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One of the steps required by the FDA of biotech, medical device and pharmaceutical companies before launching or “commercializing” a new drug/device is to test the drug/device with a certain number of patients. As you can imagine, finding and recruiting the right patients into these clinical trials can be difficult, especially when it comes to rare diseases or uncommon disorders. In the past, companies leveraged radio ads, billboards, ads at bus stops among other techniques but as the world becomes more digital, these tactics have become more expensive and less effective.

 

Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down with our partner and the founder/CEO of Seeker Health, Sandra Shpilberg, to discuss how companies like hers are leveraging digital marketing to recruit patients more effectively. During our half hour conversation, Sandra and I talk about:

  • The evolution of clinical trial recruitment (CTR)
  • How the web and social media have impacted CTR
  • The impetus for Sandra starting Seeker Health
  • The importance of being “clean and compliant” when recruiting
  • Who and what are inspiring her today

Thank you Sandra for taking the time to chat! I feel a little bit smarter and hopefully our listeners do too!

Note: during the interview, Sandra cites the book, Founders at Work, as one she is in the process of reading. Both of us referred to the author as “Jennifer Livingston.” The author’s correct name is “Jessica Livingston.” We both realized this after the interview but I chose to keep the section in because I liked her thought process about how the book was a quick and efficient way to learn about forty different startup founders.

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This is the fifth edition of The Social Oncology Project, our annual examination of the role that social media plays in the discussion of cancer. Past efforts have focused largely on the question of “what”: what topics capture the attention of the public? What kinds of cancers generate the most traffic from oncologists? What kind of connections characterize the online ecosystem in oncology?

This year, however, we sought to answer an even more basic question: “who?” There has never been an in-depth effort to understand and describe the doctors who are discussing oncology online, a sense of what sets that minority of physicians apart from their offline peers (and what connects them). This was in part about describing the demographics, elements such as age, location, and sex. But it was also about trying to divine offline behaviors, too. Are wired docs publishing more? Developing deeper relationships with industry?

This isn’t an academic exercise; understanding who is speaking about oncology topics is crucial to our ability to arrive at conclusions about what social chatter means and what it doesn’t, and who exactly this cohort speaks for.

After sifting through a mountain of data – much of which is presented in the full report – we’ve come to five initial conclusions about what it means to be an online oncologist:

  1. Tweet or perish. Being an oncologist with a public Twitter profile is correlated with more publications in two ASCO journals. Clearly, it’s important not to confuse causation with correlation, but there is clearly a nexus between old measures of “opinion leadership” and new concepts about digital influence.
  2. Age is just a number. Yes, online doctors trend younger, but the dividing line is blurry, with 76 percent of the online group on the wrong side of 40. That’s a sign that while much of what is posted online can be seen as a reflection of early-career doctors, the technology has penetrated far more deeply than just those physicians who grew up in a social-media world.
  3. Online Oncologists Take More Sunshine Payments. Though the differences aren’t huge, online oncologists appear to receive more money from industry, a phenomenon driven in part by a well-represented minority. There has been increasing attention to what these kinds of connections mean, and how to manage them, and our work confirms that this remains a fruitful area of analysis.
  4. Twitter Use is Correlated with Bad Winters. Or, at least, with being a resident of Minnesota and Wisconsin, which have the highest rate of oncologists online. Understanding the environmental factors that make social media engagement will be important in understanding how to make social media more useful for a larger group.
  5. There’s a Lot We Still Don’t Know. The next questions we hope to answer: what can online relationships teach us about referral and prescription patterns? Teasing out these more subtle relationships will help us better calibrate the way that a social profile may predict or explain critical offline behaviors.

The key element of social oncology, and, indeed, the driving force of The Social Oncology Project, is driving dialogue. We have done our best to present the data we’ve gathered in a straightforward way, without generating hypotheses on the important “why” questions.

But the “why” discussion is critically important, and one that is best undertaken with as broad a group as possible. So we hope you’ll take a look at the report, hop online, and join us in parsing what it means to be a social oncologist and where the conversation goes next.







Follow Brian Reid on twitter @brianreid; Follow MDigitalLife on twitter @MDigitalLifeLike MDigitalLife on Facebook 

To learn more about how the MDigitalLife Online Health Ecosystem database can reshape the way you interact with doctors, patients, the media & all the important stakeholders of your healthcare company, learn more about us here.

