Innovators vs. The Establishment Extends to Digital Health

Neil Versel | MedCity News | May 18, 2016

Image credit - Bill Dubreuil, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0Just like in the presidential campaign, a new guard is rising up against the establishment in digital health — and healthcare in general. Entrenched interests, of course, are fighting back any way they can to retain their grip on the industry. At the American Telemedicine Association annual conference in Minneapolis this week, lots of telehealth and digital health companies, as always, were showing off their wares in the exhibit hall. Presenters in the 100 or so breakout sessions discussed practical applications of their technology.

I moderated a couple of those sessions, both panel discussions on the Industry Leadership Forum track. One, a panel Tuesday afternoon exploring different telehealth modalities for different types of practice, focused quite a bit on the patient-friendly nature of some kinds of digital health. During that session, Dr. Henry DePhillips, chief medical officer of consumer-facing (but with a B2B business model) telemedicine company Teladoc, talked about the importance of patient-centeredness. “We are all about consumer choice,” DePhillips said. “The patient has to be at the center of care.”

Contrast that to what was said during the opening plenary session on Sunday in front of at least 1,000 people in the largest auditorium in the Minneapolis Convention Center. American Medical Association board member Dr. Jack Resneck Jr. “We need to make sure that physicians are at the forefront of innovation,” said Resneck, a San Francisco dermatologist. Yes, as Resneck did say, the AMA created the Matter health tech incubator in Chicago to support technologies that enhance clinical practice, something that is sorely needed. The AMA also is behind Health2047, an innovation center in San Francisco...