Leaders Addressed the Latest Issues, Trends and Tech During W2O Group’s JPM19 Digital Health Luncheon

An impressive array of healthcare experts braved rain, flight delays, and travel headaches to participate in W2O Group’s 5th Annual Digital Health Luncheon, held in partnership with Squire Patton Boggs at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference (JPM19). The luncheon explored new approaches and vexing challenges across healthcare today – from data sharing hurdles to driving behavior change and supporting an aging population.

How critical is data liquidity in healthcare? According to Mona Siddiqui, Chief Data Officer, Immediate Office of the Secretary at HHS, it’s truly healthcare’s gold. “(Our) vision is to have a department that is more evidence-based. Where policy making, decision making and the ways we think about resource allocation are all grounded in data,” she explained.

The first panel after Siddiqui’s keynote, was focused on how healthcare can better enable our aging population. By 2035 the 65+ population will outnumber those who are 18 and under so how can we help America age well? “At the end of the day, the same tech that empowered the internet will be the same technology to empower seniors,” explained Aashima Gupta, Director, Global Healthcare Solutions at Google Cloud. So what trends are making headway in the aging space? According to Wen Dombrowski, MD Chief Convergence Officer at CATALAIZE, empathy, voice user interfaces and self-driving cars are top of mind.

Panelists agreed that it’s all about simplicity for both seniors and their caregivers when it comes to leveraging technology as an enabler. “We have a design problem, not an innovation problem. You don’t want to be cared for, you want to be enabled by technology,” concluded Chetan Parekh, Associate Brand Director & Innovation Portfolio Leader at P&G Ventures.

Another pressing issue that was discussed at the event was best practices for driving behavior change in healthcare. Despite the recent focus in this space, Ben Wanamaker, Head of Consumer Technology and Services at Aetna, believes more must be done. “The health delivery system is not well organized. There are very few standards, as if our brain is not part of our body,” he explained during the second panel. George Savage, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at Proteus Digital Health, believes we’re hitting a tipping point, not because people like change, but because as an industry, we have no choice.

Ben Hwang, CEO of Profusa, agreed, noting, “most of the value creation around behavior change in healthcare is in chronic (care). How do we bring health front and center to the individual?” Ashwini Zenooz, MD, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Global Healthcare & Life Sciences at Salesforce, believes that to truly make people change, we must focus on making them feel encouraged during every touchpoint of the healthcare experience.

The event concluded with a conversation with Marcus Osborne, Vice President, Health & Wellness Transformation at Walmart. The two discussed Walmart’s new legacy in the healthcare space with Marcus noting, “historically we have not viewed ourselves as a healthcare company. Historically we’ve viewed ourselves as (a company) taking care of people.” This framework of thinking has inspired Walmart’s recent moves in the healthcare space and continues to guide Marcus’ predictions around the future of health as the consumer is made priority number one.

Despite different companies, perspectives and experiences, all speakers seemed to agree that for real change to occur across the healthcare ecosystem, two key things are required:

  • Innovative and easy-to-use technology; and
  • A consumer-first mindset.

For more information on W2O Group’s 5th Annual Digital Health Luncheon, held in partnership Squire Patton Boggs, check out #W2ODH19 via Twitter. Curious what happened last year at the 4th Annual Digital Health Luncheon? Check out last year’s recap here.