Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Look Back at 2019

I've always been an optimist.   I believe humans are basically good and that the nice guy will win eventually.

After traveling 400,000 miles to 40 countries in 2019, helping government, academia, and industry, my view of the world has not changed.

Despite our focus on the negative 24x7 news cycle, 2019 has been the best year for humanity in history.

My best memories, looking back at 2019:

*Serving the Gates Foundation in South Africa and Northern India.  Experiencing the rollout of technology enabled platforms that reduced HIV disease burden and improved diagnosis/treatment of tuberculosis.

*Working with mayors and hospital presidents in China to create innovation centers in Shenzhen and Shanghai, enabling healthcare analytics platforms for population health and precision medicine.

*Helping government in Japan think about refinements to privacy policy that empower patients to be stewards of their own data.

*Discussing opportunities with government to enhance electronic health record and cloud adoption in Germany.

*Meeting numerous new colleagues in Northern Europe (Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden) while working together to harness past patient data for the benefit of future patients.

*Teaching National Health Service leaders in the UK (both England and Scotland) about a digital future that can transform workflow and the patient experience.

*Running courses with my Harvard colleagues all over the world to share lessons learned about technology policy and innovation.

*Mentoring the next generation of innovators in Massachusetts at Beth Israel Lahey Health and Mass Challenge Healthtech.

*Assisting with government policy development for data exchange as part of the Massachusetts Digital Health Council.

*Understanding the data needs of payers, providers, pharma, patients, and tech companies while defining the ethical uses of that data.

*Embracing a significant change for me personally - joining new colleagues at Mayo Clinic to build a global digital health platform for innovation. 

*Caring for 250 abandoned, abused, diseased, distressed, and unwanted animals at Unity Farm Sanctuary while building a self-sustaining community service destination for the Boston area.

In all these experiences, I saw forward progress as healthcare moved to the cloud, internet of things devices for health became mainstream and machine learning proved its value for diagnosis/treatment planning.   That even applies to Unity Farm Sanctuary where 103 internet of things devices help the staff deliver care.

Yes, I saw political unrest and divisiveness, the rise of populist movements, and a conservative shift in many governments.  To me, those were short term variations on a positive overall trajectory.    2019 set the stage for the next major leaps forward in digital health.

I'm honored to be a part of the 2020 journey that begins tomorrow.

Happy New Year!

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