Women’s Health in a Digital World  


At www.healthtechnologyforum.com annual conference in San Francisco, a group of eminent panel members, discussed opportunities and challenges in women’s health.  Not only healthcare in general is undergoing a major transformation, but the panelists highlighted how the world of women’s health might also transform in the coming decade, as technology is increasingly used to address and bridge the gap that currently exists in women’s health and wellness.

Intel Health Guide remote monitoring system

Intel Health Guide remote monitoring system (Photo credit: connectologist)

Christina Resasco, Founder of Mobilize for Cure and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2013 “Woman of the Year” award winner, moderated the panel, and asked insightful questions.  Below are some highlights.

Robin Farmanfarmaian is a serial entrepreneur.  Hear early diagnosis and battling an auto immune disease, later gave her the inspiration and passion for health and wellness.  Farmanfarmaian has been a driving force behindSingularityUniversity’s highly successful FutureMed conferences.  Farmanfarmaian said, the practice of medicine will be completely disrupted in 2-5 years and will involve POC devices that will enable consumer to be a key decision maker; devices that will help in early diagnoses of several diseases taking the doctor out of it.

Fiona Ma http://bit.ly/1pK4k5R, incumbent democratic candidate for State Board of Equalization, a reputed politician, and a former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, California State Assembly.  She has long a standing interest in health and wellness and is a tireless campaigner and spokesperson for “San Francisco Hepatitis B Free” campaign.  Ma herself has battled Hepatitis virus.  According to Ma, technologies that help the efficient and seamless transition to EMR or electronic medical records, will be very important.  She also talked about how the government needs to find creative ways to work with the private sector, and not work in functional silos.  Her advice to women seeking to compete in the men’s world was to be proactive in taking on greater responsibilities and self selecting when required, rather than waiting for others to appoint them.

Panelist Danielle Posa was diagnosed with stage 3 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma http://bit.ly/QIKSHn, at the age of 5 and learned early about the value and limitations of human life.  She campaigns and consults on health and wellness, and helps in fund raising efforts for Leukemia and Lymphoma societies.  Posa has been interviewed by Deepak Chopra on his show “One World” and has also spoken alongside him.  According to Posa, we need to integrate both the science and the art in implementing healthcare in the workplace.  She seeks to connect the public and the private sector leaders and help them broaden their focus from traditional metrics like GDP to more wholistic measures that reflect the quality of life.

Anne DeGheest (http://bit.ly/176Ij4j ) founded Healthtech Capital and MedStars Venture Partners several years ago, with a mission to save lives, through utilization of technology.  She believes, we need to think outside the box to influence positive change in consumer behaviors, in order to disrupt healthcare.  She firmly believes that data for the sake of data does not do anything; instead technology focus will have to be on solving pain points.  She said entrepreneurs often neglect the market and focus on building prototypes or products.  She advised that instead the entrepreneurs focus on understanding the market and the value proposition they are offering, in to solve the pain points.  She said historically healthcare has been sold to men, but in many households, the “chief medical officer” at home, are moms.  One of the disruptions will occur on account of the wider role that pharmacy chains will likely play in healthcare, in future.  Most of the Americans live within 3 mile radius of pharmacy chains and these chains will step in to provide basic care.

Vanessa Mason serves as Senior Manager with eHealth and ZeroDivide.  She manages the project portfolio, contributing to design, development, and adoption of products and services that promote health equity.   With a strong focus on healthcare disparity and how that negatively impacts women,  Mason has sought to bridge the gap through efficient use of technology.  By some estimates, in certain geographical areas in the US, about 4 in 10 women, do not receive healthcare.  Rates of women without health insurance have been higher among African American women.  Some recent projects “text for wellness” and “mobilize”, focused on cardivascular health prevention for African-American women.  This was a great example of efficient use of technology that did not add to the costs, but effectively connected people to keep them informed and focused on meeting their wellness goals.  Often these women are pursuing career opportunities while single handedly taking care of families and have to navigate multiple worlds.  Technology can only help if it is easily accessible and affordable.  She advised entrepreneurs that they focus on enhancing quality of life of the 80% of population towards the bottom of the pyramid, where there are many gaps that also represent huge opportunities.

 

 

 

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