This week marks the 10th Annual SAS Health and Life Sciences conference in Cary with a lineup of spectacular speakers and panel participants! As part of the Life Sciences content development team, I have a behind the scenes view and thought you may be interested in learning a bit more about the event. Let's start with the top 5 reasons I am looking forward to Wednesday:
1) Listening to health care and business leaders discuss their innovation successes and how their methods can translate across the health care continuum. These speakers and conference participants are rarely in the same venue, yet each are looking at the health care continuum in new ways.
2) Participating in a life science discussion focused on moving the patient to the center of health care, from research through commercialization.
3) Engaging in cross-industry dialogues about the convergence of health care across historical boundaries to focus on the patient.
4) Networking to hear how the barriers to “doing business the way we always have” are dissipating — moving from “I can’t because …,” to “I can try based on a strategic approach,” which can be contagious in a healthy way.
5) Advancing health care innovation through new relationships and shared visions.
Let me elaborate:
I will hear Dr. Peter Diamandis describe his inspiration and success as an entrepreneur changing the way people drive revolution in various industries, including health care. Dr. Diamandis is CEO, X Prize Foundation and co-author of Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think. I noticed the tag line on Dr. Diamandis’ X Prize Foundation website is “Making the Impossible Possible”. Isn’t that what the entire US health care continuum is striving for? We are all looking for new ways to turn the impossible into the possible. Each of us is seeking how to:
- Bend the cost curve while improving health care delivery.
- Eliminate waste and abuse.
- Treat the patient as an individual with unique issues and health concerns.
- Reform a complicated health care system with misaligned incentives.
The list goes on. Some pessimists will say a transformation is impossible, so I look forward to hearing Dr. Diamandis’ thoughts on actually making reform possible.
Several sessions will address the patient focus evolving across health care — partially mandated by the ACA and enabled through innovation and technology. This concept has more applicability than I have time to include here, and there are entire conferences devoted to each dimension of this shift. It spans R&D clinical trial development and recruitment, electronic medical records, pay for performance vs. volume, disease management offerings, personalized medicines, member engagement for payers, health care provider education and support, formulary placement, and much more. But this week, I’ll focus on the patient-centered messages from three unique perspectives:
1) First, the empowered patient:
Empowered patient spokesperson "e-Patient Dave" deBronkart, International Health Policy Adviser and author of Let Patients Help! I read in his blog recently (and I am sure he will touch on the theme): “An engaged patient plays an active role in his or her care.” Or, as e-patients.net founder “Doc Tom” Ferguson said, “e-Patients are Empowered, Engaged, Equipped and Enabled.”
In my opinion, there is a currently a very broad spectrum of patients’ levels of empowerment, engagement, equipment and enablement for a plethora of reasons. At some point people must take ownership of their own health and that of their loved ones. For those unable to manage on their own, the health care industry demands various safety nets. Without this involvement, our health care economy will continue to incur waste and abuse while missing opportunities to prevent disease progression.
2) Next, the population engagement and retention experts:
I will attend the presentation of an expert making significant strides to fulfill the corporate vision to “delight the guest and create magical moments.” I will be learning from Disney executive, Ed Gaffin, Director CRM and Marketing Analytics, how Disney corporation engages and retains the population across demographics. After all, who builds customer engagement and retention better than Disney?
Of course, I recognize there are differences between the personalization and outreach latitude Disney has vs. the highly regulated and litigious environment of health care and HIPPA. Yet there are similarities and opportunities for learning from one large organization to another tasked with integrating massive disparate data sources across divisions and incorporating innovation to change the way they drive business. There are many insights organizations can glean from Disney’s commitment, willingness to work across silos, and their ability to innovate, streamline, and enhance the Disney experience both internally and externally.
3) Finally, organizations striving to be patient-centered:
A life science panel discussion will include executives describing their organization’s vision to be patient-centered by revolutionizing R&D processes, organizational structures, and customer relationships — be it payer, provider or patient. Outsiders may be surprised to hear life science wasn’t always patient-focused when they discovered and commercialized new products to improve a patient’s quality of life. What we really mean is meeting the patient’s needs in new ways – just as they are supported in their everyday lives through retail, banking, travel, education etc. To shift to THIS new way translates to:
- Engaging health care professionals in new ways.
- Looking for new data sources, new skill sets and capabilities to gain wisdom about disease and patient cohorts.
- Changing payer relationships.
- Initiating cross-industry discussions.
- Challenging the status quo.
- Reducing business cost through advanced analytics.
Whew! My head will be spinning by conference end – yet what a great opportunity to look at the market in different ways and from new perspectives. Please stay tuned to the conversation as I recap the event in the following weeks.