- Daniel Kraft MD, Faculty Chair for Medicine, Singularity University
- Marcus Osborne, Vice President, Health & Wellness Transformation, Walmart
- David Sin, Co-Founder, Fullerton Healthcare Corporation Limited
- Maureen Lewis, CEO, Aceso Global
Demand for health services is growing. Many health systems are struggling to keep apace with demand and must evolve. This keynote session explored how embracing innovation and new thinking can build more effective health systems with active private sector participation.
David Sin, Co-Founder of the Fullerton Healthcare Corporation which serves sixteen million people in 600 facilities in nine countries in Asia, said his organization focusses on designing more patient-centric processes and flows in their hospitals and clinics. It has created ‘health pods’ in which 95 percent of screening procedures occur in one place rather than, as happened before, forcing patients to run from center to center gathering readings on heart rhythm, blood, vitals, cardio strength etc. This change in the process benefits patients both through better quality screening and greater personal privacy.
Marcus Osborne, Vice President for Health Transformation at U.S.-based Walmart, said it was critical to harness technology to help patients identify sooner when they have a certain risk. While technological innovations offer great potential in this regard, they also bring new challenges. For example, while millions of consumers rushed to buy so-called Fitbit devices tracking exercise habits, the research shows that most used it for less than 30 days. That is because wearable devices such as a Fitbit can require consumers to do a lot of work to operate. Seeing this reality, he and his colleagues at Walmart have been studying: “Are there opportunities to engage with consumers to help them identify issues and risks without them having to do anything?” He stressed that there is behavioral data already out there that while not health specific, can be tapped to identify the onset and progression of diseases by pinpointing micro-changes in a person’s behavior than can impact their health.
“Are there opportunities to engage with consumers to help them identify issues and risks without them having to do anything?”—Marcus Osborne
Asked how the most cutting-edge technological innovations can be applied to emerging markets, where capacity may not be as great as in advanced economies, Sin responded that many of Asia’s 3.1 billion population have in fact leapfrogged the West in embracing these technologies. The average consumer in China, for example, spends six to ten hours on their smartphones, much of it on the WeChat app. “The question is how do we harness these technologies to take better ownership and to be more accountable for our own care,” he said.
Joining them on the panel, keynote speaker Daniel Kraft agreed that it can be useful for consumers to access their data outside of the normal health system. What is especially valuable, he said, is “finding those little needles of data, understanding what is that early sign of diabetes, finding the lens and filter so that you can engage that consumer or patient early.” He added that healthcare providers must adapt to behavioral changes and “meet people where they are, whether that’s at a Walmart or on a WeChat.” Data on how a person interacts with their mobile device can also pick up various mental health issues, he added.
“Healthcare providers should meet people where they are, whether that’s at a Walmart or on a WeChat.”—Daniel Kraft