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Scripps Health Cardiologist Sanjeev Bhavnani on Digital and Global Health

UnknownSanjeev Bhavnani’s passions go beyond the realm of clinical cardiology. He also has an active interest in digital health technology, especially on a global level. Bhavnani is a clinical cardiologist at Scripps Health in La Jolla, California, with interests in cardiac clinical care and heart failure. His research focuses on the effectiveness of digital health technology among different patient populations, with long-term interests in global health in areas that are underserved, such as Africa and India.

This week, we talked to Dr. Bhavnani about his interests and his upcoming talk at the Connected Healthcare Conference in San Diego.

Q: What led you to specialize in cardiology?

Cardiology was one of my childhood passions. I was always interested in the complexities and beauties of the heart. I was very lucky early on to be exposed to very good people who fostered my interest in cardiology. That molded me for asking questions about how the heart worked. As I moved onto training, I kept meeting people who encouraged me and taught me to ask questions.

I also learned early on that my patients will be the point of where my questions come from. When I take care of patients, I wonder how does that happen, and why is it happening. And from that, I became interested in research design. You have questions and now we have so many tools to answer them. With digital and mobile health, questions are changing, but the patients are the same. It’s been cardiology for me for a long time.

Q: You’re set to speak at the Connected Healthcare conference in June. In your opinion, how can providers deliver the best patient care given the changing landscape of healthcare?

We’re starting to ask these questions within the brand new field of digital health. We’re still on the path to learning how patients and providers are engaging with digital health. We can take the lessons we learn from that engagement to keep that momentum moving forward and generate good information. The hope is that we will use the technology to further the best patient care.

Q: What do you plan to discuss at the conference?

I’m planning a three-tiered approach to my discussion. For digital health to be effective in clinical care, we need to look at it from three perspectives:

First, digital health devices. What makes them effective? There are different kinds of devices – passive monitoring devices, all the way up to brand new technology that can be used in developing clinical care.

Second is the patient aspect. I’ll be discussing the lessons we’ve learned so far about digital health from the patient side. What are the factors of the patient that make them engage or not engage with this technology? I’ll also be looking at the lessons we have learned by engaging patients in a positive fashion such as interactive tools through health education or through social health networks and in a digital fashion that promotes patient empowerment.

The final tier is the new digital health clinic. How does all of this new information aggregate so that providers and healthcare workers can act on the information in a way that facilitates that work flow and costs of care? I’ll be talking about using the data to do work flow metrics.

Q: Why should people be interested in and excited to attend the conference?

This is the second annual conference and it’s put together a robust panel of well-known and regarded speakers that are looking to educate each other and the audience behind the height of digital medicine with practical examples. We will look at how digital health can move forward in the near future and into the long-term. This is a unique venue for groups of people to be able to learn from each other in positive ways. It’s more about how things are being used rather than why.

Q: You have an active interest in digital medicine. How is this field helping improve healthcare?

We are at a new point in healthcare. By asking these questions, we are looking to improve outcomes, patient satisfaction, and physician workflows all while improving the cost of healthcare and those outcomes, too. A lot of people in groups are invested in this changing landscape in healthcare. We have the ability to do it on a large scale. But the question remains how best to go about it.

Q: You have also showed long-term interest in global health programs. Can you speak more about that interest and your hopes for the future?

I think it’s one of the most exciting aspects of digital health and the future of healthcare in these resource-limited populations and underserved areas. We can now improve healthcare access to large groups of people who did not have efficient access before.

We see this in handheld ultrasound devices that can extend powerful medical diagnostics to remote locations. These portable, handheld and wireless platforms keep healthcare workers and patients better informed in areas where access wasn’t as accessible before. As we learn about how digital health is being used in industrialized nations, we are also seeing how these technologies can leapfrog to become more efficient and provide care for large groups of patients in areas like Africa and India. Having new technology can have a positive affect on a global scale.

Interested in chatting with Dr. Bhavnani? Register now for the 2015 Connected Healthcare Conference.

Soniya Shah

Soniya Shah

    Soniya Shah is an on-staff contributing writer at MedTech Boston. She's a senior at Carnegie Mellon University pursuing a BS in technical writing. She has experience as a ghost writer and medical writer, and in developing software documentation.

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