December 14-15, 2017

MedTech Impact 2017

Venetian/Palazzo Resort

Las Vegas, NV

(561) 893-8633

info@medtechimpact.com

Month: November 2017

Speaker Spotlight: Dennis Robbins, M.P.H, Ph.D. | 2017 Conference Chair

Dennis Robbins (M.P.H. Harvard, Ph.D., Boston College) is a prominent innovator, thought leader, and health activist. His distinguished career spans multiple sectors of health, wellness, health care, industry, medical and surgical devices and technology, disruptive innovation, ethics and policy.  His initial work on patient-centric engagement and now person-centricity ™ has stimulated a major paradigmatic shift in how we think about health, healthcare, and next generation engagement across diverse ecosystems.

Dr. Robbins was a National Fund for Medical Education Fellow, Visiting Scholar and Research Fellow at Harvard. He has advised Presidential and White house commissions, the military health system, start-ups, two US Supreme Court Cases and chaired the PCMH 2.O national think tank where he created the concept of person-centricity™, to help people become and stay healthier while adding years to their lives and life to their years. He blends elements of health information technologies, ethics, behavioral economics, exercise physiology, sleep, mindfulness, and healthy eating to bend the sickness curve. He serves on the boards or advisory boards of several companies and national organizations including the Global Innovation and Leadership Council of Frost and Sullivan and the American Heart Assn’s Technology and Innovation Advisory Board.

Dr. Robbins was a major force in the early Hospice Movement and worked closely across both aisles and CMS in helping to promote the Hospice Medicare benefit. His legacy of nine books and more than 400 articles is complimented by a plethora keynote presentations and panels. He has been recognized in the national media in such publications as Forbes, Medical Economics, Modern Healthcare, Hospital Ethics, and Managed Healthcare Executive who depicted him as among the top ten keenest thinkers in Managed Care.

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Dr. Robbins serves as the Conference Chair for the MedTech Impact Expo & Conference, December 14-15, 2017 in Las Vegas, NV.  He will lead a number of sessions on the agenda: Leveraging Technology and Person-Centricity to Help People Add Years to Their Lives and Life to Their YearsImpacting Clinical Outcomes with Innovation and Technology (Panel); and Medtech Challenges and Opportunities. Review the full agenda.

 

 

 

Linking Life Expectancy & Innovation

Recent data and statistics demonstrate that overall American life expectancy has dropped for the first time in a decade, spurring an urgent and pressing need for the advent and proliferation of medical technology—coupled with scientific progress and laws to encourage innovation.

While the research points to specific factors that have lowered rates of mortality, including increased obesity, long-term unemployment, and a resurgence of chronic diseases, the studies incontrovertibly suggest the critical need to provide enhanced ‘life-saving and life-prolonging’ therapies and treatments.

There is no specific way to address the divergence of issues regarding lowered life expectancy, but there are particular measures that must be undertaken. These include enacting evidence-based policies that spur innovation, and further eliminating any roadblocks to America’s inventors.

By spearheading research that targets the most grave and life-threatening challenges in our medical and healthcare system, new resources will grow and develop, ultimately allowing for patients to access breakthrough therapies. The need for medical-technology innovation is steadily increasing, while removing obstacles to improving patient outcomes and creating high-tech manufacturing jobs remains a challenge.

We must collectively and cooperatively tackle the persistent healthcare problems that our country faces, while boosting innovation in the technological sector in order to further address medical challenges.

The World’s First Digital Medicine

U.S. regulators recently approved what is being termed the ‘world’s first digital medicine’: a pill with an inbuilt sensor that can be tracked inside the stomach, and communicates data surrounding whether—and when—patients have taken critical medication. The Food and Drug Administration are permitting the device to be used in an antipsychotic medication, with the overall goal of increased medication adherence, and the hope that the data can be used to help both doctors and patients better manage treatment.

The issue of medication non-compliance has been an ongoing challenge for pharmaceutical companies, healthcare systems, providers, and patients alike. This technology, which was developed over the past decade by Silicon Valley-based Proteus Digital Health, will be incorporated into the antipsychotic medication Abilify—which has been taken by approximately 7 million people in the United States since its inception 15 years ago.

Chief executive of Proteus Andrew Thompson asserts that the technology would allow people “to engage with their care team about their treatment plan in a new way,” supplemented by the ability to use a mobile phone to track and manage medication regimens. When patients swallow the tablet, which contains the sensor, a signal is sent to a patch worn on the body, which subsequently connects to an app on the patient’s phone: showing that he/she has taken the necessary dose. The prescribing physician will automatically receive the data; patients can also choose for family members and other providers to get the notifications. Moreover, the wearable patch has the capacity to track levels of physical activity—considered a key indicator of overall health and wellness—and allow patients to self-report mood and sleep quality.

This landmark regulatory clearance highlights the burgeoning high-tech evolution in the ways drugs are delivered, which can ultimately assist in curbing the estimated $300 billion in wasted medical spending caused by patient non-adherence. One of the bedrock pillars of the digital health revolution is making it easier for patients to comply with drug regimens, while simultaneously tracking their habits. Yet digital tracking is one of several outlined approaches to increase patient compliance; companies like Intarcia and Braeburn Pharmaceuticlas are pursuing other tactics, including the creation of implantable devices that contain up to one year’s worth of treatments for people with chronic medical needs.

