On the eve of our 5th annual Digital Health Luncheon at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, we had the opportunity to sit down with Tony Scott, Former Federal Chief Information Officer and Advisor at Squire Patton Boggs. Tony shared his views on some the hottest topics and trends taking shape at the intersection of healthcare and technology.  He also touched upon some of the critical conversations that we’ll be discussing live on Monday, January 7, at our annual Digital Health Luncheon…

Top three technologies with promise in healthcare for 2019?

  1. 5G networks
  2. Network enabled personal health devices (IoT)
  3. Telemedicine as a service (remote diagnosis, consultation, etc.)

The biggest challenges you see for the healthcare industry in 2019?

One of the biggest challenges facing the healthcare industry in 2019 is the ongoing digitization of the healthcare ecosystem, and the disruption that will continue to occur as technology upends traditional methods and practices. Every aspect of the healthcare ecosystem is still very early in the digitization journey, and as we’ve seen in other industries, the evolution can be very hard – especially for traditional players. I expect to see new ecosystem players emerge who will challenge incumbents. The new players will share a common DNA of low cost, no legacy overhead, a strong digital and data foundation, and a passionate focus on a unique value proposition, and a propensity to leverage (outsource) everything else.

What role do you see emerging technologies playing in driving behavior change? And where do you see the most promise for technology?

Emerging technologies – particularly 5G mobile networks combined with even more powerful mobile devices – will help revolutionize the healthcare ecosystem across the board. Behavior change will come about because these technologies will help make the transfer of information and access and use of information more friction free. Once adopted, this will create an environment where no one will want to go back to the old way. We’ve seen many examples of this in other industries. For example, why go to the bank to deposit a check, when you can simply take a picture and send it to the bank. Better yet, eliminate the paper altogether and do a digital transfer of funds.

There is great deal of promise for technology in the fight against cancer and other chronic diseases, as well. I expect to see more and more effective treatments and better and more timely ways of doing diagnosis as the result of a better understanding of the data around the specific disease itself. And, more and more of this will be personalized to the individual.

What do you see as the most promising technologies to empower seniors?

I think 5G networks and powerful mobile devices (that are easy to use) along with an increase in the number of network connected devices, (IoT) hold great promise. As the population ages, these developments will enable healthcare ecosystem players to digitally scale to meet the needs of aging consumers and should also help to lower costs.

How do you see major tech and consumer brands changing healthcare in the near- and long-term?

It is clear to me that the major tech and consumer brands/platforms have a current challenge in the sense that they are generally struggling with significant security and privacy challenges. That said, I believe these challenges will be addressed, and I predict that consumers will, over time, come to rely on these tech and consumer platforms for an increasing amount of information regarding healthcare, and for the delivery of healthcare where that is possible. This could be very disruptive for established healthcare players.

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