The HLTH 2023 conference, a vibrant hub of innovation and ideas, has once again brought together people and organizations with an emphasis on coming together as an industry, to create a better future for all. From early diagnosis of cognitive and mental health conditions to navigating the complex interplay of innovation and our responsibility to health equity, the event offered insights that will significantly impact the future of healthcare.
This year’s topics ranged, but they all had an underlying message of the immense potential of artificial intelligence and how it is reshaping the healthcare landscape. Here are some of the top AI trends and takeaways from HLTH 2023, that are poised to revolutionize the future of healthcare.
AI Innovation: Ethical and Social Responsibility
At the heart of the AI revolution in healthcare lies a profound challenge: how to balance the breakneck pace of innovation with ethical and social responsibility. This topic was discussed by Ivor Horn, MD, MPH who is the Director of Health Equity and Product Inclusion at Google. Google’s approach to this issue was highlighted at the conference.
The tech giant’s pursuit of generative AI within the health sector emphasizes the importance of diverse perspectives and partnerships across the healthcare ecosystem. It’s a delicate dance between advancing technology and ensuring the ethical use of AI for the betterment of society. This balance is crucial as AI continues to permeate the healthcare domain.
Unlocking Telehealth to Enhance Primary Care Health and Provide Cost-Effective Solutions
Despite the challenges our primary care health is facing today which include physician shortages, access, and rising healthcare costs, we still saw several opportunities to improve primary care health. Lisa Woods, Vice President of Physical and Emotional Wellbeing for Walmart, a major healthcare player, recognized the misalignment between the demand for primary care and its supply. Additionally, we heard from Owen Tripp, Co-Founder and CEO of Included Health how these two organizations embarked on a mission to enhance primary care access.
Their pilot programs, initially aimed at areas with high emergency department usage and low primary care utilization, expanded to support more people across the country. Telehealth, especially before the COVID-19 pandemic, offered a glimpse into what’s possible. Today, these companies’ pioneering approach sets the stage for more accessible and cost-effective primary care solutions.
Supporting Health Aging and Creating Awareness of Senior Health
We were also joined by CVS Health during a panel and explored how CVS Health is supporting older adults to meet their unique healthcare needs. According to the American Hospital Association, it is estimated that by 2030 the system will be dealing with twice as many hospital readmissions and physician visits for the Baby Boomers.
This is due to older adults and the tendency to have more chronic conditions. The panel left us with a remark by Sreekanth Chaguturu, Chief Medical Officer at CVS Health, “As we work to support healthy aging for older adults, a greater awareness of senior health needs and care delivery preferences by our health care system will be critical”.
The Mental Health Crisis of Our Time and the Use of Technology and AI
The conference aptly termed the nation’s mental health crisis the “Crisis of our Time”. While many of the sessions spoke on this topic. We learned from a a recent research study by Evernorth that was presented by Dr. Doug Nemecek, CMO for Behavioral Health alongside Brad Kittredge, Founder and CEO of Brightside Health that individuals often delay seeking care for depression for up to 10 years after its onset. When you look at the shocking statistics that reveal that more than 1 in 5 U.S. adults grapple with mental illness, with over 60% of adolescents with serious depression left without treatment, these stats really hone in on the need for early screening and detection.
Thankfully, technology and AI are ushering in innovative solutions that are transforming mental healthcare. These developments focus on the early identification of at-risk individuals, personalized treatment options, and the collaborative efforts of payers, providers, and employers in promoting effective mental health solutions. Stigma, provider shortages, and access issues are being addressed through AI-driven digital platforms, offering convenience, privacy, and expanded access. This shift promises better care accessibility, with early intervention and enhanced patient engagement, ultimately leading to improved outcomes.
Healthcare Policy, Advocacy, and the Need for Grassroots Effort and Systematic Change
HLTH 2023 also created a unique opportunity to learn more about current policies and the important role patient advocacy groups have in the healthcare system. Their attempt to serve the underrepresented communities and populations that can be difficult to reach is key to connecting these communities. During the Healthcare, Policy, and Advocacy panel the importance of grassroots movements and systematic change was stressed.
These are issues that are not just local to our own communities but can be seen on a global scale. Eric Cioè Peña of Northwell Health explained how global health is really about advocacy at its heart. Northwell Health works with stakeholders across the globe in support of the great work they already do.
The Healthcare Industry’s Commitment to AI and Innovation to Improve the Healthcare System
In conclusion, HLTH 2023 has reaffirmed the healthcare industry’s commitment to harnessing AI’s transformative power. It’s a world where early diagnosis of cognitive and mental health conditions is made possible through innovative AI solutions. We had the opportunity to hear how companies like Cedar-Sinai use their own innovative AI solutions to augment patient care, Northwell uses AIdoc’s to connect the health system to enhance patient outcomes, and American TelePhysicians uses LANGaware to digitally assess their patient’s mental and cognitive health using voice and speech.
As the industry grapples with the challenges of policy, access, and equity, AI is poised to be a driving force for change. The healthcare world is transitioning to a future where AI, digital health, and early diagnosis are central to creating a brighter, healthier, and more equitable world for all. We cannot wait for people to raise their hands for health, now is the time to proactively care for our patient population.