Fresh off of last night’s session with Singularity University founder Dr. Peter Diamandis, this morning we heard from another Singularity University founder, Dr. Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering at Google and leading technology futurist. As we’ve come to expect from the Ray at past events, his participation in Exponential Medicine this year took place via telepresence from a BeamPro robot. Ray began with a few motivational thoughts and a recommendation on how to make long-term, accurate predictions about the future of technology. The exercise he employs, which he believes anyone can employ, is to look at all the technical attributes that affect one’s business today and identify the gaps. From there, it’s only a matter of plotting out where the technology needs to go with a reasonable consideration of the economic factors and other variables involved. One current prediction he shared before taking some questions was that 3D printing is in its hype phase right now and won’t really take off until the 2020s.
A sample of the questions Ray fielded included whether cybersecurity would keep up with technology advances, if the innovations we’re hearing about today will become accessible to all, and what Ray learned from the small percentage of predictions he’s gotten wrong over the years. Ray believes despite what we hear in the news, cybersecurity is capable of meeting the technical demand. As evidence he made the point that we never hear of companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple having any security breaches, so some companies, especially the ones at the forefront of much of this technology, are more than up to the challenge. In terms of access, he evidenced the fact that smartphones were originally considered a high end device and are now everywhere including developing countries. Ray believes progress inherently expands access. Finally, citing the mere 14% of the 147 predictions he made in the 1990s about 2009 that he got wrong, Ray explained that those he missed were moving in the right direction but were impeded by regulatory hurdles and public opinion. One prediction, that self-driving cars would not only exist but be in use by 2009, for example, was “directionally correct” but progress did not meet his prediction due to both those factors.
Following Ray’s Q&A, Dr. Daniel Kraft, our conference moderator, kicked off Session 19, AR/VR & Visioning the Future of Medical Education. One of the values of the Exponential Medicine experience is the opportunity to find intersections with other attendees’ interests and potentially form a collaboration that can go beyond the four days of the event. Our next speaker, Dr. Rafael Grossman, a general, trauma, and advanced laparoscopic and robotic surgeon, had this exact experience three years ago at Exponential Medicine’s predecessor event FutureMed. There, he connected with representatives from Google Glass and became the first doctor to use Google Glass to stream a live surgery. Rafael told us about his experiences bringing a new technology into the clinical workspace and how it has opened up opportunities for better sharing and education at the point of care. Rafael believes it is the smart use of technology, not just the technology itself, that defines progress and innovation.
Continuing the discussion of using new technology in medical practice, we heard from Dr. Shafi Ahmed, a consultant surgeon and Co-Founder of Virtual Medics and Medical Realities, who has also been working with clinicians using Google Glass to stream live surgeries across the globe. Shafi gave a demo on how someone could use a virtual reality headset streaming the operation to witness the entire procedure from different points of view including the patient. Beyond allowing remote viewing, this kind of technology provides opportunities for clinician as well as patient education before the procedure. For the latter, its a matter of providing understanding and peace of mind regarding what to expect during the procedure.
Next, Dr. David Metcalf, Director of the UCF Mixed Emerging Technology Integration Lab (METIL) and President of Moving Knowledge, spoke about how we at Exponential Medicine, especially those in medical education, can work to incorporate the new technologies and approaches talked about here back in our own institutions. David touched on how METIL is both developing and applying mobile and simulation tools as part of educational programs at UCF and other institutions and partnerships from Lake Nona Medical City. For example, the medical school is now using digital avatars for patient education and taking MRI scans and turning them into photorealistic 3D models. Dr. Kevin Sneed, Senior Associate Vice President of USF Health and Dean of the USF College of Pharmacy, similarly talked about the incorporation of exponential ideas into the practice of medicine at an academic medical center. At his institution, for example, a new type of provider care plan is starting to be adopted based on the tenants of: prescribe a medication, prescribe an app, and prescribe knowledge. The goal is to have these three steps documented in the medical record and provided to the patient once they leave the clinic. Kevin also showed an exciting concept for the pharmacy of the future incorporating new spaces that are not yet standard such as a patient videoconferencing area, a pharmacogenetics module, and a mobile health app store.
Between sessions, Will Weisman shared a short video about SciFi D.I., a Singularity University program that brought people together to imagine what the future of the home would look like. The video was an example of the kinds of opportunities created by Singularity University and set the stage for Amin Toufani, Vice President of Strategic Relationships at Singularity University. Amin encouraged attendees to “engineer serendipitous discovery” from the ideas and introductions made at Exponential Medicine this year because, as we saw with Raphael earlier today, what might begin as a chance conversation has the potential to turn into a something more if the effort is made. Amin ended by encouraging attendees to use Singularity University as a resource to move ideas forward beyond the event through its partnerships and programs.