Speaker Spotlight: Amanda Goltz

Amanda L. Goltz, MPA is the Vice President of Digital Innovation at BTG, a global medtech firm, managing the portfolio of digital initiatives combining clinical interventions, device technology, and digital services to incorporate the patient experience and improve measurable outcomes.  Previously, Amanda was the Director of Product Strategy and Innovation at Aetna, sourcing emerging solutions from the digital health and innovative networks marketplace, pairing them with employer clients, and directing implementation of the solutions at scale.

Amanda has also managed the Innovation and Consumer Engagement portfolio at Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH), a coalition of 60 employers who collectively provide self-funded health coverage to over 10M employees and dependents at an annual cost of $12B.  Prior to PBGH, Amanda was senior advisor to the national healthcare practice at Manatt Health Solutions.  From 2005 to 2009, Amanda served as Program Director at Partners Healthcare, the integrated delivery network founded by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, managing a system-wide quality improvement initiatives.  Amanda advises several start-up companies as a mentor at 500Startups, Rock Health, and StartXMed, health and life sciences incubator for Stanford University.   Amanda received her MPA in Health Finance and Management from New York University and her BA from Columbia College of Columbia University.

More health content from Amanda Goltz:

BTG buys Oncoverse–Amanda Goltz explains all | thehealthcareblog.com
Amanda Goltz is a massive ball of energy in the world of digital health. For the past 2 years she’s been working for English pharma company BTG…

Thinking Digital: We Can Do Better Than Just Apps | MedCity News
With the advent of digital technology, pharma and med device companies need to start rethinking …

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Amanda will host a session, ‘How Much Should We Pay for Healthcare? Technology’s Answer to Measuring Value’, on Friday, December 15 (10:05 a.m.) at the upcoming MedTech Impact Expo & Conference.

 

 

 

Fitbit Addresses Diabetes Management

A recent article in Harvard Business Review details the ways in which digital health care can help prevent chronic diseases like diabetes. One of the most expensive and rampant chronic diseases, treatment for diabetes exacts a staggering cost of $245 billion each year, with an estimated 30.3 million people affected.

A number of digital health interventions can be used to address chronic conditions like diabetes, with the ultimate goals of reducing costs, improving patients’ involvement in their own care, and mitigating the overwhelming burden of chronic diseases in the U.S. Most recently, Fitbit has demonstrated its interest in addressing diabetes management, forming partnerships with medical device giant Medtronic and DexCom.

Fitbit CEO and Chairman James Park states that these collaborations have involved the integration of data streams from connected glucose monitors into Fitbit’s data streams, and then displaying that data on Fitbit’s app. “For a lot of people managing their diabetes, access to that data has traditionally been very difficult so just being able to have that data be able to merge into other data streams and be available in real time is an advancement for people with diabetes.”

Bryan Boda, Head of Business Development at Fitbit Health Solutions, is a featured speaker at the upcoming MedTech Impact conference. Our lineup of speakers will collectively explore the latest technologies, products, and services that can track patient progress, assist with diagnoses, prevent and manage disease, and improve overall patient care.

The Financial Potential of Digital Health

New research indicates that digital health has the potential to save up to $46 billion in annual healthcare spending, according to a new report from IQVIA (Quintiles/IMS Health). Murray Aitken, Executive Director of the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, describes a new landscape of healthcare, in which a model that looks across five different patient population groups has seen a proven reduction in acute care utilization–typically hospitalization–when consumer mobile apps are used.

“Diabetes prevention, diabetes care, asthma, cardiac rehabilitation, and pulmonary rehabilitation: in each of those five areas we took the results from published research and modeled that to estimate that if these available apps today were used by all patients who could benefit from them, the US healthcare system could save $7 billion per year. So that’s just for five areas. If that level of savings was achievable across all disease areas, we’re looking at annual savings of something like $46 billion.”

While there is an incontrovertible increase in terms of innovation, and increased evidence surrounding the impact that digital health can have on outcomes in addition to cost, there is also an uptick in adoption of mobile health apps. Aitken and his team report that there are now more than 318,500 health-related consumer apps available for download: nearly twice the amount from two years ago. Around 200 new apps are added to the marketplace each day.

The majority of health apps are comprised of general wellness apps, yet recent advancements in chronic condition management apps have made them increasingly popular and relevant. In addition to the apps themselves, there is a growing amount of efficacy data available surrounding the apps, based on searches on ClinicalTrials.gov. As of February, there were 869 active trials utilizing digital health technology worldwide; 540 were in the United States.

Moreover, several of the barriers to adoption that were previously restrictive are changing; as there are more publications regarding privacy and security guidelines, app formularies are being officially established, and there is a continued shift to value-based care. “We still have a long way to go,” says Aitken. “We don’t want to overstate the extent to which mobile health apps have become mainstream, but relative to four years ago, there is a lot of progress that has been made.”

