Summit Speakers Talk Artificial Intelligence, Amazon Key, and Aging Gracefully


Industry movers and shakers shared their perspectives on healthcare’s disruption, interruption, and innovation at this year’s Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit.

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Helen Leis, a Partner at Oliver Wyman’s Health & Life Sciences Practice, opened up the morning’s Main Stage Sessions by headlining an engaging discussion titled Industry Interrupted: Why Healthcare is Ripe for Disruption. Helen dove headfirst into topics including Amazon Key, healthcare consumerism, and artificial intelligence.

“There have been fundamental shifts in social norms and behaviors we couldn’t have imagined ten years ago,” said Helen. “Incumbents will have to learn how to shift mental paradigms and play by new rules.”

“The changes we see coming to healthcare will inevitably happen. These are fundamental forces. You are fighting gravity here,” she added. “Healthcare is one-size-fits-all, and frankly it’s a poor fit for most people,” she stated.

“As you put more expertise in the system using artificial intelligence the value of any particular expert goes down, but the volume the overall system can handle goes up. That’s something you can use to your advantage,” she stressed.

But the successful implementation of artificial intelligence, she said, goes well beyond the prediction that one day humans will soon be outsourced by robots.

“The clinician will no longer be the central part of care. [The clinician] will stand alongside artificial intelligence machines,” explained Helen, pointing to drug discovery as one specific sector soon to be revolutionized thanks to new developments in artificial intelligence.

“Healthcare is a data business,” she emphasized. “Consumers will prefer artificial intelligence products that leverage data that’s specific to them to guide their personal experiences.”

Helen then detailed a few key predictions about the industry moving forward. “Healthcare experiences are going to shift away from sick care and focus more on preventing diseases,” she said. “Pharma companies are going to see targeted therapies become much more differentiated,” she added.

“Am I closer to the consumer than Amazon is? If I’m not, how can I become so?” Helen asked the audience. “If you’re going to fight gravity, you’re going to have to figure out how to build an airplane,” she concluded.

Next to take the stage was Nigel Morris, Managing Partner of QED Investors and Co-Founder of Capital One. Nigel’s talk – (Consumer Finance) Industry Interrupted: What Can We Learn? – explored topics of disruption, consumerism, and innovation.

Nigel began by comparing and contrasting the basic differences between the financial services industry and the healthcare industry.

“It’s full of alphabet soup,” he said bluntly, referencing how both industries tend to rely on jargon-heavy industry acronyms as a means of communication that sometimes gets lost in translation. “Think of explaining a product in a way that’s not full of alphabet soup,” he advised.

Although consumers are demanding much more across both the financial services and healthcare industries, he explained, both industries are able to access new streams of powerful data.

“If you don’t have 10 months and $10 million, you can’t change anything,” he explained. “If you’re not tapping into data and developing a hypothesis around it, you will be at a disadvantage.”

“You have to figure out – do we partner, do we buy, or do we build?” Nigel asked the audience. “One of the things striking me about your industry is that nobody’s testing stuff. Unless you try things out, how do you know they are going to work?” he asked. “If you’re going to try and compete with the disrupters in healthcare, you have to have the talent. You have to make recruiting sexy,” Nigel stressed.

“As I was transitioning, I recognized that a seismic shift was occurring across the consumer landscape,” he explained. “I found that the financial services industry was particularly conducive to disruption.”

Regarding the banking climate, Nigel said consumers — especially Millennial consumers — tend to have a lack of trust in banks.

“Customers are promiscuous,” he said. “Costs are rising. The consumer wants more. You are suffering with old processes, and the business model is shifting,” he explained.

“The innovation is not going to come from inside – it’s going to come from outside,” he predicted. “We need banking, but we don’t need banks. We all need healthcare, but we don’t need it in the way it’s been being delivered,” he added.

The morning’s third Main Stage speaker was Jo Ann Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer of AARP. In a talk titled Aging Disrupted: Creating a New Reality Through Innovation, Jo Ann emphasized to attendees that age is just a number.

“We’re at a unique time in our history when the aging of our population is coinciding with innovation,” she said. “We have to change how we want to live as we age.”

“Ten thousand people a day are turning 65,” Jo Ann stressed. “And 80 percent of Baby Boomers plan to work full-time or part-time past the traditional retirement age of 65.”

“For every dollar spent in the US, 51 cents of every dollar is spent by a Baby Boomer. Yet, perceptions of aging have not changed,” she explained. “Ninety percent of people over 65 tell us they want to age in their own home.”