On April 20, hundreds of thousands of scientists and science-enthusiasts turned out around the country to march in celebration of science and to demonstrate support for science-based policies in our government. I proudly was one of those who marched.

I left the lab over six years ago to become a communicator of science rather than a doer of science but I still consider myself a scientist at heart. Which is why marching while being surrounded by people who feel the same love of science was a joy but also raised the question that so many are asking – why are we marching?

Science surrounds each day.  Why do we not appreciate the nature around us or the scientific advances we use daily?  From the wi-fi that lets us listen to Spotify, to the blood pressure medication you took this morning, or the car you drove to work in (electric, hybrid or combustible engine – all scientific breakthroughs) – we forget their impact We put a man on the moon. We walk around with super computers in our pockets that we use to tell time and answer trivia questions.

What makes science suspect to so many?  It’s technical and complex, and can take years to master. Perhaps it is inaccessible and mysterious for those who haven’t been exposed to it.

I walked through downtown Austin – the capital of live music — on the way to the March for Science and passed by several of our signature guitar statues.  These statues made me think, why is music, which is also technical, complex and can take years to master, such an integral and appreciated part of society while science is too often disdained? There are few, if any, who can play the cello like Yo-Yo Ma, yet millions attend his concerts and buy his records. Discuss the theories Einstein? No, thank you.

We put famous musicians on a pedestal but we lock scientists in an ivory tower. We’ve spent so long talking about how hard science is that we’ve convinced a huge portion of the population to avoid it as an impossible task.

It’s our job as science communicators to break down those ivory walls and help bring science into the everyday. I can’t play Beethoven, I can’t paint the Mona Lisa and if I tried to pirouette, I’d tip right over. But I can appreciate music, painting and dance. Likewise, I don’t expect most people to be able calculate the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation, but there is value in them appreciating the hard scientific work that went into letting them stream Netflix on their phone.

In the end, I didn’t march for policy change. I marched for the little boy playing with waves in the pool, or the teenage girl flying a drone in the park who is learning about aerodynamics without even realizing it. Science should be part of our everyday. It should be as accessible as flipping on the radio to hear a Beyoncé song or knowing that washing our hands can keep us from getting sick. I didn’t march to make science special. I marched to make it normal.

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You’d be hard pressed to find a marketing and communications network with broader expertise in healthcare than W2O Group. And as a content strategist at W2O, I fully appreciate the regulatory challenges of healthcare marketing.

It’s tough, and we get it. You often can’t mention the drug by name. Or the indication. So we have to figure out how to communicate the brand promise through topics that ARE allowed.

Often, when we’re putting together an editorial calendar or social strategy for clients, we recommend peppering in stories related to healthcare holidays / observances, but Twitter stopped creating their Healthcare Holidays Calendar a couple years ago.

We figured there’s no one more qualified than W2O to release a comprehensive 2017 healthcare holiday calendar. If you’re a W2O client, ask your account team for a personalized calendar, and we’ll happily edit this document down to fit your needs.

For all not-yet-clients*, enter a tiny bit of info to grab yours right now.

Please leave this field empty.

* P.S. – why aren’t we working together? Contact us to talk about your marcomms needs.

 
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On April 22, scientists of all stripes will march in Washington, DC and at least 395 other cities in the United States and beyond to support “robustly funded and publicly communicated science.” Many of our W2O Group colleagues plan to take part, raising visibility and bringing attention to an extensive list of pro-science causes.

Those participating are looking to generate meaningful change. Ultimately, what makes a movement a movement is not gathering a single crowd in a single location at a single time, but rather a long-term commitment and extended attention to an issue. Passion may be a necessary element of social change, but scientists can go further to ensure that the magic of April 22—Earth Day—doesn’t fade once the port-a-potties are removed from the National Mall.  In light of the recent proposed federal fiscal budget that outlines massive cuts to science-focused agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), even more people may want to want to join the March and show their support.

