The Inaugural LIGHT Forum Explored the Fundamental Transformation of Healthcare through the Power of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

May 18, 2017

Over 250 global health and technology leaders attended the first-ever LIGHT Forum, focused on the transformational impact of data, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) on the global healthcare system. 
 
The Forum began with a keynote conversation between Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO and Founder of WPP; Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman, News Corporation; and Niall Ferguson, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution.  
 
At the heart of the Forum was the healthcare industry’s shift from selling products to offering solutions — moving towards a system founded on value and outcomes. This requires vast amounts of real-world evidence from structured and unstructured sources to be integrated and interpreted to inform new pathways for care. Patients need to be micro-segmented to determine which drug or device will best address their needs. And predictions and inferences, often based on partial or “dirty” data, are critical. These challenges, once intractable, are now manageable thanks to the advent of AI and ML, experts said at LIGHT.
 
“Machine learning is the most exciting thing in my industry, since the Human Genome Project. Machine learning is first thing I’ve seen that will affect efficiency in drug research.” 
— Ron Cohen, President, CEO and Founder of Acorda Therapeutics
 
In 20 years, pharma and medical device companies will cease to exist — they will become tech companies.”
— Alex Turkeltaub, CEO and Co-Founder, Roam Analytics
 
"As leaders in global health and technology, we have an obligation to, first and foremost, improve health outcomes, and also ensure a sustainable future for all stakeholders across our industry."
— Mike Hudnall, CEO WPP Health & Wellness
 
The forum also grappled with the uncertainty in US healthcare with House passage of the American Health Care Act, and the possible replacement of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
  
“The American Health Care Act makes healthcare sustainable. On Obamacare people are losing their healthcare now.”
— Mick Mulvaney, Director, the Office of Management and Budget
 
“The American Health Care Act is half baked. We are talking about people’s lives here — we’re doing this massive experiment without any thought or analysis of what the effects will be.”
— Peter Orszag, Vice Chairman of Investment Banking & Global Co-Head of Healthcare,
Lazard Freres & Co. LLC
 
One key issue raised at LIGHT was how the healthcare system is currently focused on treating rather than preventing disease. Saving money is clearly a plus, but how to monetize savings is a harder nut to crack.
 
“It’s not a healthcare system, it’s a sickness care system — the only contact you have with the system is when you’re sick.”
— Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman Emeritus, Nestlé S.A. 
 
“There is nobody in the healthcare system who gets paid to advance the prevention of disease.”
— Jeffrey B. Kindler, CEO, Centrexion Corporation
 
Another highlighted challenge was how to best access, share, collate and leverage the tremendous amount of healthcare data that exists. The consensus was data should be increasingly controlled by the patient.
 
“Data is going to be the driver on how we deliver care.”
— George Barrett, Chairman and CEO, Cardinal Health
 
“What is most exciting now is the influx of new data and how AI helps to sift through it more quickly.”
— Judy Sewards, VP, Head of Digital Strategy, Data Innovation, Pfizer
 
LIGHT Forum speakers included Mick Mulvaney, Director, Office of Management and Budget, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman Emeritus, Nestlé, George Barrett, Chairman and CEO, Cardinal Health, Hans-Georg Eichler, Senior Medical Officer, European Medicines Agency, 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.
 
Over 250 healthcare and technology executives attended the inaugural LIGHT Forum. Organizers said they were planning the second edition for 2018. 
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