Evidation Health CEO: For better clinical outcomes, look to patients' data, devices

By Dave Muoio
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Deborah Kilpatrick has spent some time on the cutting edge of the healthcare industry — her decade-spanning career has included a director position at Guidant Corporation’s vascular intervention accelerator (now part of Boston Scientific) and the chief commercial officer role at genomic diagnostic company CardioDx.

Now serving as the CEO of Evidation Health, a company investigating how everyday behavior and health interact, she believes that the healthcare industry is on the verge of a major technology-driven shift in how care is designed and evaluated.

“There’s sort of three [instances] in my career where a new set of information completely transformed the way healthcare works,” Kilpatrick told MobiHealthNews. “The first time this happened in my career was with non-invasive imaging … that really allowed manufacturers of products to not only research the diseases, but it allowed new endpoints for clinical research. The second time that happened was in the genomic era, where suddenly, again, we’re no longer just limited to what the physician can see.

“I think that we’re sitting at the edge of the third wave of these trends, which is the ubiquity of mobile and digital. … I really believe it is going to transform the way drugs are developed, devices are developed, and their efficacy is measured.”

Consumer and clinical devices are generating a wealth of data that can be used to better assess patients’ behavior, their care, or specific interventions. With such data in hand, Kilpatrick said, payers, pharma companies, healthcare systems, and vendors of digital health products could fine-tune their interventions for the maximum impact.

“It’s important to think about what you can do as a drug company or device company if you can understand what patient behaviors are driving outcomes and effectiveness of these wonderful products that you’re developing,” she said. “I think if you understood that better, you’d have an incredible lens to look through to not only make that therapy sexy, … but it probably opens up whole new ways to build a new therapy, period. I think this gets to a lot of the ideas around digital therapeutics, and what you can do through a purely digital, cloud-based [service] without ever having to walk into a doctor’s office.”

If large-scale data generation is smartphones' strongest impact on healthcare, the industry’s resulting focus on its consumers is a close second. Kilpatrick highlighted the trend as an important consideration for providers, payers, and developers reevaluating their services, but had her own twist on what the concept should represent to stakeholders.

“Creating more of a seamless experience in healthcare, just as we have a seamless experience in e-commerce or in the consumer part of our lives — a lot of people think of that as the consumerization of healthcare,” she said. “We [at Evidation] look at that phrase in a very different way. Instead of saying ‘What will patients pay for?’ we sort of invert it and say ‘What should patients be paid for?’ We believe they have one of the most important assets in medicine, which is day-to-day control of data, and they should be allowed to have the chance … to be paid for that. We’re at that intersection as well.”

While she noted the challenges of interoperability and EHR data uniformity are rightly at the forefront of the industry’s data-related concerns, Kilpatrick stressed the importance of efforts to define consumers’ relationship to their own information. Specifically, she advocated for greater trust in patients’ ability to track and manage their individual EHR, arguing that a more defined system of data ownership would benefit the patient, the provider, and insurers alike.

“That’s something that ought to be the default in healthcare moving forward — and I’m not suggesting that it’s not becoming the default, but I do think there are instances where we as a system haven’t always considered that patients are the ones that own this data, not this system, and the patients need to be able to say what is done with it,” she said. “I think when we as an ecosystem begin to look at data in this way, it can be pretty transformative not just to clinical research … but more broadly to the role patients will be empowered to play in their own health.”

Kilpatrick will be speaking next month at Health 2.0 in Santa Clara, California. Her session, 4 CEOs, begins at 2:25 p.m. Sept. 18.

Health 2.0

The Santa Clara conference will showcase cutting-edge innovation transforming healthcare Sept. 16-18.