As a communications firm, we at W2O Group wanted to share some recommendations for those participating to amp up their commitment through communications. Here are five ways to start:

  1. Jot down a quick “elevator speech” to explain why you’re marching. Everyone who takes part has a different reason for marching, and it is critical that you can define yours in a soundbite. It’s not that soundbites are important unto themselves. Rather, that boiling down your rationale into a specific, action-oriented 10-second summary will help you—and those around you—grasp the issues, the stakes, and—most importantly—what comes next.
  2. Alert your media. While the March for Science, like other such mass gatherings, will draw the national press, you undoubtedly have smaller media outlet that are important to you and may be able to tell your story with more fidelity. In some cases, this will be your local media (especially outside of Washington). For others, it will be trade publications that cover your industry or hobbies. Would USA Hockey Magazine be interested in a March story? It sure would, if you’re passionate about the science of concussions and can communicate that to them.
  3. Don’t just get social. Stay social. Much of the march organization is being done over social media: Twitter handles, Facebook pages and other tools. It’s critical that those resources be used not only to get people into the streets, but to organize them after the fact. If the Facebook group for a local march goes dormant on April 23, any nascent movements will die in their cradle. This is an opportunity not only to march, but to find and grow new relationships for the future. So talk to the march organizers, and ask them who will maintain the channels. If they don’t know: volunteer.
  4. Think local. While federal policy around science is incredibly important, the rubber meets the road in local communities. Define for your neighbors and your elected officials—especially those at the city level—how more science and more scientific literacy will your locality to a better future. That’s likely to have the biggest and most immediate impact – especially with your local media and within your social networks.
  5. Plan for the long term. It doesn’t matter if there are a million marchers on April 22. It doesn’t matter if there are 10 million marchers. The way we view and value science isn’t going to change in a day. So we need to do the things that will change public perception of science for generations. The best place to start: your local public school. Regardless of whether you’re a professional scientist, volunteer your scientific know-how for an hour a week. Make sure that the generation to come is the most scientifically literate, the most evidence-based, the most skeptical and rigorous group of citizen’s we’ve produced.

None of these steps are easy. Some require deeper thought. Some require a time commitment that will far outstrip anything you may invest on the day of the March for Science itself. Showing commitment, creating the perfect sign and marching on April 22 will be important to raising awareness of the issues facing science today.  But, ultimately, whether the March meets its long-term goals will have less to do with how witty our signs are than how dedicated we are to continuing our commitment to the goals of the march day after day, month after month, year after year.

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A cure for cancer has been the most fervent prayer for far too many patients and their families since cancer was identified as a deadly foe many centuries ago. It remains a holy grail of modern medicine, and researchers and physicians around the world are working day and night to conquer it.

But are we thinking about curing cancer in the right way? Cancer isn’t one disease, and in fact, no two cancers are alike. The biological diversity within single tumors themselves is staggering. In fact, it’s very unlikely that there will ever be one cure for cancer. But there will be cures.

Scientists, in fact, have made tremendous advances against many types of cancer, like prostate cancer, the most common cancer diagnosis in men worldwide after skin cancer. It affects three million men in the U.S. and 14 million worldwide. Diagnosis and treatment have advanced to the point where many men are able to live long and otherwise healthy lives when the cancer is diagnosed early. Despite these significant advances in diagnosing and treating prostate cancer, it takes far too many lives: a man dies of the disease in the U.S. every 20 minutes. About 1 man in 39 will eventually die of prostate cancer.

But researchers are closing in on developing a variety of curative approaches – fueled by a powerful driving force in the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF). Founded 23 years ago, PCF funds innovative research and researchers with the potential to make a difference in patients’ lives. Over the past two decades, tremendous advances have been made, driven by PCF’s ability to deliver resources to top scientists and cut through red tape. A multi-pronged approach to curing almost all types of prostate cancer is now within sight of the very scientists PCF is funding.

PCF has already helped advance six medicines that are now available and extending the lives of men living with advanced disease. Research largely funded by PCF has identified 19 prostate cancer genes and make strides each day in developing precision treatments to target these genes. PCF’s goal is to have a range of therapies available that, if used in combination, would dramatically reduce the number of prostate cancer deaths within five years and, quite possibly, in other cancers as well. To get there, PCF has launched Many vs Cancer, a national crowdfunding initiative, aimed at using strength in numbers to power the urgent research needed to fund life-extending, life-saving, curative therapies for prostate cancer.

And we at W2O Group want to be a part of this remarkable effort. Our experience and passion for communicating the best in science and medicine has put us in a position where we believe we can effectively amplify PCF’s mission.

