Stanford Healthcare Innovation Summit: Lessons from “Changing Channels”

This past Wednesday, I participated in a Stanford Healthcare Innovation Summit (#HealthIS) panel titled Changing Channels: Integrating Physical and Digital Distribution Channels for Greater Impact, along with Andrea Coleman – CEO of Riders for Health, Harry Kim – Senior Director for HP Worldwide Healthcare, and Ricardo Muñoz – Professor of Psychology at UCSF.

I knew about them all before Wednesday, but here’s what I didn’t know about them beforehand: Andrea is a former professional motorcycle racer, Harry’s group supports mPedigree in West Africa , and Ricardo was Albert Bandura’s (yes, that Bandura) student when he was at Stanford 40+ years ago.

I was a bit worried that the discussion would wander given the massively divergent experience on the panel but our moderator, Stanford Professor Grant Miller, crafted a coherent story with his framework and questions that not only made sense for all of us in the room, but also helped us panelists come away with new insights.

Three key points that I personally took away from the discussion:

1) Human contact matters, technology can help:

In the context of mental health services, Ricardo said, “We need live contact.” Technology can be a bridge until we get everybody a live person. Harry cited a statistic that only 20% of provider time in the modern hospital environment is spent on patient contact right now, aka “warm hands.” HP’s digital hospital efforts are aiming to fix that. Andrea discussed the need for people to actually get from one place to another, which phones alone won’t solve – the “internal combustion engine” is the core technology at Riders. They have onboard GPS on their motorcycles now, but the key problem they are solving is still the physical movement of people and goods.

2) Opportunities exist for learning across borders:

This was my bias going in, but it’s also a position that the other panelists reflected in discussing their own experiences. The most memorable might have been a personal experience – Ricardo talked about traveling cinema where he grew up outside Lima, Peru – a truck, a projector, and a white sheet – no connectivity needed.

3) Good stuff is happening right now:

Here are most (80%+) of the examples we discussed: Riders for HealthmPedigree, LogistimoPharmasecureStop Stock-Outs, Ontario Telemedicine Network, University of New Mexico Telehealth, HP Digital HospitalBeating the Blues, Nextdrop,, Using Google Adwords to Recruit for RCTs, Reducing Teacher Absenteeism with Cameras (Seva Mandir), Proteus.