Recap | April 23
A Sell Out Crowd
The fourth annual World Medical Innovation Forum (WMIF) sponsored by Partners Innovation, kicked off Monday morning with a record attendance of 1,600 participants representing the top healthcare, biotech and venture capital firms from across the globe.
The theme of this year’s forum is Artificial Intelligence (AI), and much of the discussion on Day One focused on the promise, complexities and limitations of AI in healthcare.
Speakers were optimistic about the potential for AI to drive big improvements in predicting disease, treating patients and managing outcomes, but also cautioned that the technology is still in its early stages and there will likely be some growing pains along the way.
In her opening remarks, Anne Klibanski, MD, Chief Academic Officer of the Partners HealthCare system (PHS), noted that PHS has been investing in the large-scale aggregation and collection of clinical data that can be used to power AI technologies, and is well position to serve as an AI hub with collaborators worldwide.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker was impressed by the speakers and participants at the forum. “This is what I call rock star city,” Baker said in his opening remarks. “I’ve never seen such a terrific collection of intellectual capital.”
First Look: Next Wave of AI Breakthroughs
In what has become a must-see event to kick off the forum, Monday’s First Look Session provided attendees with a look at 19 new innovations in AI-powered medical applications from investigators in the PHS system.
The depth and breadth of applications was impressive, including innovations in psychiatry, surgery, genetic profiling, in vitro fertilization, predicting C. difficile infection rates and blood group typing, just to name a few.
Ziad Obermeyer, MD, an emergency medicine clinician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), presented a concept for using machine learning algorithm to improve the decision making process for costly medical tests.
“We’re seeing errors on both sides,” Dr. Obermeyer explained. “Predictably low risk patients are getting tested and predictability high risk patients are not getting tested.”
“One thing clear to me is that anything would be better than what we are doing today.”
“It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that doctors make mistakes, but we can use these algorithms to find out where and with whom those doctors make mistakes. Building on this understanding, you can come to a whole range of possibilities.”
Daniel Hashimoto, MD, a surgical resident at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), presented on a system called “Surgical Fingerprints” that is designed to reduce the risk of adverse intra-operative events by collecting data from previous surgeries and using that information to guide real-time decision making in the operating room.
“It’s like [the popular direction-finding app] Waze for surgery, but instead of avoiding traffic, it will allow you to avoid surgical complications,” Hashimoto explained.
Discovery Café Workshops
Following the First Look event, the crowd broke out into smaller groups for a series of Discovery Café Sessions taking a closer look at the potential for AI in pathology, anesthesiology, neurosciences, data security and the workforce.
In the neurosciences session, Maurizio Fava, MD, director of the Division of Clinical Research at MGH and the vice chair of the MGH Department of Psychiatry, noted that 20 percent of clinical trial participants never actually take the drug that is being tested,. Fava said he was hopeful that AI technology could help to identify and screen out those participants to improve the accuracy of results.
Monday afternoon’s panel sessions began with a big picture view of AI in healthcare before digging deeper into specific areas of interest, such as the role of AI in drug development; the interaction of AI with electronic health records and the role of AI in improving clinical trials.
Tom Lynch, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Bristol Myers Squibb, was optimistic that AI could help to streamline the movement of new molecules from discovery to development. The current process “takes way too long and costs way too much,” he said.
Charlie Baker | @MassGovernor
Massachusetts is a leader in innovation, technology, and healthcare, and I’m excited to welcome so many leaders who are experts in these fields to the Commonwealth for the World Medical Innovation Forum here in Boston. #WMIF18
Nikhil Bhojwani | @bnikhil
“AI will not replace radiologists. Radiologists who embrace Ai will replace radiologists who don’t.” Bill Thorwarth, CEO American College of Radiology #WMIF18 @PHSInnovation #ArtificialIntelligence #radiology
Deepthi Bathina | @deepthibathina
Expecting the impossible from clinicians ..to interpret 100s or 1000s of lab test results for patient diagnosis #AI and #MachineLearning can help #WMIF18 @NuanceHealth