Yesterdy, Jennifer and I had the pleasure of speaking to Dr. Joseph Kvedar, the Founder and Director of the Center for Connected Health at Partners HealthCare. We discussed the upcoming Connected Health Symposium happening in Boston October 24-25, the evolution of the Center for Connected Health over the past 20 years, and Dr. Kvedar’s plan for making all of us health-addicts (check out the video interview below, as well as on his blog (http://chealthblog.connectedhealth.org/), to learn more about the idea).
The mission of the Center for Connected Health at Partners HealthCare is to develop strategic initiatives to help minimize the constraints of delivering care in hospitals and doctor’s offices, and to move healthcare into the day-to-day lives of patients. This year the Connected Health Symposium celebrates its 10th birthday, and the event is poised to be an exciting meeting of medical and healthcare professionals, hospital executives, policy makers and investors.
In addition to an amazing group of curated speakers, the Symposium features an Innovators Challenge – an opportunity for demonstrators of up-and-coming technologies to take the stage to show how their big ideas can help bring health into the lives of patients outside the clinic. Of particular interest to our clinician readers, the Connected Health Symposium will also be a great way to earn up to a maximum of 12.25 AMA PRA Category 1 CME credits.
Members of the MedTech Boston blog team will be at the event to interview some amazing local innovators and entrepreneurs in Connected Health, so be sure to check back to read more great interviews next week if you aren’t able to make it to the event.
The Center for Connected Health has been around for almost 20 years. Can you speak a bit about how the technology and focus of the center has evolved over the last 2 decades?
The past 20 years have been a fun ride. When we started, we didn’t yet have Netscape Navigator – the world was very different. My first project involved an effort to look at digital imaging in dermatology. The camera was less than 1 megapixel in resolution, cost $12,000 and was the size of a shoebox. We couldn’t have dreamed of something like our current mobile phones having so much functionality in the palm of your hand. That said there are basic principles that we continue to stick to. For example, maybe you shouldn’t have to visit a doctor every time you get sick, while still allowing health to be a continuous function in your life.
In the beginning, the market force that brought us together was the idea of doing second opinions overseas. In the early part of 2001 we moved that to a website, which still operates as Partners Online Specialty Consultation. At the same time we became interested in chronic illness management and prevention, which has been our pathway for the last 10 years. We have really built the business case for things like home monitoring for heart failure, blood pressure, and diabetes. We have shown clinical outcomes and have built the technical infrastructure here at Partners, where those projects are now moving mainstream.
What are the center’s main initiatives on a day-to-day basis and what are some key areas of innovation?
We are an innovation group, and our goal is to stay 5-7 years ahead of where our parent company is. The fact that we are implementing heart failure, diabetes and hypertension initiatives now and moving them into mainstream means we were working on these projects 5 to 10 years ago.
What we’re working on as our next focus of innovation is behavior change psychology – an idea that the advertising industry seems to have down quite well. The concept is that based on your keystrokes and a few cookies in your browser, they can understand enough about you to feed you very specific content. We believe this also presents an opportunity in health if we can change the messaging and focus from buying something to doing something healthy. You can probably see the parallels – if we can learn enough about you we can start to anticipate your health needs and message you in the moment on a mobile device.
Collecting information on physiology, such as measuring activity, blood pressure and weight, is something we have spent a lot of time on in the last several years. These parameters feed the software algorithm to make it more intelligent. But, other factors like your mood, your motivation, whether you have a roof over your head and genetics are important as well. So what we’re working on now is trying to get all of those inputs into the right predictive algorithm, then figure out the best way to message an individual at given point in time.
Dr. Kvedar lets us know what to expect at the upcoming Connected Health Symposium and about his talk called “Making Health Addictive.”
Dr. Kvedar tells us that some people touch their phones up to 150 times a day, which, as an addictive behavior, results in the release of a small amount of dopamine. On the other hand, some devices require patients to push just one button a day, but are plagued with low compliance. Why is this?
What type of phone does Dr. Kvedar have? Is he addicted to his apps?
Currently, we could sign into our phones with Facebook Home. Would you sign into your phone with Health First? And what are some hot areas of innovation in connected health in the Boston area?
(This story was written by Shannon Moore, PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western University. Shannon just recently moved to the Boston area, and she is seeking opportunities to bridge bio-innovation and business. She can be contacted at ShannonMoo@gmail.com and www.linkedin.com/pub/shannon-moore/17/100/840.)
My passion is healthcare optimization, whether that is with innovation, making scientific discoveries, or improving delivery. I love bringing people and ideas together and making projects work. With this, medicine exists to improve lives, and I will strive to always help patients and those around me.
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