Digital health is driven by collaboration and fueled by patient need, talent and capital. To fulfill its most significant potential, it calls upon the diverse sectors of the fragmented health ecosystem to help it navigate the peaks and valleys of private equity, science and payer skepticism. It must demonstrate value and brand traction if it survives the birthing-to-market process.
Along that difficult road is support – a place of respite from the complex environment innovators face – the community of HITLAB, the Health Innovation Technology Lab. HITLAB is a leading academic research institution focused on improving global healthcare through innovation and technology and housed within Columbia University in New York City and Chaired by Stan Kachnowski, Ph.D. MPA, HITLAB has become a haven for health, technology, and design champions to find common ground.
“The HITLAB Innovation Summit is a dynamic platform where healthcare leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators come together to forge groundbreaking solutions,” reflects Dr. Kachnowski. “It fosters collaboration, sparks creativity, and drives healthcare transformation through the power of technology and innovation.”
HITLAB academic roots at Columbia set a tone for research and training. New York City has emerged as a hub for digital health innovation. It is home to more and more startups drawing on the resources of the nation’s financial capital, a close connection to academic medical centers and talent. The Big Apple – like Bean Town Boston – is a strategic epicenter to explore how emerging technologies such as augmented intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) find a meeting point with telehealth and remote patient monitoring through rigorous research, analysis, and design thinking.
Centered Around Cutting-Edge Solutions
At its annual HITLAB Innovators Summit 2023, conversations center around cutting-edge solutions for the digital health community to overcome social determinants of health and unite disparate hospitals’ information systems. The gathering is a digital health sector roadmap to advance health access, address challenges, and improve patient outcomes.
Attendees of this intimate Summit that combines keynotes, panel conversations and scheduling networking are fans!
“The HITLAB Innovation Summit is a game-changer for the healthcare industry. The convergence of technology, innovation, and expertise creates an electric environment that fuels groundbreaking ideas and fosters meaningful collaborations,” says John Anderson, chief technology officer HealthTech Innovations.
While other like-forums have evolved into co-counseling sessions on how to survive EHRs and the heavy life to onboard the 500-pound EPIC gorilla, attendees at HITLAB also learn about “EPIC envy” – where small and community health centers that don’t have the resources to afford this state-of-the-art software find alternative paths tapping into technologies to piece together other ways to track patient care and outcomes.
Also, in hearing from major biopharmaceutical companies such as Merck, Novo Nordisk, and others, digital health innovators can reflect on the importance of ample science to shift the conversation from hype to hope and fact-based cautious optimism. In turn, big pharma share openly on the main stage how science alone – absent of technology – can fall short in meeting patient information, adherence and care needs.
As in previous years, the HITLAB Innovation Summit 2023 brings together experts across the health innovation ecosystem, including clinical trials, pharma, private equity, public health, engineering, design, and data science. The diverse community is seeking solutions that integrate health tech – digital therapeutics, health information, and smart devices meaningfully. The gathering’s success lies in bridging the gap between patients, payers, product innovators, policymakers and providers. It enables these communities to connect and accelerate practical solutions that can be implemented in real-world settings.
Presenters are Category Leaders
Presenters are bold and blunt. From Bill Taranto, President, Merck Global Health Initiative Fund, to Dr. David Berger, CEO, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, to David Klein, CEO and Co-founder, Click Therapeutics, to Tim McCarthy, Head of Digital Sciences & Translational Imaging, Pfizer and representatives from public health, venture capital finance, legal and regulatory; the three-day gathering offers a bolus of category knowledge.
“The time is now for this space – a revolution in medicine is about to happen that will shift care to center around patients,” emphasizes Click Founder and CEO David Klein.
Klein was among the key voices discussing integrating therapeutic choices and that physicians would look more holistically in treating patients with drugs, digital therapeutics and behavioral guidance – focusing on people care satisfaction. Digital therapeutics must model its efforts akin to biotechnology driven by evidence-based clinical outcomes looking beyond the 510K regulatory milestone for approval.
The insights shared will guide business planning decisions among newcomers and veterans to the category. Among the noted attendees at this year’s HITLAB Innovation Summit is Amir Kishon, Ph.D., CEO of Twig Health. Kishon was among the early pioneers in the sector.
“Healthcare as a regulated industry is somewhat apprehensive about innovation. It is in its DNA. Digital health is challenging this predisposition and the question I ask myself is when this industry will tip to appreciate that innovation is a friend. We are getting there,” notes Kishon.
The program conducts studies and clinical trials that set out the scientific methodology to assess digital health interventions’ efficacy, usability, and safety. It’s now acknowledged that Food and Drug Administration 510K approval to market for digital applications and therapies is a necessary regulatory threshold; the barrier to success is convincing science as a solid foundation for access that requires payer and provider support and a clear pathway to reimbursement.
Bottomline – it’s about reimbursement and ease of use. In the session What’s Needed for Sustainable Adoption of Digital Health American Medical Association Vice President for Digital Health Strategy, Meg Baron, offered very clear insight into how digital health enterprises can better integrate into the physician’s workflow – the “return on health” to show value.
Beyond the Summit, HITLAB promotes entrepreneurship and innovation in the digital health space. HITLAB is multi-faceted – professional development, accelerator and crowd-sources community for startups and early-stage companies, helping them navigate the complex healthcare landscape, access funding opportunities, and refine their product or service offerings.
In incubating promising ideas, HITLAB fuels the growth of the digital health ecosystem, fostering the development of transformative solutions that address unmet needs and drive positive change. Put the fall meeting on your calendars!