Inside the World of Connected Health: My Six Key Learnings in Six Months at the AT&T Foundry
Pictured left to right: Shaoda Yu (Biomedical Engineer), Nadia Morris (Head of Innovation), Jessica Autrey (Business Development Team), Judi Manis (Business Development Team) and Mohamed Mohamed (Biomedical Engineer).
By Nadia Morris
If you’ve seen one hospital, you’ve seen one hospital. They really are unique entities, even in the same hospital system. But, the good news is that the things they have in common are important.
The healthcare world wants the latest and greatest technology in their workplace. Earlier this year, we opened the doors to the AT&T Connected Health Foundry in Houston. Here, we’re addressing challenges like this facing the health care industry head-on with efficient problem-solving methods.
Here are my six key learnings in six months of leading the AT&T Foundry team in Houston.
- Hospitals are full of smart, driven people who really do believe in their mission to save lives. Not just the doctors and nurses. Everyone from the administrators and teachers, to the IT staff share this mission.
- The reason hospitals aren’t further along technologically? It’s complicated. Funding, regulations, time, and most importantly, prioritizing the work of keeping people alive and healthy. But now, many hospitals are learning what we did at AT&T and are forming “Foundry” like groups of their own. Having an Innovation team is key. They have experience in the field and understand the issues and intricacies of the ecosystem. Having this team is the desired path to success in leap-frogging healthcare into the future of technology.
- There are some really amazing start-ups out there that want to disrupt health care. I know the word “disrupt” is trite and overused, but it’s accurate. I see things like Natural Language Processing, so doctors can focus on the patient – and avoid the time-consuming act of manually entering electronic health records data. And sensors that analyze gait in real-time to predict falls before they happen. I really like the future of health technology I see coming from these companies!
- Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Deep Learning (DL)…These aren’t vague concepts. They’re the future of medicine. Amazing tools that use AI & ML to solve complex problems – too big for the human brain alone to resolve – are the key. AI doesn’t get sleepy. It doesn’t have a bad day. These systems are in training now, with even some currently in use. Once their power is unleashed, we will truly advance in healthcare and medicine.
- While helping seniors stay in their homes is important, I’ve learned ensuring the caregivers have the support and tools to help seniors is equally important. The caregivers aren’t strangers. They’re usually family members—and they are overwhelmed. We need technologies to take the burden off the “sandwiched” moms and dads who take care of their own families, usually with kids, as well as their parents. As we age, we’ll all need help eventually. Aging in the home safely and securely starts by learning what the challenges are and solving them today.
- Lastly, I learned that health care is a wildly complex world. It has a fascinating history and is constantly evolving. Sitting down with the folks in the trenches and learning what they need and the pain points they experience is more important than a sole focus on the technology. Understanding the ecosystem and how to work with the hospitals, assisted living facilities, doctors, nurses, health IT professionals, startups –and most importantly patients – is crucial to having an impact on healthcare.
What a six months it has been at the Houston AT&T Foundry. Alongside my team, I look forward to gaining even more insight on connected health in 2017 through deep discussions and constant collaboration.