MIT NEWDIGS Director and advisor speak at LIGHT Forum on AI in Healthcare

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS—MIT NEW Drug Development ParadIGmS (NEWDIGS) director Dr Gigi Hirsch, and program advisor R. John Glasspool spoke this week at the inaugural Leaders in Global Health & Technology (LIGHT) Forum hosted by Stanford Medical School in California. NEWDIGS is an international “think and do tank” dedicated to re-engineering pharmaceutical innovation to deliver more value faster to patients, in ways that work for all stakeholders.

Hirsch and Glasspool were members of a panel entitled, “Real World Evidence: Hype or Reality?” They were joined by Hans-Georg Eichler, MD, Senior Medical Officer, European Medicines Agency; Lloyd B. Minor, MD, Dean of the Stanford School of Medicine; and moderator Susan Schaeffer, Editor of BioCentury. The forum was attended by over 250 leaders in healthcare and technology, and focused on the transformative impact of data, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning on the global healthcare system. Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO and Founder of WPP, Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman, News Corporation; and Niall Ferguson, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution opened the conference with a keynote conversation.

A theme across discussions was the shift from a focus on products to a focus on value and outcomes in the healthcare system. Glasspool, a healthcare industry veteran, said “There is an amazing alignment emerging among the diverse stakeholders in the healthcare innovation and delivery system, as they embrace value-based care strategies. Technology to manage and understand data will be a critical enabler.”

“We have to break down traditional siloes—between stakeholders, organizations, and geographies—for AI and machine learning to create value,” noted Hirsch. “We need to modernize our approach to evidence planning and production, beginning early in a new therapy’s lifecycle, and involving all the stakeholders.”

Hirsch’s NEWDIGS initiative at MIT, in the Center for Biomedical Innovation, has explored this challenge for several years in its WISDOM Project, which focuses on designing integrated knowledge solutions that improve decision-making for all stakeholders. “We do not yet have standards to inform how we generate evidence from some of the emerging types of data and analytic methods, so we need to work together in fundamentally new ways to define fit for purpose information strategies.”

“With regard to AI and machine learning in healthcare, useful data and the view across data silos are great challenges,” agreed Glasspool. “The LIGHT Forum showed very broad support for pushing policies that get data into the open and enable its use. Now we need to develop baselines, action plans, and performance indicators to convert support into action.”

Other speakers at the LIGHT Forum included Mick Mulvaney, Director, Office of Management and Budget, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman Emeritus, Nestlé, George Barrett, Chairman and CEO, Cardinal Health, Shiva Kumar, Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Watson Health at IBM, Robert Robbins, President, University of Arizona, Ron Cohen, CEO, Acorda Therapeutics, and Jonathan Peacock, Chairman, Arix Bioscience. More information on the LIGHT Forum can be found at light2017.com. Organizers say they are planning for the second forum in 2018.

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MIT NEWDIGS
Deborah Young
Operations Director
debyoung@mit.edu
617-324-7756