We are proud to have been chosen recently by PCF as their communications agency of record, and are thrilled to support our new colleagues at PCF. But we wanted to do even more, because we see that the goal is within sight: we see the future advances that will help patients live longer and longer.

To that end, we are making a donation of pro-bono staff time to extend the reach of the important work we will be doing together with PCF. We’re excited to be a part of PCF’s efforts to go that last mile for the all too many men and their families being devastated by prostate cancer, and encourage others to join the Many Versus Cancer movement or donate to support these breakthrough efforts.  Together, we are hopeful for the elusive cures nearly within reach.

It’s 8:00 pm on a Wednesday night at a Silicon Valley law firm. 70 accomplished medtech executives sit in a conference room, doing meditative deep breathing, with their eyes closed. Wait, what?

Strange scene? Yes. Did this actually happen? Yes – at MedtechWomen Bay Area’s March event “The Impact of Chronic Stress on Women’s Health,” part of the organization’s women’s health series. During the evening, we listened to four impressive panelists, led by moderator Donna Petkanics from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, as they talked about how chronic stress affects women’s long term health and how we can more effectively handle the stress that comes our way.

As someone who’s always lived a very full life (rigorous MBA program while working full time? Bring it on!) I’ve always written off stress as a necessary evil of trying to pack as much action as possible into my days. Since I became a parent in 2015, however, I’ve been more acutely aware of the impact living at such a breakneck pace can have on both me and my family. So I was excited to attend this event – and left with three main takeaways:

  1. Stress is necessary – From my perspective, Panelist Rachel Abrams, MD, MHS, ABIHM, from Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine hit the nail on the head when she said “How can we be inside our busy lives in a way that’s joyful?” In fact, stress is a necessary part of living life. Stress that’s “good” can keep us focused and energetic, and may be the push we need to go that extra mile personally and professionally. “Bad” stress, however, can lead to breakdowns and burnout. The blog Precision Nutrition has a link to a great chart on this topic.We need to find the right amount of stress – one that will inspire us, not leave us feeling overwhelmed. For more information on finding your own personal stress “sweet spot,” see the full infographic from Precision Medicine.
  2. Stress can have serious health consequences – Panelist Deborah Rozman, Ph.D., President and CEO of Heartmath, Inc. cited a startling statistic from JAMA Internal Medicine: 60-80% of primary care doctor visits are related to stress, yet only 3% of patients receive stress management help.[i] So stress is a common cause of emotional and physical symptoms – from the obvious like anxiety, headaches and muscle tension to the less apparent, like digestive disorders and heart disease.[ii] And there’s evidence that women are affected more seriously by stress than men (I’ve got an infographic on that one too – enjoy.)[iii] Thus, learning how to manage stress – not ignoring it or pushing it down to deal with later – is really important to a healthy lifestyle.
  3. We can change how we think about stress – A big topic of conversation throughout the night was around changing our stress response mindset. Perhaps our natural inclination is to panic, and all the associated physiological symptoms get triggered. Or, can pause, regroup (because really, is the world ending?), take some deep breaths and try to calm ourselves down. Both Dr. Rozman and panelist Manuela M. Kogan, MD and Clinical Associate Professor at the Stanford Center for Integrative Medicine led the group through some simple breathing exercises that frankly could be done at your desk, on the train, or in a meeting without your boss taking notice.
  4.  During the Q&A session, at the end of the workshop, someone asked the panelists what they would do if they only had a few minutes a day to try to manage stress better. Dr. Abrams commented that every morning, before she gets out of bed, she takes a couple deep breaths, says a few gratitudes and then sets one intention for every day. It helps her feel more prepared for what life throws her. I love this idea, and feels “right sized” for my chaotic life. I’m adding this to my daily routine.

For more information on MedTechWomen, visit http://medtechwomen.org/.

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[1] http://www.precisionnutrition.com/good-stress-bad-stress-infographic

[1] JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(1):76-77.

[1] http://www.heartmath.com/articles/how-stress-affects-the-body/

[1] http://graphicspedia.net/how-does-stress-affect-a-womans-body/

The last thing a patient expects after being prescribed a legitimate 10-day supply of prescription opioids is to become addicted to them. But as data in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) shows, that 10-day supply quickly turns one in five people into long-term users. The line between legitimate need and abuse is thin and sliding, and is one of the main reasons that the opioid epidemic is one of the greatest public health threats that the U.S. has faced in the last decade.

