The Future of Health Innovation is Data

March 24, 2022

A recap of the Lake Nona Impact Forum 

Lake Nona, Florida is a unique place. A mixed-use community within the city limits of Orlando, it hosts University of Central Florida’s research center, HCA Healthcare’s “hospital of the future” and street names like Chopra Terrace. Your first indication that it’s not “business as usual” is how close it is to Orlando International Airport, yet how far it is from the amusement park vibe.

Flexential has data centers located all over the state of Florida and a strong connection to the healthcare and technology ecosystem, and was a proud sponsor of the Lake Nona Impact Forum (LNIF) that was held February 23rd to 25th of this year. The tenth year of this event, disrupted by the last two years because of the pandemic, was a “class reunion” in many ways, bringing a community back together in person, but maniacally focused on what positivity the next decades can bring to humanity. 

Innovation is built into Lake Nona. It’s a smart city – home to one of Cisco’s early smart city developments built from the ground up with rich fiber connecting the territory. The community of healthcare providers and research can’t be missed, including one of the largest VA hospitals in Florida. Verizon Labs and Tavistock Development operate a smart cities research and incubation program to enable early-stage health and smart cities innovation. Incubator members live upstairs, have easy access to advanced technology, world-famous advisors, and beers and pizza across the street.

The forum itself highlighted several game-changing technologies – shifting supply chain issues, broader access to data, the human perseverance, improving advanced research in regenerative biomes, and improving patient outcomes were common themes. The recognition of pre-diagnosis technologies (advanced MRI scans, GRAIL ™, use of artificial intelligence) as critical “beta” to help early detection data points were highlighted many times. Mental health is as critical as other proactive health management and has been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the message was “data is the key.” Preventative methods, early detection and ongoing treatments all revolve around easy and comprehensive data access. 

During the pandemic, many of our interactions were digitally augmented, shifting from in-person to online. This included telemedicine, which experienced an accelerated adoption rate, from 1 in 10 prior to the pandemic to 1 in 4 during the pandemic. Much of this adoption was within the first six months. This paves the way to an improved “augmented reality” experience that leads to new innovations, which will be further enriched with data.  

Flexential CEO Chris Downie, along with Deborah DiSanzo, CEO at Best Buy Health, Karen DiSalvo, MD, Chief Health Officer at Google, and Randy Hafner, CEO at Central Florida AdventHealth, discussed how critical data access is fundamental to improving healthcare overall. Currently, ownership of health data is fragmented at best and lacks standards. The drive toward consumerization is going full steam.

We now carry a supercomputer with us every day – our mobile phones – which have multiple sensors. We can buy various IoT devices and services that monitor our temperature, pulse rate, on-demand EKG, fall detection, ongoing exercise data, whether or not we took our meds, how our glucose is responding to what we ate, and much more. These insights help us manage our care and can allow our medical providers to provide better care. We expect that as this type of enrichment becomes more critical, data exchanges and standards will quickly evolve. Consumers want to manage their own data.

Large scale hospital systems are not sitting still. Lake Nona is home to HCA’s “hospital of the future,” leading next-generation research, process improvements and training across its 40,000-patient bed platform throughout the United States. HCA shared how they are using NLP (natural language processing) and AI to help chart patient data in near real time, saving time and improving the focus on the patient. They have worked to reduce post-surgery sepsis by improving analytics and pattern recognition via machine learning. This work is critical to improving lives and making healthcare more efficient – for everyone involved. Imagine nurses being able to spend more time with their families while enhancing accuracy vs. sitting in front of a computer post-shift updating EMRs.

NFTs (non-fungible tokens) as the basis on how consumers control data access though innovation is in the early innings. It may even allow consumers to monetize some of their heath data for research purposes or help companies develop treatments for “long-tail diseases” that don’t have the attention (and dollars) of big-pharma. Imagine lower cost early-stage trials enabled by better data standards and enhanced data sharing. 

Lake Nona’s impact forum showed us how the emerging innovations in healthcare will impact us all, and even how we will fight the next pandemic. Reducing the global impact of supply chain, shipping times, complexity of delivering complex vaccines and PPE are all being reinvented. We can expect the data-driven digital acceleration to continue, and it’s just the beginning.

Complete the form to sign up for our blog.