Monday, April 17, 2017

Navigating Through a Landscape of Change at the 22nd Annual Medical Technologies:
A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange


Amid an eclectic, global crowd of key healthcare industry leaders, medical technology experts, and seasoned business entrepreneurs, two constant event themes emerged early on: uncertainty and adding value to the healthcare continuum.  Moreover, keynote speaker address titles included long tail key phrases like, Adopt or Die, and Changing Channels, or Adoption of New Technology. Each keynote address introduced well-documented evidence pointing to an emerging era of unprecedented change in healthcare and the struggle to find business strategies that adds value for advanced medical technology in a value-based healthcare ecosystem.

This survival of the fittest mentality combined with the movement to value-based care dominated not only the main sessions of the 22nd Annual Medical Technologies: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange, but also subsequent follow up conversations at lunch, dinner and into the night as colleagues and new friends gathered in small groups to debate the way forward. This heightened level of dialogue and sense of urgency continued for over three full days of interactive sessions and team-building exercises orchestrated by the Frost & Sullivan Events Division.

In addition to the ever present “winds of change” presentations, there were also brief presentations about seismic shifts in advanced medical technology. These discussions involved early detection and prevention of chronic and degenerative disease and the endless opportunities medical devices bring. But, break-out session facilitators went on to explain this anticipated scientific and financial bliss from advanced medical technology requires unique applications where providers can successfully detect, intervene and prevent debilitating diseases. In essence, the ability to create a blue ocean strategy for the planned data output of a new medical device. However, capitalization for mimic medical devices is challenging as is raising money for medical devices whose product produces scientific data that has little or no clinical relevance. A reported missed step when beginning a first round of capitalization is not having a planned and granular business strategy with enough follow- through to generate a return an investment for investors.

How Technology Becomes Business and Business Becomes Technology

Al Naqvi of The American Institute of Artificial Intelligence gave an in-depth presentation on the advancement of artificial intelligence and its many applications in medicine. He simultaneously encapsulated the necessity for finding a business strategy for technology and showcased how artificial intelligence is transforming the healthcare value chain.

Since the first industrial revolution in the 1750s, technology and business have been viewed as separate entities. This is referred to as strategic dualism where technology enables business. In the latter 1800s, electricity created a division of labor and mass production that enabled mass distribution. This dominated an acceptable parity between technology and business until late in to the 20th century. Then, with the dawning of information age technology, the introduction of the Internet generated a cognitive and consciousness revolution that established a reality that technology is now both the core business and strategy and that the two are indistinguishable (Cognitive singularity).

In short, machines are no longer viewed as detached inanimate objects designed solely for mass production. And with this admission we usher in the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution where we have:


Artificial Intelligence
For applications of AI along the healthcare continuum, Mr. Naqvi suggested ways AI can shape this opportunity. As Naqvi stated "You need to ask yourself these questions. What text or data can be extracted? What machine learning can be deployed to learn processes such as caring, diagnosing, and providing therapy? And lastly, how much learning can be integrated with workflows?" Naqvi then stressed the imperative for AI to contribute to healthcare by adding value. Without transforming the value chain and a sound business strategy, even IBM’s Watson is viewed as nothing more than a computer.

A Call for Ethics in Technology – Adopt or Die

Michelle Mosolgo, Chief Technology Officer, Healthcare Solutions and Services, Merck & Company, presented an emerging ecosystem for new technology adoption and outlined four linear and concurrent parameters required for cultural and industry acceptance. What was the impossible is now the expected:

1. Channels: moving away from existing and traditional channels of mobile access, websites, and social media to real-time social platforms including Facebook Live, Google Allo and voice-driven SEO and new media such as Netflix and Apple Music along with location technology innovations like Waze
    • Distancing themselves from type-and-read contextual searches of the past 20 years, new connected home devices including Amazon Echo & Google Home introduce an audio component in to search queries. As a direct result, voice-driven search results provide a more sophisticated level of analytics that can provide businesses targeted solutions.

2. Product: the industrial revolution brought with it mechanical designs created by engineers. Today’s products call for Human Centered Design (HCD) which is a process on to itself which involves customers throughout the product and service design exercise. Customers can now celebrate with products that meet their lifestyle needs resulting in true perceived value that brings a much quicker and sustainable return-on-investment algorithm. With many lessons learned, adoption of technology is now more prevalent and more user friendly dictating the need for principles moving forward.
    • Product Principles
  • Price Point
  • UX/Design
  • Clarity of Purpose
  • Privacy

3. People: integrated experiences must come first  and place the human in the center. Amazon is experimenting on a number of frontiers in this regard including the application of mini-drones to deliver goods and grocery shopping without challenging and annoying check-out lines.

4. New Business Models: this new and exciting frontier will blend educators with businesses who face the daunting task of simultaneously educating students and teaching employee skills to solve problems industries have not yet encountered.

  • 64% of patients would see a doctor via video
  • Access and convenience is more important to patients than physical contact, many are also very unconcerned with having their information in the cloud
  • Price points are similar for most available options (makes things easier)
  • You can adapt one technology and one solution to many different stakeholders

What remains is the defining of the delicate balance of technology and ethics required to oversee myriad applications for faster, smarter, and better products and services. Who decides if it is ethical for a sensor in modern vehicles to decide which of 4 passengers will survive when it deploys air bags? These are ethical questions which industry leaders and consumers must debate and solve.
Venkat Rajan, Global Research Director-Visionary Healthcare, Frost & Sullivan,
leads the global program focused on disruptions and transformations occurring within the healthcare sector. He directs content delivered through the interactive analysis of ecosystem maps, diagrams, scenario planning, best practice case studies, market monetization modelsand provides commentary on other topics related to a converging marketplace.
Patrick Riley, Senior Healthcare Analyst Frost & Sullivan, investigates and writes in the Advanced Medical Technology healthcare industry vertical globally. Currently, he is authoring a study on the Future of Robotic Assisted Surgical Devices. He is also working globally on studies evaluating the utilization and application of permanent synthetic mesh used in laparoscopic surgeries.

Patrick is also involved in Frost & Sullivan's Transformational Health effort, writing and conducting research on healthcare reform and the impact of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act.

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