Recap | April 24
The Role of AI in Health Care Accessibility and Drug Discovery
A closer look at how to turn the promise of implementing AI in health care into a reality.
Day 2 of the World Medical Innovation Forum was packed with in-depth discussions on the opportunities and challenges of integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into the health care system, with an up-close look at the role AI could play in delivering affordable health care, supporting clinical decision making, processing large amounts of data and speeding up drug development.
The discussion also highlighted some key challenges in AI integration, such as convincing clinicians, patients and payors of the value of AI technology, standardizing data across platforms, and protecting patient privacy in a digitized world.
The Importance of Data
Data collection was a key topic in many sessions throughout the day. “The theme you will hear over and over is very high quality, well-curated data,” said Mark Murcko, PhD, Chief Science Officer of Relay Therapeutics, during a session on drug development. “One of the big challenges we have is to better represent the interactions that molecules are having. Just to tease out that little bit of insight that helps the drug discovery team move a little faster.”
A panel discussion on Data Engineering in Health Care emphasized the importance of engaging patients in discovery process and convincing them that the benefits of sharing their health information with clinicians and researchers outweigh the risks of a potential data breach.
James Mault, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Qualcomm Life, noted that 15 years ago many people were hesitant about using their credit cards to make purchases online, but today nearly everyone has their information stored on website such as Amazon because of the convenience it provides.
“The risk is still there, but we’re willing to accept that risk because we’re getting these tremendous benefits,” he said. “In health care we’re seeing a lot of risk, but we’re not yet seeing a lot of benefit.”
Day 2 also featured a series of one-on-one fireside chats. Atul Gawande, MD, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and bestselling author of Being Mortal and The Checklist Manifesto (among others), told Brigham Health President Elizabeth Nabel, MD, that the key to successfully integrating AI technology into clinical care is to identify clear benefits for both the patient and the clinician-and to ensure that the health care providers are ready and willing to use it.
“If you give people a great process solution, the perfect innovation tool, and plug it into a ready environment, you make a major impact.”
Afternoon Panel Sessions
In a panel session on AI and Genetic Sequencing, moderator Heidi Rehm, PhD, said that while researchers are now able to collect much more genetic data from patients, their ability to process and take action on that data is still lagging behind.
“The team in my laboratory still reads articles in the literature to try to figure out what these variants mean,” Rehm said. “We will never be able to disseminate these technologies for broad medical use if we can’t advance what we are doing today in terms of understanding the genetic and genomic variation.”
Despite the concerns raised and the work that still needs to be done, the tone of the day’s sessions were overwhelming positive, with nearly all participants saying they believed that AI technology could make significant improvements in the delivery of health care.
In a CEO roundtable discussion hosted by Peter Slavin, MD, President of Massachusetts General Hospital, Terri Bresenham, Chief Executive Officer for GE Healthcare, shared her optimistic outlook.
“We’re very bullish,” Bresenham said. “I think there’s no doubt that this will be by far the most transformational technology change that is going to occur, in concert with some other very important changes in genomics and genetics and biotherapies as well as diagnostics and imaging technology.”
Samuel Myllykangas | @SamuMyllykangas
CEO panel: #AI will transform healthcare by expanding access to care, improving quality, reducing cost, streamlining information flow and integration, accelerating drug discovery, supporting decision making and supplementing research. #WMIF18
Behrooz Hashemian | @behxyz
Amazing roundtable with CIO and CEO’s from @Philips, @SiemensHealth, @Vertex, and @GEHealthcare, talking about the AI opportunities in healthcare and how it is transforming the industry. #WMIF18 @MassGeneralNews
Cassie Lee | @cassan_druh
Understanding that you in the #innovation world have two customers: you have the patient whose lives you have to make better, and you have the clinicians who you need to make easy tools for that scale – @Atul_Gawande at #WMIF18 @BrighamWomens
Dan Hashimoto | @Laparoscopes
I want @Nvidia to be an intelligent autonomous machine. I want @NvidiaAI to be an #AI. #AI needs to do 3 things: perception of the environment, reason about what it’s perceiving, develop a plan to take action. – CEO Jensen Huang #WMIF18