Tag Archives: #stories

What Happens When A Pharmageek And A Cancergeek Meet In Spain?

Last week I had the fortune of attending the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) in Barcelona, Spain. It was a wonderful meeting.

I was able to meet some of my new colleagues from Europe.

I was introduced and met a few customers that are doing incredible work in South America, Spain, the Netherlands, and in the U.K.

I read a majority of the scientific posters and was happy to see synergies carrying over from the imaging world into the field of radiation oncology.

There were a few big topics such as the use of novel tracers to identify cancer and then use for target delineation. Iterative reconstruction was a big buzz around the showroom floor as it applies daily imaging. MR and even spectral imaging were all being highlighted in how they can help in defining cancer as well as targeting it with radiation oncology.

My biggest excitement was when I discovered that one of the guests during ESTRO was going to be Lionel Reichardt, aka Pharmageek.

I have been following Lionel for multiple years. I have exchanged emails, Tweets, have read several of his articles and watched multiple videos of Lionel. (more articles)

The question most people have is,

“What happens when a pharmageek and a cancergeek are in the same room?”

Magic, of course. 

I was fortunate enough to have dinner with Lionel.

First and foremost, as with many IRL (in real life) meetings, it was as if we had just seen each other and were catching up with an old friend. Lionel is very observant, does his due diligence, and has an amazing perspective on technology, health, care, and the patient perspective.

I was energized to learn of an initiative that Lionel has been doing for a while now called, “As A Patient I Demand….” This initiative was taken from the candidacy of Francois Hollande and applied to getting the patients perspective in healthcare. Specifically, Lionel’s initiative translates to the following:

“The health seems forgotten by the speeches of the potential presidential candidates of 2017…with #MoiPatient (taking up Francois Hollande’s anaphor in 2012 “Moi President”), we give the floor to the patient that we are all at a certain moment in our lives.” (videos here)

What I enjoyed the most about my conversation with Lionel is that he cuts through the bullshit (as most of my French friends do). We took a walk around the showroom floor at ESTRO and we discussed some of the same “buzzwords” we also witnessed during RSNA 2017 (and several other medical conferences).

Words such as artificial intelligence, deep learning, machine learning, clinical decision support, big data, analytics, and insights.

Companies from pharma, radiology, oncology, and other sectors of healthcare like to use these top of mind buzzwords, but we both agreed, that the majority of the technology and its applicability is still vapor, unfulfilled promises, and a prophecy of what is yet to come.

The reality is that health/care has undergone similar technological transformations multiple times, and unlike the rest of the world outside of healthcare, technology has only created a larger divide inside of medicine.

Lionel also pushed me on my own hypothesis, that health and care will be delivered at the N of 1.

He asked me how long I think it will take to reach this promised land?

I shared with Lionel that I believe we can reach that destination by 2025.

The hurdle is not the technology, it is people.

It is a fundamental culture shift.

While the insurance groups in the U.S. want population health, the hospitals want to develop pathways (rules) for patient management, and Governments want to provide access to quality care, it will ultimately be the patient who gets to determine what will work for them as individuals.

If we take a look and realize that there are no longer gatekeepers to medical knowledge, that brand hospital means less to a patient than the brand of a physician and when patients seek care, they want to trust the person.

Technology can enable, but trust is earned one patient and one physician at a time.

At the end of the weekend, we both agreed: patients want #GFHC and they want it delivered at the N of 1. (click the link and take the pledge if you agree)

As always feel free to email me at cancergeek@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter and Instagram as CancerGeek

~Cancergeek

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Technology Amplifies Our Behavior

Last week there was a lot of news and talk about the abuse of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica.

If you did not read about the breach, here is the summary:

“Cambridge Analytica used a quiz app to scrape data such as users’ identities, their friend networks, and likes from millions of Facebook users. Users inadvertently gave consent by agreeing to the user conditions in the app. The company later used that data to build targeted political ads for political campaign’s, The New York Times, which conducted the investigation along with The Observer, reports. (read the full article here on Futurism)…”

I am not here to comment on whether or not this is right, wrong, or who is to blame whether it is Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, Political Campaigns, or us as the end users.

I leave that judgment to you. To make on your own. To use the information available to you and to draw your own conclusion.

I do want to point out the obvious.

This is nothing new.

Big brands, marketing firms, advertising agencies, small businesses, governments, and political campaigns have been using these tactics for decades.

Whether it has been in the form of print ads, newspaper articles, radio spots, or television commercials “consumers” (defined as the end users of content) have always been subjected to messages that are trying to tell us a particular story.

If the messages are really good, they usually nudge us to take action.

An action based on emotions. The action to purchase, to join, to support, to share, or to participate.

The gold standard used to be demographics.

The ability to generate insights about groups of the population based on their education, nationality, religion, and ethnicity. If you are able to understand these common traits you can hopefully develop messages and stories that will resonate with segments of people and encourage them to take an action.

As our world continues to evolve, we have transitioned from demographics to psychographic segmentation.

The ability to understand smaller groups within a population allows us to design messages that will resonate with specific subsegments of people.

As we begin to understand people’s motivations, their patterns of thinking, how they perceive the world, and how they feel towards specific topics we can target audiences with more specific and precise messaging.

Again, this is nothing new. A prime example of this type of data is Nielsen Media Research.

In today’s world, it is not unimaginable to segment down to the zip code or street address of people and to understand their buying patterns, their watching patterns, as well as how their dietary choices, their activity level, or how they view the most recent political campaigns.

Facebook is not the originator of this type of business model, nor will they be the last. Google, Instagram, Snapchat, Nielsen, and many others have been doing this for years. Yes, even our hospitals and medical research have been in this business and will continue to be in this business.

It used to take months and sometimes years to generate this kind of insight and actionable data.

Today’s technology accelerates the generation, testing, implementation, and targeting of this insight. It now happens in clicks and is summarized in minutes.

With our blind acceptance and acknowledgment of the terms and conditions combined with our app happy downloads for ease and simplicity only exacerbates the problem.

We need to remember that we are consistently being marketed too.

We need to remember that with every click, swipe, and like that we generate data that is being used by others to develop more messages to target us and the people like us.

We need to remember that as we sit and point at Facebook and other social media companies that there are three fingers pointing back at us. We need to share in the blame. We need to own our own decisions.

We must be responsible for our decisions, our data, and the “news” we believe in the content we consume.

Just like the food we ingest, we too must take responsibility for stories we believe.

Delivering care, the consumption of content and building trust happen at the N of 1.

As always feel free to email me at cancergeek@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter and Instagram as CancerGeek

~Cancergeek