Innovative Technologies Require Innovative Ways of Thinking
New Orleans, LA, USA—May 20, 2019—ISPOR, the professional society for health economics and outcomes research (HEOR), opened its ISPOR 2019 annual conference this morning with a keynote and first plenary, “The Dawn of Disruption in the Health Sector: Will Innovative Technologies Require Innovative Thinking?”
The conference began with a keynote address by Daniel Kraft, MD, faculty chair for medicine, Singularity University, founder and chair, Exponential Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA. Dr Kraft is a Stanford and Harvard trained physician-scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, and innovator. His keynote explored the impact of disruptive medical therapies on medicine today and into the future, setting the stage for the plenary session.
Dr Kraft contrasted the current “sick care” model that is intermittent, reactive, and siloed (ie, where information doesn’t flow) with the potential to move into a more continuous, real-time, proactive world that focuses on wellness care. He encouraged the audience to reimagine HEOR. Dr Kraft stressed how important it is to “be the disrupter, not the disrupted,” noting that sometimes innovation also requires that we unlearn things. He sees healthcare moving from today’s “quantified self” to “quantified health.” He described a world where future healthcare could function as a type of “check engine light” for patients with technologies that use sensors to track personalized health metrics, where augmented reality could help both patients and physicians deal with pain or depression, where “medical selfies” could allow patients to capture key diagnostics at home and send to their physicians, and where personalized polypills that could be printed on demand at a local pharmacy or even at home. Dr Kraft does not see artificial intelligence replacing physicians. Instead he sees physicians working cooperatively to improve healthcare using practices he calls “intelligence augmentation.”
This panel session examined the impact, challenges, and opportunities of the recent renaissance of groundbreaking, new, curative health technologies. The session was moderated by Clifford Goodman, PhD, The Lewin Group, Falls Church, VA, USA. Speakers included Timothy Caulfield, LLM, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada; Fleur Chandler, Patient Advisory Board, Duchenne, Twickenham, England, UK; Alexander Billioux, MD, PhD, Louisiana Department of Health, Baton Rouge, LA, USA; and Ron Philip, Spark Therapeutics, Inc, Philadelphia, PA, USA. Dr Kraft joined the panel for the question and answer session.
The healthcare sector is undergoing a renaissance of next-generation drug development that includes many promising future therapies. More than 2600 clinical trials of gene therapies are completed or ongoing, nearly 1000 trials of regenerative medicine are in progress worldwide, and more than 7000 trials for medical devices are underway, including innovations such as bionic eye-brain implants and spinal cord stimulators. Medical innovation extends beyond drugs and devices to include advances in 3-D printing and the potential for artificial intelligence to generate powerful new tools for disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
Dr Goodman moderated the session. Mr Phillip noted that gene therapies are disrupting the healthcare system by addressing diseases that we haven’t yet been able to tackle. The existing marketplace, however, has not yet adapted to handle the pricing of curative therapies.
Ms Chandler discussed how the regulatory environment has adjusted for rare disease therapies, but that the health technology assessment process struggles with this as “the data is not there” at the time of approval. She talked about her work with Project HERCULES (HEalth Research Collaboration United in Leading Evidence Synthesis). Project HERCULES was created by Duchenne UK and is a collaborative global project designed to increase the chances of patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy of accessing innovative treatments.
Mr Caulfield cautioned that while many health innovations seem promising, that it is important to “watch the hype” and listen to the data/evidence. He also stressed that we need to focus on proven ways to actually change people’s behavior as technology alone cannot do that. Mr Caulfield acknowledged that while new technology can have an impact it can also detract from approaches that we know have a proven health impact (eg, smoking cessation).
Dr Billioux outlined how Louisiana is employing an innovative “Netflix subscription model” to treat its hepatitis C patients toward the goal of eliminating the disease in their state. Louisiana is pooling its funds dedicated to treating the disease and working with the manufacturers of hepatitis C therapies to have unrestricted access to treat patients who suffer from the disease who live in the state.
ISPOR is recognized globally as the leading professional society for health economics and outcomes research and its role in improving healthcare decisions. ISPOR 2019 is the leading global HEOR conference and draws nearly 4000 healthcare thought leaders and stakeholders, including researchers and academicians, assessors and regulators, payers and policy makers, the life sciences industry, healthcare providers, and patient engagement organizations.
ISPOR, the professional society for health economics and outcomes research (HEOR), is an international, multistakeholder, nonprofit dedicated to advancing HEOR excellence to improve decision making for health globally. The Society is the leading source for scientific conferences, peer-reviewed and MEDLINE®-indexed publications, good practices guidance, education, collaboration, and tools/resources in the field.
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