Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Free Tech Geek Resources to Prep for ePharma Summit 2016

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This is the fifth in a series of blogs for ePharma Summit 2016 to explore ways the pharmaceutical industry can maximize the promise of digital health.

Everywhere you look this year, all the talk is about “digital” health. That’s no surprise because today almost everything in life is digital. We’re all about connectivity as a human culture and nowhere will this development have more positive impact than in the way we practice personal and professional healthcare.

Wearables, IoT, genetic personalization, data management and analytics…they all tie into the massive potential of collecting health information from a wide variety of sources and parsing it in a way that promotes lower cost, higher quality healthcare. From a 30,000 foot view, it sounds so simple and logical. Don’t be fooled. We have to build a lot of rocket platforms before we’re going to launch this baby.

On the ground, staid, old healthcare businesses and crazy, innovative individuals are working hard together to find the best ways to leverage the digital advantage in healthcare. That’s why I am looking forward to spending three days in Manhattan from Feb. 29 to March 2 at the ePharma Summit 2016 . The schedule is packed with education and discussions with key decision makers. I’ll be blogging out of the sessions and talking to people during the event.

For nearly 20 years, I’ve been studying the impact of technology on healthcare and now the whole field is breaking wide open. In preparation for the event, I am reading the thought leaders in this space.

Get Up To Speed Quickly

If you really want to hang out on the precarious leading edge of healthcare technology, spend a few minutes reading Peter Diamandis’ email each week. Diamandis, who got a master’s in rocket science at MIT and an MD from Harvard, went on to challenge himself. He has a lot of credits to his name including two inspirational and groundbreaking books, Abundance and Bold. He is Chairman and Co-Founder with Ray Kurzweil (The Singularity is Near) of Singularity University, and Co-Founder with J. Craig Venter (The Human Genome Project) and Vice Chairman of Human Longevity Inc. HLI was founded with the goal of making 100 years old “the new 60”. His weekly newsletter is a compilation of some of the leading-est of leading edge tech projects. You can go here to subscribe to his email, hear his podcasts, and learn more.

For those who want to stick a little closer to terra firma but still live on the edge of what is possible in healthcare, check out Fard Johnmar of Enspektos. Johnmar is a digital health futurist and author of ePatient2015: 15 Surprising Trends Changing Healthcare. He puts out some free educational materials and a daily newsletter that I can recommend. He has a resource, The Digital Health Innovator’s Mini-Handbook that is well worth a few minutes of your time.

For a bit of perspective on all this excitement, PharmaVOICE featured a thought leader retrospective this month on where healthcare has been since the magazine’s inception. The article states

When PharmaVOICE launched 15 years ago, Facebook was but a twinkle in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye and the rest of the social media channels that are dominating our conversations today as they relate to online access to patients, physicians, consumers, and other stakeholders were also still on the drawing boards in living rooms around the country. These media, which started as consumer-based vehicles have morphed into powerful mechanisms for life-sciences companies for not only delivering communications, but understanding customers’ perspectives on any number of topics. And while final guidelines for online or social media practices have yet to be officially sanctioned, not surprisingly pharma companies — for the most part — still look for solid footing from a regulatory standpoint. Despite continuing hesitation and the full embrace of these vehicles, online is not only here to stay but growing more powerful every day.

Digital is taking the industry by storm as well. Most people have in their possession more computing power than NASA had to launch the first space capsule in the 1960s, and it fits in our hands. Our cell phones, and who really uses them for talking anyway, have the capabilities that were science fiction-oriented 15 years ago.

As part of the technology revolution, only superseded in the estimation of some experts by the industrial revolution of more than 250 years ago, in terms of a far-reaching impact has been the emergence of the concept of big data and all its associated analytics, segmentation, cloud-based service bells and whistles.

Faster and Friendlier

It’s a wrap. The future of healthcare is firmly in the hands of the promise of technology to bring us quickly to solve the cost, quality, access triangle. It’s happening faster than most could have predicted, in a way that is more patient-friendly, and at a cost that most consumers are willing and able to pay.

If you have a smartphone, you’re a connected patient. Now, it’s time to look at health payers, providers and innovators to get all the rest of the pieces in place.

What piece of the healthcare tech solution fascinates you the most? The bioscience, the patient as connected consumer, the provider as cure-er and curator? What is the role of the payer? What is the proper role of government – Regulator? Arbiter? Facilitator?

Peggy Salvatore MBA is a healthcare writer and trainer specializing in pharmaceutical managed markets sales training and health IT. She also has authored books and training programs on leadership and working with subject matter experts. You can read her blogs at and
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