Joseph Doyle, Erwin H. Schell Professor of Management and Applied Economics, MIT Sloan School of Management
From Health Data Management
A coming wave of digital health tools has the potential to transform how and where healthcare is provided.
Using information from a patient’s medical record—including lab results, provider notes and images, such as CT scans—along with genomic data, prior insurance claims and environmental information, machine learning algorithms can substantially improve diagnostic testing. They can also support decision-making tools for providers to improve guideline adherence.
The tools’ success is not a given, however. They must first gain the trust of patients, providers and payers. In addition, the tools must not prompt alert fatigue. If providers are flooded with warnings and advice, they may become desensitized and tune out the information.
This coming wave provides a golden opportunity to overcome both hurdles—smart piloting of the new tools. By systematically introducing these digital health tools, we learn what works and what doesn’t. Randomized trials do not need to be limited to pharmaceuticals and medical devices; they can inform healthcare delivery designs as well.
Fellow, MIT Center for Digital Business, Tom Davenport
It’s no secret that health care in the United States is too expensive and not cost-effective. Most of the attention to health care reform has gone to those who lack employee health care, but half of Americans get health care through their employers. Their care is also too expensive—employer health care costs rose 191% between 1999 and 2016, compared to 44% non-healthcare inflation. Many employers want to find ways to make it less expensive, and also to improve the quality of care and health of employees.
In pursuit of these objectives, fifty large companies—from American Express to Weyerhauser—joined together in 2016 to create the Health Transformation Alliance (HTA). Together they comprise over seven million covered lives. The core of the alliance is technology, data, and analytics; companies who are members agree to share data and solutions with each other. There are, of course, other such alliances—the one between Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway has received substantial attention —but HTA is much larger and further along, and both JPMorgan Chase and one Berkshire Hathaway business unit are also members of HTA.
Eric von Hippel, T. Wilson (1953) Professor in Management, MIT Sloan School of Management
From Stat News
Here’s a long-held assumption that’s ripe for a challenge: Valuable improvements in health and patient care should come from experts in the pharmaceutical, medical device, and related industries.
There’s no question that such professionals are essential for innovation. But our research shows that patient-innovators also have important roles to play and will fill significant gaps that industry hasn’t addressed — or can’t.
Take Lisa Crite as an example. Like all women who have a mastectomy for breast cancer, she was advised not to shower for seven to ten days after the operation to avoid contaminating the wound and surgical drains. Since that’s a long time to go without showering, many women resort to wrapping their upper bodies with plastic wrap or trash bags to cover the healing surgical wound during a shower. Not satisfied with that approach and unable to find a suitable commercial product, Crite developed the Shower Shirt. Not only does it keep the area dry, it also has internal pockets for the the wound’s drains.
Solving complex global health challenges calls for innovation in the many domains that shape current thinking about the field: medicine, economic development, public health, product engineering, anthropology, design thinking, and the emerging science of healthcare delivery. But what’s often missing in the mix is entrepreneurship.
A new breed of entrepreneurs is making headway in global health. Some are challenging the status quo by launching new ventures while others work with public, private and non-profit organisations. By developing novel applications of technology and analytics, improving processes and starting businesses, these innovators are developing brand new solutions to global health challenges. Creating clinically effective offerings that people choose over existing alternatives requires a deep understanding of relationships, dynamics and context. Doing this with an eye to improving the quality, sustainability and reach of healthcare in emerging markets calls for innovators who are ready to tackle the complexities of global health.
It’s important to provide education and training for this new breed of entrepreneurs because the wrong kind of failure comes at too high a cost. Too much pivoting, and public trust is eroded. A misstep may even harm patients. Innovators need to be creative and agile, but they also need to invest in the groundwork, a combination of imperatives that can be difficult to follow when building a business.
Building Sustainable Healthcare Systems through Innovation and Entrepreneurship, MIT-King’s College of London Summit, May 22, 2019
What role can innovators and entrepreneurs play in overcoming global health challenges, creating a safer and healthier world, and driving global prosperity?
Join us for an #Innovate4Health Twitter chat on Wednesday, May 15 at 9 a.m. Boston / 2 p.m. London time.
The featured experts are Georgina Flatter (@GeorgieMIT), Research Scientist at the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT, and Prashant Jha (@drpjha), Head of Affordable Medical Technologies at the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences at King’s College London. Suranga Chandratillake (@surangac) of Balderton Capital, will be leading the discussion as host. Together, they will discuss how innovators and entrepreneurs around the world are challenging what is possible in healthcare and driving global progress.