“Since 2010, the use of social media by people over the age of 50 has more than tripled,” she stressed. “We need to create a new vision of health that emphasizes well-being.”

“We control most of our health outcomes by the way we live our lives each and every day,” Jo Ann said. “We have a personal responsibility to start taking care of ourselves at a younger age, and the public sector has a responsibility to coincide and create those opportunities for generations of people to live where they want to live and retire in their own homes.”

“We’re looking to all of you to create new products and services that allow us to live our lives to the fullest each and every day,” she said to Summit attendees. “We need to move from physical and mental diminishment to physical and mental health.”

“When we disrupt aging in healthcare, we begin to embrace aging as something to look forward to, not something to fear,” she concluded.

A few hours later, a second Main Stage Session kicked off, featuring Thomas Goetz, Co-Founder of Iodine and Former Executive Editor of WIRED, Lisa Suennen, Senior Managing Director at GE Ventures, and Krishna Yeshwant, MD, Partner at GV (formerly Google Ventures). The three experts spoke primarily about the new future of artificial intelligence.

“The vanishing horizon of artificial intelligence is further along than it seems, but we’re also accomplishing more than we think,” stated Thomas.

“We each approach healthcare from the silos we have backgrounds in. Not many people approach healthcare from multiple backgrounds,” Krishna added. “A lot of companies are trying to be the Instagram or Uber of healthcare. We’re still in an era where we’re trying to get the infrastructure down,” he said.

Continued Krishna, the key component of any disease management program comes down to getting in touch with real, live people.

“If we were to go back to, say, 1982, it’s not like there wasn’t some version of online interaction that didn’t exist. It’s just that people didn’t have Snapchat,” he chuckled. “I still believe there is a powerful moral obligation to create user-center design, but consumers will not be the mechanism for the economic changes we expect. Data is still this huge opportunity for healthcare, but actually exploiting it takes a lot of brain power,” he said.

Added Thomas, “Healthcare is highly resistant to disruption. The transformation has to come from within,” he said.

“Providers are ahead of payers, but payers have far more potential for impact,” Krishna added. “This combination of infrastructure and humanity is at the core of the conundrum we’ve run into. We’ve built organizations in healthcare that are really good at one silo,” Krishna emphasized.

Chris Nicholson, Founder and CEO of Skymind, and Sarah Krevans, Sutter Health’s President and CEO, next took the Main Stage next to talk further about where artificial intelligence is potentially headed next.

“The way healthcare makes decisions is changing,” Chris began. “We’re moving from business intelligence to artificial intelligence.”

“How do you teach an algorithm to do something better than you? You create an algorithm that learns,” Chris stated. “To build artificial intelligence you need four things: team, data, tools, and infrastructure,” he said.

“Why is big data necessary? Deep learning needs tons of data to predict things accurately,” he explained. “The patient is data,” he stressed.

Artificial intelligence, he added, needs more granular data, more clear outcomes associating diagnoses with certain conditions, and a baseline – like wearables or Fitbit trackers that gather data from healthy people, and then compare this data to what these patients look like when they are ill.

“Align your data with your outcomes and artificial intelligence can do something for you,” he concluded.

Said Sarah Krevans regarding her experience thus far at the Summit, “I’m struck by how many of you want to help be the solution to challenges patients and families have with care management.”

Sarah discussed how geographic location has impacted her ability to create meaningful industry-wide change: “Within healthcare, we’ve gotten segmentation wrong,” she stressed. “One of the challenges of healthcare is geography – where people trained and where people practiced.” Added Sarah, “Our unfair advantage is our location, where we are surrounded by people looking to change the world.”

“It’s not that healthcare is the most important thing in people’s lives, but the thing we really need to be good at is the care we provide,” she stated. “There’s not enough discussion about whether or not the 18-year-old wants a different care model than the 80-year-old,” she said.

“We have a huge disparity on how we look at paying for healthcare for the poor,” Sarah stated. “You want to treat everybody the same way, but how you treat people will lead to different outcomes and different costs based on where we trained and where we practiced. There’s variation in the clinician and variation in the patient. How do we help the clinician understand what treatment will work for best each patient?” she asked.

“I will not pretend we are mature in our journey. We are learning, developing, and changing,” she stressed. “We are not trying to develop every muscle in the entire care continuum. Others will be better than us in a highly regulated, highly unionized environment,” she said.

“Healthcare systems have the trust of most of their patients. That trust, if used in wise ways, can do a lot of good for patients,” she concluded.

The next Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit will be November 5-7, 2018 in Dallas, Texas.

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