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INVEST Pop Health Conference Results in Discussion of Improving Patient Outcomes Through Technology

On May 22, the New Orleans Business Alliance and MedCity News came together to host a new health innovation conference, INVEST Pop Health.

With over 120 attendees from across the country, the event focused on technologies that can transform population health and attracting investment in these technologies.

As part of the Business Alliance’s efforts to encourage investment to grow the bio technology industry in New Orleans, the conference attracted entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and hospital executives from Kansas, Chicago, New York, California and more. It also highlighted leaders from the Louisiana healthcare community.

Keynote Speaker Addresses the Future of Healthcare

Richard Milani and Quentin MesserThe keynote speaker, Dr. Richard V. Milani, the chief clinical transformation officer at Ochsner Health Systems, addressed how technology is transforming healthcare by improving patient experience, cost effectiveness and outcomes.

He noted that it’s no surprise that Wall Street titans Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Chase together entered the healthcare arena with their join venture HAVEN. Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook claims that Apple’s greatest benefit to mankind will be in health. As large companies shift their focus to the healthcare industry, Dr. Milani expects to see entrepreneurship, technology and clinical medicine come together scale the industry’s innovation nationwide.

Leading the next generation of healthcare will come by harnessing data to increase efficiency and accuracy in diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Milani highlighted four converging healthcare megatrends: data acquisition, digital connections, machine learning, and emerging technologies. Artificial Intelligence can help hospitals address the shortage of physicians. AI that automatically reads an MRI can more accurately find a tumor at a quicker rate than an individual radiologist. However, healthcare providers will still have a huge role to play. Ideally, implementing new technologies allow providers to minimize wasted time and unnecessary costs.

Panel Addresses Social Determinants of Health

Following Dr. Milani’s keynote address, a panel of speakers discussed social determinants of health, including food insecurity and transportation challenges.

Professionals from the New Orleans Department of Health, Unity Point Health, Sandbox Industries, Aetna Better Health of Louisiana, Virta Health and Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine discussed root cause analysis as a tool for healthcare organizations to understand what is leading to health issues in specific communities. MedCity INVEST Pop Health New Orleans

As Rick Born of Aetna acknowledged, up to 60 percent of a person’s health is determined by their zip code. Dr. Jen Avegno from the New Orleans Department of Health stressed the need for a “high tech, high touch” approach that determines why patients suffer from chronic conditions.

Dr. Harlan from the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine emphasized the impacts of food on health. He stressed the need to talk to patients about their diets so doctors can understand the role of food in one’s wellbeing.

Sarah Hallberg of Vitra Health referred to herself as a “de-prescribing specialist” stating, “As a country we can’t afford to just prescribe another drug to fix a health problem. We have to look to other, more effective solutions.”

Fireside Chat Focuses on the Role of Community to Improve Population Health  

Arundhati Parmar of MedCity News led a discussion with Rick Brush, CEO of Wellville, whose national non-profit focuses on improving population health in five communities across the United States.

Brush discussed the process of the community achieving desired outcomes, necessary interventions, and specific themes or areas that need attention, such as early childhood development, parenting support initiatives, diabetes management, or food systems. He also  defined the term equitable wellbeing as a balance between achieving the greatest gains in health and a fair distribution of care.

Startups Compete to be Pop Health Leader

Ten startup organizations from across the nation presented solutions for chronic disease and population health as they competed to be declared the Population Health Leader.

Each startup explained its tech solution to managing chronic diseases and overall population health. Members of the audience voted for their favorite, as judges engaged the participants.

Neuroflow, a company that “enables remote monitoring and behavioral health integration across the continuum of care, including psychology, primary care, and pain management settings” won the showcase.

$100 Million Venture Fund Announced

Following the conference, MedCity News and the New Orleans Business Alliance, hosted a networking reception at which Unity Point Health announced a $100 million venture fund.

Matthew Warrens, managing director of Innovations, and Kent Lehr, vice president of Strategy and Business Development, explained that the fund will be used to invest in growing companies focusing on four areas: digital health, medical devices, therapeutic spaces and healthcare services.



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