Kraft: Healthcare data-flow of the future will be fluid, proactive, and personalized

By Jonah Comstock

The individual parts of the healthcare system of the future are here, but it will take forward-thinking innovators to bring those pieces together into a new paradigm.

Dr. Daniel Kraft, a Stanford-educated MD who now serves as chair of medicine for Singularity University, a learning community founded by Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis, sees himself as one of those leaders.

Kraft will be sharing his observations, predictions, and advice at Health 2.0’s Annual Fall Conference in two weeks in Santa Clara, California.

[Health 2.0’s Annual Fall Conference will be held October 1st through 4th at The Santa Clara Convention Center. It’s not too late to sign up for Health 2.0’s flagship event focusing on the cutting edge of healthcare innovation!]

“The bottom line is that for the last nine years I’ve had an interesting journey doing medicine for Singularity University and started this program called Exponential Medicine, which in its essence is that the future of health and medicine isn’t digital, mobile, connected health, or AI,” Kraft told MobiHealthNews. “It’s the overlap of all these fields coming from different places, some moving faster than others. And its in that convergence that we have the opportunity to reshape, reinvent, and catalyze some significant improvements across healthcare.”

One major change that Kraft sees as important is transforming the way we see, think about, and collect health data.

“Our data right now is still very intermittent and reactive,” he explained, “meaning the data that we get is still very fragmented, whether its informatics, or a blood pressure cuff, or an EKG. The data doesn’t flow very well, it doesn’t communicate back to the machine very well, if at all. And it’s reactive — we wait for the heart attack, the stroke, or the cancer to present early stage. "I think where things are ... starting to integrate into a solution is [becoming] more continuous with the data flow, making that more actionable, and making it more proactive.”

As new players enter the healthcare space from the consumer world — many of whom have already arrived — Kraft sees the potential for a shift in the way we think about care, applying ideas about personalized medicine not just to cancer treatments, but to all parts of the care continuum.

“There’s a lot of consumer players — Googles, the Apples, the Samsungs, the Facebooks —moving into healthcare. Or Amazon,” Kraft said. “What we’ll hopefully see [from them] is that healthcare or sick care isn’t something that we wait to go to see the doctor for. The challenge and the opportunity is still to personalize that to the individual, to give them … a healthcare coach or chatbot that really matches the individual’s personality type, their language, their tech familiarity. There’s a real opportunity there, in addition to personalized medicine. We want personalized digital health tools as well, and I think most today are still quite one size fits all.”

One trait of innovation, Kraft says, is that it’s hard to be ready for it because it speeds up exponentially, hence the name of his program.

“People still seem to think in today’s era,” Kraft said. “And maybe I overuse the term, or the term ‘exponential’ is overused, but we’re moving from 4G to 5G, which won’t be twice as fast or 10 times as fast — it’s 100 times as fast. The power of machine learning or AI is now advancing in surprisingly rapid ways, even though it's been around for many years. Applied genomics, whether its whole genomes, microbiomes, it’s increasingly cheap and available. And often entrepreneurs, oncology folks, hospital administrators are not looking 20 years [down the road], they’re looking at 10 years from now and trying to do a little future-proofing, and realizing there’s going to be a lot more power in our technologies than we might imagine with our linear mindsets.”

That’s why there’s real value to events like Health 2.0, Kraft said.

“The future’s coming faster than we might think,” he said. “And it’s in particular the Health 2.0 community that can help bring that forward in a faster, more holistic, and less siloed way.”

[Don’t miss out! Click here to register for Health 2.0’s Annual Fall Conference.]