There are a myriad of initiatives and legislative measures in place to drive awareness and combat prescription painkiller abuse. One of these is through the electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS), which helps to thwart prescription opioid fraud and abuse. There are also the recently released CDC guidelines promoting responsible opioid prescribing practices. But perhaps one of the more underrated and yet incredibly powerful levers that the healthcare industry can pull is by using effective communications.

As we pass the one year anniversary of New York State’s e-prescribing legislation going into effect – which mandates that all prescriptions in NY be prescribed electronically — we asked some of today’s leading digital health communicators to weigh in on the tools they are using to make an impact and help promote strategies to curb opioid abuse.

Kelly Jeffers, vice president of corporate communications at Surescripts, and John Hallock, former vice president of corporate communications at Imprivata, share their perspectives below.

 

1. What role does communications play in fighting the opioid epidemic? What are some key communications levers that can be pulled?
Jeffers:
  There isn’t a silver bullet solution to this epidemic – we need to change policy, we need to change technology and we need to change behavior. Collaboration between multiple stakeholders is key to curbing opioid abuse, and lots of solutions need to be brought to bear to make that happen. Communications is critical to making sense of all of this.

We need to clearly articulate the role that various stakeholders play in addressing the epidemic and prove the value of the solutions available. Given that Surescripts is a network that connects all sides of healthcare, it’s rare that we face an issue that affects everyone and that we hear about from all sides of the network. But reducing opioid abuse is an issue that prescribers, pharmacists, EHR providers and other technology vendors are all concerned about. This highlights two things: how big the issue is to the health of our nation and the fact that that it’s one that can’t be fixed by just one group.

Hallock: Whether it’s by engaging policy makers, media or other key influencers in the industry, there’s no shortage of interest in finding ways to combat this growing problem. Working in concert with companies like Surescripts has been an important part of educating the industry at large to issues around EPCS. Surescripts has built out its e-prescribing network for over a decade and we partnered with them using national, regional and local campaigns to educate the market about the role technology can play to combat this epidemic.

After New York’s I-STOP mandate went into effect in March of 2016, the vendor community needed to step up and help prescribers meet their needs from a technology standpoint – specifically, enable them to securely prescribe controlled substances electronically, which was not an easy task. Keep in mind, many clinicians didn’t even know that EPCS was legal. Along with external communication in the media we also worked with Imprivata’s customers that needed help communicating with their clinicians on how the technology worked and how it streamlined their workflows. We did this through a series of broad-based campaigns targeted at both policy makers and other healthcare leaders, spreading awareness that secure e-prescribing technology existed and could easily be deployed.

Treatment guidelines certainly have their value, but we wanted key stakeholders to know that there was a way to address the issue way upstream, before a prescription goes to the pharmacy. Earned media coverage also granted us the ability to better educate policy makers at the federal and state level as they were formulating various opiate legislation.

How can communications be used to better reach and empower healthcare providers to combat opioid abuse?

Jeffers:  The challenge for prescribers is that they often get blamed for opioid abuse, but they are also the ones at the point of care having to manage it. They realize and recognize the breadth of the issues, but educating them is one thing; getting them comfortable with a change in behavior is another.

Doctors represent a very large population, and the recent media attention on the epidemic may have put them on the defensive. Communications gives them a voice and empowers them to be part of the solution. Once doctors are comfortable with EPCS, we’ve seen that their adoption goes up quickly. Giving them the platform to tell their story is very powerful.

Hallock: I think providers have a certain level of frustration right now. It’s not that they don’t understand the power of these drugs – they are well educated – but they need the right technologies at the point-of-care to better monitor prescribing patterns.

When it comes EPCS, providers and CIOs want to know, how does it work? What are the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) requirements? How can I deploy this technology in conjunction with my existing EHR? Communications, whether via PR campaigns, social media or other forms of marketing, allowed us to educate providers as well as state and federal policy makers to the benefits of this technology. And as we’ve seen through the uptick in EPCS legislation at the state level, once the value of EPCS is realized, providers are proponents of the technology and can make better, more informed decisions, all while reducing fraud, abuse and addressing issues like doctor shopping.

