digital health, patient stories

From JP Morgan to CES – The Power of Story

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Starting 2013 with a bang, I flew from Los Angeles to San Francisco to attend the 31st Annual JP Morgan Healthcare conference and then to Las Vegas to cover the health and fitness explosion at CES.

The power of story has fascinated me all along my multi-career journey from practicing dentist to Wall Street analyst to Health 3.0 market expert, digital health analyst and consultant. At both JP Morgan and CES, a variety of stories piqued my curiosity and touched my heart.

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In San Francisco, at the 2013 JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, Onyx Pharmaceutical’s story stood out, eloquently told by CEO Tony Coles, MD, as a “story of improbable success and unlikely odds.” Using a mixed model with go-it-alone and collaboration elements, Onyx is building two global oncology franchises in proteasome and kinase inhibitors. In the past year, Onyx grew from being a producer of one drug in two indications to three approved drugs in five, going on six indications.

An engaging aspect of Dr Coles’ presentation were highlights of patient stories: Patrick, a husband with six kids being kept alive with Kyprolis; and Reggie, a kidney cancer survivor extending his life with Nexavar.

The next day in Las Vegas, at the CES Digital Health Summit, Don Jones, the Vice President of Global Strategy and Market Development at Qualcomm Life, told stories about creating tools for people to better self-manage using the advantages of cloud computing: low cost, data sharing, intellectual property protection and convenience.

The concept of simplifying self-care by making it easy and convenient was brought to life by live demos by VRI, Asthmapolis and Dexcom. The VRI demo showed us how they can monitor vitals in congestive heart failure patients.

A type 1 diabetes patient with a busy career and travel schedule uses the Dexcom system to monitor his glucose data to better understand the causes and effect of activity, meals and travel on his blood-sugar management, reducing emergencies and allowing a more normal life.

The Asthmapolis tool lets asthma patients track their inhaler usage. This data combined with public data is enabling the company to build a bottom-up, real-time public health database for asthma.

Arianna Huffington’s own story (which includes falling asleep and hitting her head from exhaustion) is the reason she created the GPS for the Soul app in collaboration with bLife and Heartmath.

Stories of how she customizes the app with pictures of her kids or the outdoors, further piqued our interest.

Additional stories included military technologies being adapted for consumers by CNN celebrity Dr. Sanjay Gupta and health and wellness stories by the even-more celebrated Dr. Oz.

While the mood at JP Morgan was neutral, at best, being surrounded by the glitz of Las Vegas and the celebrity star power at the CES Digital Health Summit made me feel almost magical, to be a part of the digital health community at my second CES. Will Health 3.0 be a fairy tale with a happy ending?

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