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2014 Annual CTIP Symposium: A New Era in Healthcare Innovation

Achieve Health at Healthcare Innovation Conference

My quest for knowledge with regards to all things related to Healthcare Technology and Healthcare Innovation brought me to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA) for a recent symposium hosted by the Center for Technology and Innovation in Pediatrics (CTIP).  The symposium was focused on Smarter Technologies for Unique Patient Needs and was extremely informative and well organized. I was able to rub elbows with some extremely influential and cutting-edge physicians and business leaders from Greg Lucier formerly of Life Technologies, Richard Cordova the CEO of CHLA, to Dietrich Stephan PhD and entrepreneur at University of Pittsburgh. The accolades for the physicians and panelists were long and distinguished and it was an honor to just be in the same room with them. Their knowledge and thought leadership on the innovative technologies that are shaping the present and coming trends for Healthcare delivery were both insightful and inspiring.

One of the key points I was able to take away from the symposium was that healthcare as we know it is changing. The patient has more control and influence on their healthcare spending then ever before. Currently U.S. health care costs account for 17.6% of GDP. One shocking stat that I gleaned from Dr. Alexander Judkins, Pathologist-in-Chief at CHLA, was that 30% of the current healthcare spend is out of the patients pocket, which makes up approximately $13.5B! This means that Americans are spending more on both traditional and non-traditional healthcare products and services and they are expecting to see tangible results from their investments.

This exorbitant spend in health care services and products is leading the way for the trend of Personalized or Precision Medicine solutions. The patients are demanding that their level of care be specific to them because they are more vested in the process and the outcomes – not just because it involves their health, but now it involves more of their money! Personalized Medicine has not been fully embraced by some regulatory agencies such as the FDA (Linda Ulrich a Director at the FDA was there to address this issue) and Dr. Judkins went on to say that “regulation has to adapt around what people are trying to do every day.” The people are demanding personalized treatment, but unfortunately these agencies are bureaucratic nightmares and cannot keep pace with the nimble consumer market.

Genome Sequence

One of the panels focused on a key improvement in personalized treatment, genome sequencing. Genome sequencing is an amazing process and is a modern day marvel of technology and healthcare innovation. Considering the fact that genomic testing costs around $8,000 today and in 2011 it cost between $95 – $100M! Think about that, the cost decreased by around 12,000% in about 3 years.  The panel focused on the benefits and some of the unintended consequences of the prevalence and availability of genomic testing. One of the driving forces behind the innovation was Life Technologies, and former CEO Greg Lucier was on the panel. He said it was his and Life’s mission to make the testing more accessible for everyone in order to “create the bounds of objectivity to be able to create the solution to solve the problem.”

Genomic sequencing is truly a driver in personalized medicine and is creating massive amounts of significant data relevant to numerous diseases and ailments. CHLA alone has amassed around 90 petabytes of genetic information! The challenge now is the process of analyzing, tracking, and forecasting all that data.  Big Data analytic tools are really helping physicians make sense of the data and painting a better picture of their patient’s diseases to allow them to find better ways to treat and ultimately prevent those diseases.

Overall it was a great symposium and there are revolutionary things happening within healthcare and healthcare delivery. The current batch of Health IT, while not perfect, is still leaps and bounds above where we were 10, 5 and even 2 years ago. However, There is still room for massive improvements but they will come. Our mission at Achieve Health is to make them arrive sooner than later. This event helped to validate the fact that the innovations currently happening at the clinical level are being driven by the patient and are focused on personalized care. Healthcare technology developers and vendors need to take a similar approach to their innovations by focusing on the patient first and the technology second. Our goal is to focus on the patient needs to develop patient-centric tools that drive outcomes and reduce healthcare costs for everyone.

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