Tech Will Revolutionize Medicine if Regulation Allows

The CES panel titled ‘Tech Revolutionizing Medicine – If We Let It’ agreed access to healthcare needs to be made a priority.
Jessica Miley

Advances in technology are seen clearly in the medical industry. From from robotic surgery to IoT connected medication; changes are happening quickly. But heavy bureaucracy and regulation have also been known to hamper new advances with possible detrimental effects. 

The panel ‘Tech Revolutionizing Medicine – If We Let It’ at CES 2019 attempted to unpack some of these ideas asking its panel how best to bring new technology to market in the medical industry. The panel was hosted by Rene Quashie the VP of Policy and Regulatory Affairs from the Consumer Technology Association. 

He was joined on stage by Bettina Experton the Founder and CEO of Humetrix and Colin Anawaty the Executive Director of Athenahealth. Marc Goldsand a Member of Cozen O'Connor and Ross Friedberg the General Counsel from Doctor on Demand completed the group. 

Rene Quashie kicked off proceedings discussing just how committed CTA are to healthcare and how much they have observed it grow in the last few years. He shared three key points about healthcare in the U.S which informed the following discussion. 

Aging population puts the pressure on

First up, according to Quashie the U.S healthcare system is in a physician deficit crisis. There is a massive and growing gap in the number of healthcare providers compared to the number of patients. The U.S is reportedly going to short 120 000 physicians across all specializations in 2030. Secondly, the U.S is facing an aging population crisis. 

There is an increasing number of older people in the healthcare system, and citizens aged over 65 are three times more likely to require hospitalization in a year than the general population. Colin Anawaty backed up this sentiment with the staggering statistic that ⅔ of all Americans who have ever been 65 or older are alive today. 

In addition to this majority of that over 65 population has at least one chronic illness. The last point raised was that Americans are generally unhealthy. The U.S has the highest infant mortality rate in the developed world. Quashie suggested that it is structurally difficult for American citizens to lead healthy lives and that alone has massive implications on the health care system. 

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Data and privacy issues need to be addressed

The point of return for all panelists was the issue of data and privacy. While each panel member had a different slant on what the solution is from both state and federal levels each agreed that the regulations regarding privacy is generally outdated and needs an overhaul to keep up with changes in technology. 

The panel also called for a reduction of bureaucracy and enforcement of regulation at the state level. Ross Friedberg gave testimony that the potential for bad actors in the industry doing the wrong thing by exploiting loopholes has the potential to crash emerging sectors like his own virtual diagnostics. 

Each panelist brought their own exciting and innovative practices to the table and while there are no quick answers here. Each could agree that the future of good health starts with making it easier for everyone, no matter their financial status the opportunity to access high-quality healthcare when they need it.

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