1. What makes social media an increasingly powerful communications tool in fighting opioid abuse?

Jeffers: Social media is accessible, it’s quick and it’s far reaching. It’s a great way to share compelling stories about the impact of the epidemic and raise awareness among a broader audience. For a long time at Surescripts, we thought that doctors weren’t active on Facebook. But we soon realized that simply was not true and have had great success engaging and targeting physicians on the channel. They are talking to each other, talking to influencers, posting videos, writing blogs, sharing news, etc.

Our priority is getting them the right content at the right time. Providers are not our direct customers — they often don’t even know that they are using our technology. So using social to engage with them has given us the opportunity to reach that audience with content that shows how easy it is to enable the technology.

For example, GetEPCS.com, an educational portal that walks providers through the steps to becoming EPCS enabled, has had great engagement across social. It has been shared through multiple channels on social media, our blog, news media, and industry websites such as CVS Health, Ohio Health Information Partnership, New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, and State Boards of Pharmacy.

Hallock: As I have stated, clinicians are extremely intelligent individuals. They are looking to stay ahead when it comes to new technologies, procedures, or various therapeutics that improve outcomes. It’s not an issue of them not wanting to know about new technologies and processes, but it’s a question about leveraging all the channels where they consume information. We found that social media became an extremely effective vehicle for educating the industry to what EPCS was and how it can help in addressing this problem.

Physicians tend to follow what other physicians are doing from a technical standpoint in care delivery — as long as it works. Whether it’s a clinical or management system, if it’s good, they’ll talk to others and adoption starts to spur. We saw this with the adoption of clinical systems like EHRs, and EPCS is no different. Communication and PR is critical to educating and informing them about the benefits of adopting new technologies and protocols.

But using social media or traditional PR or not, no one organization can do it alone, which is why we worked to collaborate with vendor partners like Surescripts and various EHR vendors in terms of integrations and communication efforts. Industry collaboration is so important in addressing this issue — getting providers and hospital staff to better understand their options and showing them that they can make a difference at the point of care, all while meeting DEA regulations and having transparency into any potential fraud. Communications has certainly helped providers be more informed while creating a more efficient system. The technology is mature and ready to address the problem. It’s up to communicators to make sure that message is received and then reinforced.

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“We won’t have a world without cancer, but a world where we have rapid detection and eradication,” according to Jeff Hammerbacher, Hammer Labs.

After attending a number of health sessions at South by Southwest in the past week, two key themes emerged around the devastating topic of cancer.

Behavioral changes are the future

“Up to 50 percent of cancers can be prevented; we now have knowledge in terms of prevention and mitigating risks,” said Dr. Ron Depinho, MD Anderson Cancer Center. “We need to stress behavioral changes – smoking cessation, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising.”

Speakers on several different panels noted that while we currently focus on when people get cancer we need to focus on prevention. These experts reiterated that we’ll always have cancer, however we have to find it early and know what works to get rid of it.

The idea of prevention was obvious in a baseball analogy from Johnson & Johnson’s Alex Gorsky, “We’re getting to diseases at the ninth inning, but we need to get there in the first or second inning. How can we come up with better vaccines to help prevent these cancers from happening in the first place?”

Using data to generate insights

The second theme was that while there is plenty of data in healthcare, problems persist in sharing it appropriately and using it to generate insights. As Greg Simon from The Biden Foundation stated, referencing the Tower of Babel, “There is data everywhere but there are massive translational problems. Medical information lives and dies where it is created. If we change that we’ll change cancer.”

What is needed is a way to interconnect all the silos of data in medicine. While there was consensus that we need to come together to create a central infrastructure, there was not agreement on how to make it happen, since intraoperability is not beneficial to the individual EMR companies.

“We need an interstate highway of health,” explained Dr. Clay Johnston, Dell Medical School. “The information needs to flow with the patient.” Dr. Johnson also stressed the importance of understanding the workflow of clinicians so that technology can be inserted appropriately. Even former Vice President, Joseph Biden, mentioned this issue in his keynote speech, “The inability to share medical records – it’s a technical problem not a cancer problem.”

Another popular discussion point was utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence to organize this data and identify learnings.

Other interesting takeaways

Adding to the challenge is the fact that healthcare is hyper local and markets are unique.  What works in one hospital may not work in another, so solutions are difficult to scale.

This quote from Dr. Depinho was the most popular of all my tweets: “By 2020 almost all cancer patients will be on immunotherapy.”

Overall, it was great to see health take a much larger role at SXSW.  Here’s to next year!

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