MedX 2017 recap: Innovation and the path to Universal Health Coverage

Health care systems face ever-growing challenges: widening inequalities, emerging infectious and environmental risks, the rise of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), and ageing populations.

Universal health coverage (UHC) is a goal “to ensure that all people obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them.”

When trying to discuss big issues like this in healthcare, there is no better platform than Stanford’s Medicine X. MedX is a conference that brings together patients, policy makers, technologists, physicians and designers to create a level playing field and discuss the future of healthcare.

This past weekend, our Director of Data Science Bill Simpson was honoured to be part of an expert panel discussing innovation, data and what this means for bringing UHC to the masses.  The multi-disciplinary panel included representatives from Medical Education (Kunal Patel, Medical Director iheed), Clinical Trial Development (Kelly McKee, Eli Lilly) and the ePatient Community (Caitlyn Hutchison)  Here are some of the discussion highlights:

A few more points:
  • There is a lot of potential for new source of data to extend health coverage, but care needs to be taken surrounding privacy, third party use and legal/liability for developers, patients and physicians
  • Lack of participation in clinical research is a barrier for new drug development and understanding patient risks at the primary care level. This limits future treatment options and slows down improvements in the standard of care
  • Innovative ideas are needed to improve information flow (both disease related and diagnostic) between physicians. However there needs to be clarity regarding ownership of the data and what the data implicates
  • There are clear differences in how care is delivered and accessed globally, particularly between social-based healthcare vs. private insurer based systems. Either is perfect and the opportunities for innovative solutions to drive improvements are present in both.
  • Ultimately no technological innovations can be implemented unless the health workforce is strengthened both in number and in training.

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