Speaker Spotlight: Nikhil Krishnan

Nikhil Krishnan is a research analyst at CB Insights. His research focuses on biotechnology/drug development, digital health, autonomous vehicles, and consumer products. He is a graduate from Columbia University, and has worked at several other startups in the past, including Relationship Science, Global Thermostat, and Uber. His research has been featured several times in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Times, and Reuters.

Nikhil Krishnan, CB Insights

Nikhil publishes a weekly digital health newsletter, with content focussed on examining how startups and corporations are approaching the intersection of healthcare and technology.

Sign up for access to these briefings:

Apple in Healthcare

Genomics, CRISPR, and the Future of Personalized Medicine

The Digital Hospital: 80+ companies Reinventing Medicine in One Infographic

The Disruption of Digital Health

Nikhil will host a session, Healthcare 2.0: Macrotrends Shaping Healthcare Delivery, on Thursday, December 14 (9:05 a.m.) at the upcoming MedTech Impact Expo & Conference.  For more information and to review the full agenda, click here.

Cloud DX’s Vitaliti Wins Bold Epic Innovator Award

Medical technology firm Cloud DX recently won the “Bold Epic Innovator Award” through the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize® contest, with its pioneering innovation the

Cloud DX’s Vitaliti, winner of the the “Bold Epic Innovator Award” through the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize® Contest
Larry Steinberg, EVP of Business Development with Cloud DX demonstrates the Vitaliti

Vitaliti. An advanced wearable device designed to act as a continuous vital sign monitor, the neckband and earpiece—connected to an advanced mobile app through four interdependent wireless devices—can diagnose up to 16 medical conditions. With the mantra “sophisticated solutions for advanced healthcare providers,” Cloud DX’s overarching mission is to streamline and simplify digital tools that help measure and gauge health and wellness. Through its four fundamental pillars of innovation, collaboration, integration, and transformation, Cloud DX represents the forefront of healthcare: an industry rapidly growing and expanding through invention.

Applying Artificial Intelligence to Suicide Prevention

This week, a group of researchers published a new study that demonstrates how a novel brain imaging technique can identify people who have suicidal thoughts, simply by presenting them with certain key words, asking them to reflect on their meanings, and using machine learning to analyze that brain activity.

The results of the study, published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, challenge the common stereotype that suicidal people could change their perspective if they exerted more effort; the data suggests that suicidal feelings and thoughts are deeply intertwined with the way the brain processes information.

“Suicidality isn’t that you can’t cope with life; it’s that you’ve somehow gotten into a pattern of thinking that leads you to consider suicide,” states Marcel Just, a cognitive neuroscientist and the study’s lead author, and a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University.

Just and his co-authors studied 34 young adults, half of whom had a history of suicidal thinking or past attempts, and half of whom did not. The participants were placed in a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine (fMRI), which measures brain activity by monitoring blood flow. The researchers then showed each person 30 words related to suicide and positive and negative feelings, including “death,” “desperate,” “carefree,” “kindness,” “trouble,” and “worried.”

To analyze the results, the researchers used machine learning to characterize people’s brain activity patterns: 91 percent of the time, it correctly determined which participant had a history of suicidal thoughts, and which did not. It also successfully identified which individuals had previously attempted suicide.

The analysis yielded critical information about which concepts led to the clearest distinctions between the groups. The brains of participants with suicidal thoughts and behavior had vastly different responses to the words “death,” “cruelty,” “trouble,” “carefree,” “good,” and “praise,” and most of those participants demonstrated high levels of self-reported depression that included a negative view of the self, world, and the future. “Our research shows that suicidal ideation is exactly the way you think about things,” Just says. “Something changed the way your brain and mind work.”

Though the study is small, it demonstrates the promise of fMRI used in tandem with machine learning, a novel approach that resolves some of the challenges of relying on imaging to make conclusions about brain activity. Machine learning makes it possible to observe statistically significant differences between patients and a control group, which has been difficult in the past.

Just asserts that if the technique remains successful in larger studies, it could become an important tool in helping doctors assess suicide risk and develop targeted treatments. If a psychologist, for example, had better information surrounding which concepts were altered in a suicidal patient, he/she could potentially tailor talk therapy or medication to positively change that person’s way of thinking.

The study’s results also raise complex questions about new technology that helps reveal what processes are occurring in our brains as we think. In a dystopian future, one could imagine the tool being used as a way to exclude people with suicidal thoughts or behavior from certain professional and private roles, including military service, political office, or even parenthood.

Just says the technology requires immense focus and participation from the subject, so it could not be forced on people — yet. How people decide to subject their thoughts to examination and whether that information is shared publicly will eventually become the “ultimate privacy question,” adds Just. In the meantime, he is hopeful that the technology, if proven successful, will give patients and their doctors meaningful ways to assess and prevent suicide risk. Just is optimistic in the human ability to influence and shape the brain with the right tools. “There’s no question that our brains are malleable,” he says. “They are the most powerful tool that mother nature gives us.”