Data, Technology, and Medicine: How They Intersect

From left: Mony Weschler, Montefiore Medical Center; Brad Davidson, Aptus Health; Ronen Tamir, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries; Dr. Yechiel Engelhard, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries; Jaimy Lee, MM&MJessica Brueggeman, MicroMass Communications; and Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, Think-Health (Photo credit: Erica Berger)

The intersection of data, technology, and medicine is rapidly changing how doctors practice, drug companies market, and patients engage with the healthcare system.

The panelists at a recent roundtable, sponsored by Aptus Health and held during MM&M's second annual Transforming Healthcare conference, agreed that these revolutions are promising and have the potential to dramatically influence patient outcomes. But there are still unknowns, which means there is a need for big changes and new innovations in and around the U.S. health system.

The maturing population may be one change driver, as millennials demand instant access and communication and seek out doctors who will meet them where they are — which is to say on a smartphone. Meeting those demands will require cultural change for everyone.

Even as the industry marches forward with new technology, there will always be room for the human element. Connection and communication will remain just as important in the care of patients in the future as they are today.

Brad Davidson, SVP, strategic planning, Aptus Health

“We have more information than ever, but we don't know what's relevant or how to sift through it. We know there's important data in there, but we aren't necessarily sure what's the most useful, actionable data. If you put those things together, it's no wonder we really don't know what tomorrow's going to look like. We barely have a handle on today.”

Jessica Brueggeman, SVP, health behavior group, MicroMass Communications

“While there absolutely needs to be a focus on population health and algorithms — because time is limited and so many patients need to be seen — physicians, health coaches, nurses, and care managers need to be skilled in communicating effectively with patients so that there's an optimal decision made. Big data lacks context.”

Mony Weschler, chief technology and innovation strategist, Montefiore Medical Center

“We need a culture of innovation. We need to change and be open-minded. Most of healthcare doesn't want to change. That resistance is the biggest obstacle right now. Everyone talks innovation, but innovation is not something you just throw out there. It's work and it takes a very different culture to be open to that type of environment. And we're not.”

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, health economist and adviser, Think-Health

“We are now spending too much and getting too little. We all know that. As we move toward this value-based world, there has been a lot of chaos getting there.”

Ronen Tamir, SVP, strategic business initiatives, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries

“You are no longer restricted to where you live for high-quality healthcare, even if you're in a small country and you're being serviced by your community hospital. You and your doctors have access today to things you would never had access to five years ago — like digital pathology and EMRs that allow the transfer of data. You no longer have to be very close physically.”

Dr. Yechiel Engelhard, senior director for patient technologies, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, and founder, Gecko Health Innovations

“Doctors are expected to know more. They are expected to use this new information and data and capabilities, but they are also very confused. They know that they want to be at the front of the line, but they are using the same system they used 10 years ago.”