The Kaiser Permanente 20•20 Innovation Champions met at the Cove on February 21, 2017. The group was comprised of Kaiser Permanente Southern California physician and administrative leaders who meet on a monthly basis to explore new ideas, connect, and accelerate change – with the goal of designing, piloting, and scaling innovations throughout the organization. They exist to make healthcare simple, personalized, and proactive – partnering with other organizations and industry leaders to build the future of healthcare.
The Kaiser Permanente 20•20 Champions search for new technologies and ventures that will make a lasting impact on healthcare. The Cove provided an inviting space for the 20•20 Champions to gain inspiration and listen to external industry leaders present on their areas of expertise. The agenda for the day included augmented reality/virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics. Matt Bailey, director of communications and ecosystem development at Applied Innovation, gave the group a tour and shared some inspiring insights on how Applied Innovation partners with UCI, the surrounding community, industry, and local entrepreneurs.
Healthcare Innovation vs. Rocket Science
“I used to study and model the interaction of planets and black holes,” said Drew Clausen, a data scientist with his Ph.D. in astrophysics, “but honestly, space has nothing on healthcare.” “Compared to people, planets and black holes are relatively easy to analyze as they behave predictably.” The KP 20•20 Innovation Champions and the Health Innovation team explored the complex intersection of systems, technology, and human touch in healthcare.
Treat your body like a high-end sports car
“While healthcare doesn’t lack innovative technologies, just getting the necessary patient data is still a pain point for many physicians”, said a KP Family Medicine physician. Primary care doctors are trained to diagnose patient issues but when a patient arrives at the clinic, the amount, and types of information a physician has to navigate is not always relevant to the patient’s current need. Ideally, the relevant information should be available to the physician before the patient arrives at the facility.
The physician showed a slide of his sturdy 2004 mini-van. a.k.a. “the bomb”, next to a picture of a McLaren, a $350,000 sports car frequently observed around Newport Beach, and asked, “what is the obvious difference between these two cars?”
Answer: McLaren owners don’t have to think about their vehicle maintenance, because the McLaren dealership calls you when your vehicle service is due. What if your healthcare system automatically scheduled you for the health care equivalent of an annual tune-up or quarterly oil change? Your healthcare system could proactively notify you about upcoming tests based upon key factors including your demographics, lifestyle, and personalized risk factors. Imagine a patient dashboard that picks up early anomalies before they develop into real problems and shares that information with your physician in real-time.
According to this physician, the auto industry already solved several problems that the healthcare industry is trying to address. Car owners stop into quick and convenient places like Jiffy Lube for minor maintenance, then bring the bigger issues that require specialized attention to the dealership. To maintain your personal health as diligently as your car, there needs to be a standardized, yet personalized care plan that provides a roadmap for clinical staff.
Another KP physician asked, “how do we encourage health literacy and numeracy, so patients get a better sense of risks and benefits of therapies and drugs prescribed?” Participants discussed how to personalize communication with patients in culturally-meaningful ways. To this end, Kaiser Permanente has developed a set of different patient personas to better understand their members’ needs with a goal to design and build a personalized care plan.
AR/VR in Health Care
Peter Fiacco, COO of Monster VR, presented to the group. He described how Monster VR currently delivers compelling, customer-relevant AR/VR content as well as educates and nurtures the AR/VR community through numerous teaching workshops. The group had an opportunity to test out this new technology as they donned headgear and special gloves to climb a virtual 40-foot interactive mountain. A KP radiologist remarked that he must view and simultaneously remember different images of a patient’s tumor to find the key bits of relevant information. What if he had the ability to view and interact with the tumor? AR/VR technology can permit the creation of various interactive experiences within the healthcare industry. Leveraging this technology can develop many helpful tools to assist surgeons in performing more efficient surgeries.
Chicken nugget or labradoodle?
Dr. Anthony Chang from Children’s Hospital Orange County (CHOC) was the last to take the stage. Dr. Chang is an internationally recognized expert in pediatric cardiology with a knack for innovation. As the Chief Intelligence and Innovation Officer at CHOC, Chang explores the multiple ways artificial intelligence (AI) could augment care delivery through decision support and computer-aided imaging recognition. AI has unimaginable potential and it is very likely that it will change the way we practice medicine. AI will allow the medical community to identify similar cases and patterns to make more accurate diagnoses and treatment plans for patients. Currently, computers are being trained to recognize distinctive patterns in medical images so that in the not-too-distant future, a computer will be able to distinguish between a cancerous and non-cancerous mole. But we aren’t there quite yet. While it is easy for a human to differentiate between a picture of a chicken nugget and a picture of a labradoodle, cutting- edge AI algorithms still struggle with this seemingly easy task. Our ability to learn, infer from, and interpret the information our human senses enable even a five year- old to tell the difference between a tasty chicken and a dog. Because machines are programmed to make logical associations they struggle to make these types of connections.