The half day ended with three short sessions. First up was Session 20, Unusual Intersections with Dr. Gautam Gulati, Founder of The Unusual Group, and Dr. Pritpal Tamber, Founder of Creating Health Collaborative. Gautam believes the kind of technology discussed at this conference have passed the “trigger” phase of the process and are currently in the “incremental” phase wherein a lot of trial and error experimentation occurs to figure out how best to utilize these new tools. What we are building towards is the transformational stage where healthcare is reimagined on the wave of new technologies. Gautam provided a few takeaways to achieve this reimagination: (1) applying intersection thinking, (2) design for simplicity (and automate behaviors), and (3) commit, then figure it out. Pritpal used some patient examples to highlight the need for community-defined and community-led health. Unfortunately, doctors, institutions, and regulations put barriers in place that limit this approach. To increase awareness and engender discussion around this topic, the collective has recently published their recent findings about community-centric healthcare in an e-book, Communities Creating Health.
Next Daniel introduced Session 21, Crowdsourcing in Healthcare and Beyond, featuring talks by Marcus Shingles, a Partner at Deloitte Consulting Innovation, and Jared Heyman, CEO of CrowdMed. Marcus spoke about crowdsourcing in the sharing economy defined by having access to anyone, anywhere in the world, anytime, and at scale. The opportunity to leverage crowdsourced labor is being driven by technology such as the cloud, mobile platforms, and social networks, as well as the fact that 30% of the workforce are millennials who gravitate towards flexible, late work hours. A great example of this crowdsourcing in medicine was the gamification of a tumor sample analysis task that resulted in what would normally take six months of work for a team of scientists to complete to be completed in one month by a bunch of gamers playing a first-person shooter. We’ve already seen some major motion in the sharing economy as a result of successes like AirBnB and Uber, and now we’re beginning to see those ideas transition into healthcare. Jared spoke about his startup and its mission to harness the crowd to solve big challenges in medicine. Recognizing a sentiment expressed earlier this week, CrowdMed understands that doctors don’t have the time to stay up-to-date on all the medical literature that exists, but can combine their collective knowledge to identify the right diagnosis. To date, the company has resolved over 1000 cases with a 60%+ success rate resulting in a 40% reduction in the medical costs of patients using the CrowdMed platform. The platform itself has tools for case discovery, chat and discussion, community moderation, reputation identification, consensus gathering, and incentive creation to engage users.
To close the session, we heard from Laurence Ainouz, Global Head of the Digital Acceleration Lab at Novartis, who spoke about crowdsourcing at United Hatzalah of Israel. The organization started by creating “ambucycles” to address the challenge that conventional ambulances have trying to navigate medical resources to patients in an emergency. Next, to tackle the challenge of needing people available to be quick first responders in an emergency, Laurence’s team developed an “Uber for EMS” using a team of 3000 volunteer medics who realized a 3 minute average response time for 248,000 events including 50,000 life or death scenarios.
The last session of the event, Essential Practices for Healthcare Innovation, was given by Larry Keeley, President and Co-Founder of the Doblin Group and Director of Deloitte Consulting, discussing what is likely to occur given the technologies we have heard about over the last four days. To motivate the discussion, Larry referenced a successful annual campaign by Alibaba called “Singles Day” that took place just days ago on 11/11/15, where the company encouraged singles to celebrate being single by either buying something for themselves or for someone they like. The result was that this last year, Alibaba sold $14.3B in merchandise in one day. This is supposedly over 10x larger than the net revenue generated from all sales on Cyber Monday. Alibaba innovates by bringing together a number of services into one platform and leveraging them with a cultural phenomenon that is now an annual fixture. Speaking to the existing and aspiring business owners, Larry discussed strategies and frameworks for fostering innovation within healthcare companies. The majority of the talk centered around the ten types of innovation bucketed into three categories: configuration innovation, which includes profit models, networks, structures, and processes, offering innovation which includes product performance and product systems, and experience innovation which includes services, channels, brands, and customer engagement. Larry’s belief is that “successful innovators innovate beyond products and integrate 5+ types of innovation” from this list.
Daniel and Will returned to the stage one final time to close Exponential Medicine 2015 by thanking all those working hard behind the scenes to make the event a success.
And there we have it! Another four days of insight, exploration, and new ideas that hopefully will permeate beyond the event to continue the exciting pace of medical innovation attested to by the all the speakers. For those interested in catching some of the talks, they are currently available on the Exponential Medicine Youtube page.
Exponential Medicine 2016 will be taking place here again at the Hotel del Coronado, so keep a look out for an opportunity to apply and attend next year. In addition to Exponential Medicine, Singularity University facilitates three more events as part of their Exponential Conference Series with Exponential Finance, Exponential Manufacturing, and the Singularity Summit.