more continuous and better match the challenge of chronic diseases; apply AI, machine learning and other relevant technologies to enhance the physician interface and interaction with patients (and vice versa); and enable new methods and approaches to capture the dollars that flow when the system strives for improve operational and clinical efficiency.

DJ: How can technology overcome some of these challenges?

Stockert: The promise of technology is captured best when contemplated within optimal care delivery flows. Not to say that work-flows should evolve, they absolutely need to, but technology is a supplement, an augmentation, and yes, even in certain roles, a replacement. We know technology can delight, when integrated thoughtfully into our lives. Similarly, care delivery by physicians should certainly feel delightful and be delightful for patients to receive.

Given unprecedented rates of burnout among the physician profession (and other care providing professions), the more we can understand, support and enhance the overall experience that our caregivers have, the better off we will all be. Technology, and the breakthrough business models that have accompanied its growth (for example Google and ads, Facebook and mobile, Uber/Lyft and gig economy), provide ample opportunity when one considers both their groundbreaking nature and the unique requirements of healthcare.

DJ: Is the medical profession committed to the changes necessary?

Stockert: The medical profession is a self-regulatory entity that has always prided itself on advancing and questioning all aspects of what it does. By continually pushing the boundaries of our own capability, we have advanced cardiac care, hip and orthopedic procedures, oncology therapy and more. A willingness to know we can do better and a humbleness to recognize we may be wrong is a redeeming quality of the profession. When presented with an opportunity to partner, scale, or drive solutions that produce better health and happier people, absolutely physicians and the profession are committed.

DJ: Have many pharmaceutical companies have come on-board?

Stockert: Our first partner beyond the AMA was a pharmaceutical/biotech company. The recognition that the business for this sector is changing, and that data, services, and software were going to make up significant parts of their business in the future drove the partnership with Celgene. Even recently providers have announced the movement into making generic medications, driving the dynamics and partnership interest to collaborate and partner within the Health2047/AMA ecosystem to shape a different future.

DJ: How will Health2047 address the issue of chronic disease management?

Stockert: We are facing a looming chronic care epidemic in the U.S. To name one example, one in three Americans are pre-diabetic and 20% of all U.S. healthcare dollars are spent on diabetes. Our healthcare system was designed for reactionary acute care, but we’ve become a chronic-care nation that requires proactive care. We must retool our system. Urgency is an imperative to reduce this enormous economic burden and respond to the transition from an admit to hospital world to an increasingly admit to home model.

DJ: How about value-based care?

Stockert: Value-based care can be a loaded topic. Rather than worry about regulation and a ‘will they or won’t they’ point of view on value-based care mechanisms to drive innovation, we find it more helpful to identify where more efficient and optimal care can be delivered that in turn produces higher value. If successful at understanding and delivering tools that improve workflow, how to measure outcomes and quality, and how to evaluate what is optimal both clinically and operationally, one delivers more profitable free-for-service care and higher performance on any value-based contracts.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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