Patent Dave, Robodoc and the Umbrella

Last week I took part in a panel discussion with the title “Hey Siri – I’m not feeling well today” at EU DIA 2019 in Vienna. The session was chaired by Jill Voss and my fellow-panelists were Gavin Lyndon, Suzanne Meenan and Ian Hamilton.

We covered topics ranging from cost, automation and AI in healthcare to chatbots, multichannel engagement and the ideal skill-set for the employee of the future.

We also talked about patient Dave, Robodoc and patient Dave’s umbrella. Well, Ian did. 

For more insights into our session from last weeks EU DIA 2019 Vienna please read on below.

In my last newsletter I promised you the answers to some of the following questions:

Can AI rescue healthcare? What about AI and Medical Information? What does the future of information provision look like? And it is already here? We explored the topics at EU DIA. Ian Hamilton got us started with the story of patient Dave:

It is 2030. Patient Dave is a 57-year-old diabetic.

His diabetes is under control (microchip implant & phone readout). But, Dave has had a stomach-ache for days, he feels bloated and he has vomited. He’s taking aspirin to help with the symptoms and assumes he feels bad due to stress and poor diet. However, he is also worried about stomach cancer, as his father died at a similar age with similar symptoms. Dave asks his TV to connect him to Robodoc. Using AI and accessing Dave’s medical records, genomic data, RWE, cross-pharma repository of product information, Robodoc suggests that gastritis or an ulcer are more likely than cancer and offers to share relevant interactive materials, via the TV. Robodoc also checks the doctor’s schedule, as well as Dave’s, and suggests a time-slot for an appointment. The entire consultation is done at home, online, without the intervention of an HCP. Beyond effective healthcare, this intervention also enables Dave to get back to work immediately. 

“Oh and Dave?” says Robodoc “you’ll be seeing the doctor on Wednesday and there is a high probability of rain, so do make sure to bring your umbrella” 

Ian Hamilton’s creation was a great start to our session. To my surprise, the majority of our audience was comfortable with the scenario of patient Dave and Robodoc. The two exceptions I know of, a QPPV and a regulator, shared their misgivings in private after the panel discussion. 

The truth of the matter is that, misgivings or not, introducing more automation and AI to healthcare is unavoidable. We are resource-stretched. Cost is an issue, access is an issue and while we already lack sufficient HCPs, this is projected to get much worse:

A 2017 publication by Liu and Sheffler projects that by 2030, the global shortage of HCPs will be 15 million. 

In addition, HCPs spend a lot of time documenting activities. 

80% of a primary care physician’s interaction with a patient during a first consultation is information gathering. 

Taking all that into account, it becomes clear, that unless we approach healthcare access, provision, triage, etc. with less impact on human resources, we will run into challenges.

Solutions include using AI to triage patients, as in Ian’s example. But we can also outsource some of the information gathering activities to patients. Patients could enter their case history into the doctor’s IT system the night before a consultation. The GP could then prepare for the consultation, adapt the content provided by the patient, and save time documenting. 

Some companies are already using AI to provide healthcare to patients. For example, in the UK, and in Switzerland patients enter data into a secure system and AI provides initial diagnosis and triage, Patients, who chose this option, over going straight to their GP pay lower insurance premiums.

If you have any thoughts or are curious to hear what else we discussed drop me a line. In the meantime some questions for you to consider:

1) Would you feel comfortable using Robodoc?
2) Would you be concerned about data privacy?

Do you have any burning questions regarding your Medical Information services, set-up, systems, automation, harmonization? If so, please reach out and we can set-up a time to chat about how I might be able to help.