THE GREAT UNIFIERS: HOW DIGITAL HEALTH – AND COMMUNICATION – CAN SAVE A HEALTH ECOSYSTEM STRUGGLING UNDER COVID
November 18, 2020
Meet Five HealthTech Journalists Who Are Changing the Conversation
A viral force of nature is compelling the health system to reconsider how it determines patient needs and delivers care. Inequitable access to healthcare and lopsided disease and mortality burdens are playing out across our country in yet another tragic chapter of racial injustice. Health systems in all 50 states have no choice but to sail into the storm as the surge in COVID-19 cases threatens their ability to address both COVID- and non-COVID-related health needs. Those needs are urgent – and health systems are turning to digital health innovators to connect a fragmented health ecosystem in ways we would never have thought possible before this pandemic.
Today, technologies such as telehealth, digital therapeutics and Bluetooth-connected medical devices – often denied, delayed or simply not pursued before COVID – are now widely accepted, and necessary, parts of care. The problem in healthcare has never been a lack of innovation. The challenge is changing mindsets; getting the system to recognize that without its own disruption – loosening its grip around processes and protocols developed in a non-tech age – life-saving change will be stymied. At this time, we must find courageous leadership that embraces saner, smarter processes and delivery mechanisms that can improve the human condition, overcoming a pervasive problem that industry colleague John Nosta identifies: “Culture squashes innovation.”
Although new technologies are poised to revolutionize healthcare delivery and drug development, they require common sense and collaboration to reach their full potential and meet the urgent crises ahead. “As we start addressing more complex diseases, people are coming to the realization that no one company had the resources to tackle these diseases on their own,” reflects Amir Kalali, MD, founder and curator of the CNS Summit, where biopharma and digital health innovators and government regulators roll-up their sleeves and explore how to heal an ailing system. “To gain a better understanding of biology necessitates greater collaboration.”
COVID-19, the great disruptor, has made clear the key to progress: the ability to integrate efforts, collaborate and leverage the best of diverse expertise and technology to create new paths forward. It’s time for payers, pharma innovators, and providers to take stock and cut loose the dead weight of obsolete patterns set decades ago. Those of us laboring under our fragmented system must find new ways to collaborate; people with health emergencies desperately need us to make that change – and quickly.
Driving this level of collaboration requires communication among potential innovation partners, innovators and health system decision-makers. Levi Shapiro, founder and curator, mHealth Israel, a community for Israeli-based health tech innovators, commented that understanding this essential dynamic can be the difference between success and failure – no matter how great the invention. “Conveying the value of a digital health innovation to society is the key to accelerating its funding, adoption, and ultimately, its impact on people’s health and lives.”
In that sense, journalists represent critical gatekeepers in connecting innovation to the system – they are the frontline transmitters of what’s new and important. On Tuesday, December 8th at 9:30 ET US, five outstanding journalists from three continents – all covering the digital health and technology sector – will be part of a global webinar hosted by mHealth Israel and Finn Partners to explore the path forward. I will be on hand to moderate the conversation. How to overcome status quo? The formula for possibilities is collaboration, integration, economics and the battle for talent. That and more will be on the agenda of hot topics and what to expect in 2021. Panelists are featured often in MedCity News, HealthcareIT News, mHealth Intelligence, Digital Health, and on Bloomberg TV.
Coverage gets people talking and connecting. Just as digital health is a connector between physician and patient, the conversation will be the essential catalyst for provider-systems to reassess on how they organize, resource, and integrate new ideas into their systems. If changing mindsets is the successful outcome, communications is always part of the care.
Join the December 8th media conversation!