The second half of MM+M Transform ’22 followed up on the array of topics discussed during the event’s five morning sessions. Here are three afternoon highlights.

1. Bolstering patient adherence remains a top priority. A panel discussion focused on the ongoing need to keep people on their medications. InStep Health chief sales officer Michael Byrnes said providers must be proactive in order to drive a meaningful experience. Erica Hawthorne, executive director of digital strategy at Bayer, noted that adherence can be boosted by communicating directly with patients based on who they are, especially if they are people of color.

“We’re trying to advance human health, and we have the means to be able to really personalize it,” said Health Monitor Network CEO Dave Paragamian.

Jennifer DiGennaro, VP of client strategy and business development consumer solutions at DrFirst, added that there are plenty of opportunities to address patient adherence as it relates to prescription abandonment. She said it is the responsibility of the provider to further the goal of patient empowerment and suggested timely engagement at the point of care could be helpful.

2. Watch out for more tech-enabled wellness. Apple Watches, Fitbits and other wearables have engaged consumers in a profound way, which has the medical community debating the future of the data harvested from these devices.

Ascension chief medical officer of virtual care Dr. Tania Elliott said that data culled from wearables can contribute to early (and needed) medical interventions for patients. She added that wearables often serve as an engagement tactic: When consumers participate in gamification, they are rewarded for their health decisions. 

Howard Seidman, COO of Populus Media, noted that wearables have made healthcare more accessible – and, in turn, made people more interested in their health. Gene Fitzpatrick, SVP of strategy at MRM for Health, agreed. Even if wearables don’t make a significant impact on a person’s health, they can contribute to positive behavioral change, he said.

3. The future of cannabis is sky-high. Puns notwithstanding, New York State Cannabis Control Board chair Tremaine Wright emphasized the state’s public health approach to cannabis during her late-day keynote presentation.

Wright said education is a key component to the agency’s awareness campaign, adding that when it comes to the destigmatization of cannabis, medical professionals can play a role as trusted advisors for interested consumers. Targeted advertising of information about cannabis, in industry publications or on the New York City subway system, can also be effective, Wright added. She believes different populations are likely to consider cannabis if given an understanding of its effects from reliable sources.