Forum Inspires Transformation in Heart Disease And Stroke Prevention, Treatment

Patrick Dunn, Ph.D., Senior Program Manager, Center for Health Technology and Innovation, American Heart Association

It’s been 10 years since the first iPhone indelibly changed how we communicate. Although a decade is “forever” in the tech world, science tends to move at a slower pace. But if these two industries could work together to harness the speed of innovation and apply it to ending heart disease and stroke, imagine the breakthroughs that would be possible.

The American Heart Association’s Center for Health Technology & Innovation convened the best and brightest in science and in health technology at its annual Health Tech & Innovation Forum in Boston earlier this fall. The event showcased the powerful combination of science and health tech, leaving a renewed sense of optimism about its potential to drastically transform prevention and treatment of heart diseases and stroke, the world’s leading killers.

The CHTI partners with collaborators in the healthcare technology industry to provide evidence-based health and well-being solutions for consumers and patients by integrating the AHA’s trusted content and guidelines with digital healthcare solutions.

We hosted more than 150 tech and health thought leaders from prominent companies like Samsung, Qualcomm and Amazon Web Services. They’re all engaged in bold, dynamic conversations about how best to harness technologies to drive measureable improvements in health outcomes.

Dr. Calum MacRae photo

Fireside chat with Dr. Calum MacRae

Eric Peterson photo

Keynote by Dr. Eric Peterson

A highlight of the event was a “Fireside Chat” with Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Dr. Calum MacRae, leader of One Brave Idea. This $75 million research enterprise is charged with ending coronary heart disease and its consequences. Another highlight was a keynote delivered by Dr. Eric Peterson, executive director of the Duke Clinical Research Center.

The forum made it clear that despite the abundance of health solutions (like the volume of smartphone apps), there are far fewer solutions that are making a difference. The good news is that some of the sharpest minds in science and technology want to make progress and achieve meaningful results.

Here are a few takeaways from the many physicians, scientists, innovators and companies who are passionately working to leverage the latest in health tech for maximum impact:

  • Access to big data isn’t enough to drive health impact. We must work together to integrate and leverage big data sets in their proper clinical context.
  • Virtual reality could expand access to healthcare by bringing specialists to rural or underserved communities.
  • Artificial intelligence could be a tool, not a replacement, for clinicians.

Ultimately our aim is to help people — not patients — live longer lives with innovative health technologies.