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Market Analysis

Industry Experts Discuss Digital Health Transformation

12/12/2023

The US healthcare market is ripe for continued disruption, innovation, and growth. How will technology solutions impact this environment?

In a recent panel discussion, DCA Asset Management’s Executive Vice President Molly Iarocci was joined by three experts in digital health to unpack their insights on this intersection of healthcare and technology.

  • Louise Hardman, Director, RealmSpark & Investor Engagement, ASU Enterprise Partners
  • Seth Merritt, Co-Founder and CEO, Welby Health
  • Dr. Michael J. Schnaus, Internal Medicine/Hospital Medicine, Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota

In this post, we will highlight the key takeaways from their discussion on topics including EHR data optimization, clinical workflow automation, and the role of AI in improving patient outcomes.

Visit our YouTube channel for the full transcript of their conversation.

 

 

Adoption Constraints

To kick off the conversation, Iarocci asked the experts to shed light on the barriers that hinder the wider adoption of digital health technologies. Dr. Michael J. Schnaus focused on the varied experience levels and expectations of physicians and patients across the healthcare industry. He described how interoperability across healthcare systems and the financial burden of taking on new technologies both present significant challenges to adoption.

Seth Merritt added the very real fear that exists as technology is used on real patients for the first time. He shared his perspective on the financial incentives at the root of the existing model which new technologies threaten to upset.

Louise Hardman agreed that entrenched systems and incumbents present the biggest challenge for startups seeking to enter the digital health market. She added that the complex procurement process is also a significant constraint. Hardman emphasized the importance of embracing a go-to-market strategy that understands these pressures, working through a distribution network or starting with smaller, physician-owned practices and scaling into larger hospital systems.

Overall, the panelists’ comments underscore the importance of tailoring innovative solutions to overcome adoption constraints in the digital health space.

 

Artificial Intelligence

Next, the panelists delved into the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in transforming healthcare.

Louise Hardman introduced her thesis that generative AI can be leveraged to enhance efficiencies and performance in healthcare and not necessarily to replace or substitute a physician entirely. Digital diagnostics are an exciting example of this application.

Seth Merritt agreed, emphasizing AI’s power to automate healthcare workflows to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Patient engagement and communications are also a great opportunity for AI to replace manual processes and improve the industry as a whole.

As the practicing physician in the discussion, Dr. Michael J. Schnaus emphasized the potential of AI to be a true partner to physicians, optimizing workflows, enhancing decision-making, and improving patient care. He advocated for clinicians to embrace AI and advanced analytics as tools supporting their decision-making processes. Dr. Schnaus also highlighted AI’s impact on clinical trial design and execution and the promise it holds for personalized medicine.

The panelists’ insights underscore AI’s transformative potential in revolutionizing healthcare delivery and outcomes.

 

Consumer-Centric Approach

The discussion also focused on the growing importance of a consumer-centric approach in healthcare. Panelists stressed the necessity of creating user-friendly experiences to engage patients actively.

Louise Hardman recognized the sheer amount of data generated by consumer technologies today and the challenge of controlling this data flow. She highlighted the use of software as a medical device to transform consumer data into actionable medical data. Hardman also highlighted the digital health-friendly weight loss market and how telehealth visits and at-home monitoring options can revolutionize patient engagement.

Seth Merritt theorized that consumers may be slower to embrace digital healthcare than many expect due to their habits and physician-focused mindset to care. As new patients in younger generations enter the market, he expects this to continue to shift. Merritt also emphasized the potential of integrated data systems to enable personalized care, particularly for patients with chronic conditions.

Dr. Michael J. Schnaus agreed, highlighting the differences in demographic groups, their utilization of healthcare, and their increasing need for personalized care. The experts’ insights reinforce the need to place patients at the center of healthcare innovation, providing them with tools and solutions that promote engagement and empowerment.

 

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Conclusion

The panelists’ discussion provided valuable insights into the healthcare industry’s current state and future direction—from hyper-targeted health platforms to the role of value-based care and the potential of AI to further disrupt the healthcare industry. These insights underscore the need for collaboration across the healthcare industry to leverage technology and create innovative solutions that improve patient outcomes and reduce costs.


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