At Cultural Vistas our greatest strength is our global network. As part of our New Vistas Dialogues Series, we recently hosted a virtual discussion exploring new solutions to global challenges in digital health and artificial intelligence. Cultural Vistas Board Member Rekha Grennan moderated the conversation between Dr. Tommaso Mansi, Ph. D., Senior Director of R &D of Image-Guided Therapy + Robotics for Siemens Healthineers and Dominick Kennerson, a former Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow and current Global Head G4A of Digital Health Partnerships for Bayer Pharmaceuticals.
As experts in the field, Dr. Mansi and Kennerson both spoke of the acceleration of new technologies, startups, and health ecosystems that create a better awareness of public health as giving them hope and driving their work on a daily basis. They also spoke of the power of exchanges and hosting of international interns that bring a diversity of perspectives to drive innovations and develop better, more equitable solutions in digital health and artificial intelligence.
“As a new board member at Cultural Vistas I’m continually amazed by the breadth and depth of our global community,” said Rekha Grennan. “It’s incredibly expansive and I think today is a really great example of the level of expertise that Cultural Vistas can call upon.”
Read on for key takeaways from the webinar or watch the discussion in full below:
Takeaway: Healthcare is Local
Now more than ever, it’s clear that healthcare is local. While solutions to common health concerns come from global thought leaders, healthcare is reflective of your zip code, neighborhood and neighbors. It is embodied by the food that you have access to at your local grocery stores and the options for exercise and the availability to medical doctors. The public focuses on the health and well-being of towns and zip codes to determine their ability to eat at restaurants, go to stores and the movies. We pay attention to the health of our neighbors and those sitting next to us in restaurants because we care but also because it directly affects us.
“All healthcare is local,” said Kennerson. “What we’re really looking for at Bayer and G4A are actual solutions that can help people… We started with grants for apps, so when you talk about Artificial Intelligence you are looking at things that can organize, aggregate and interpret the data we have available.”
Solution: Creating tools and processes guided by AI can help standardize interventions so that people have access to healthcare prevention no matter what the landscape of healthcare is in their local community. AI has the ability to bring robots guided by doctors to perform interventions in small villages or other communities where access to healthcare has not traditionally been available on the local level.
Takeaway: Artificial Intelligence Can Lead to Equity in Healthcare
It is also because healthcare is local that it is so difficult to create a concise global or national response to healthcare needs. It must be noted that cultural and personal values be taken into play when it comes to public health. In addition to COVID-19 response, cancer, heart disease and other health conditions are experienced disproportionally throughout the world.
“We are a global company and our mission is to serve healthcare as a whole,” said Dr. Mansi. “As a result we have actually presence worldwide and therefore interact with the regulatory agencies of the respective regions. How do we translate innovation to the market? We see now with AI and digitization that this process actually accelerates. All this acceleration is very fascinating and the impact becomes much larger.”
Solution: By focusing on the patient at the center of the ecosystem of their health and using digital tools, give them agency over their healthcare and well-being, thus creating more equity in the process and equal access to good health for all.
Takeaway: Digital Health Provides Optimism
While themes of protectionism and isolationism are threatening communities at local, national and international levels, the coronavirus pandemic has had a positive impact on collaboration for digital health. While politicians may be struggling to collaborate, in the medical field we see the opposite – collaboration amongst hospitals, scientists and healthcare workers from across the world has been at an all time high as the globe fights this international pandemic. Likewise, digital health has the opportunity to provide data to benchmark progress to other global threats such as climate change.
“What AI enables us to do is become more aware of our data,” said Kennerson. “We have a goal to be carbon neutral… AI gives us that data layer to say that we actually achieved those targets.”
Solution: Increased collaboration in the digital health field is providing fast solutions to shared global challenges. By working together, scientists have been able to develop promising coronavirus vaccines in record time, while the data provided by AI can help individuals and companies achieve progress in meeting goals that pertain to the health of societies – and the planet.