The Digital Health Newsletter by Paul Sonnier
June 13, 2017
Greetings!
Philips has launched their 2nd annual Future Health Index, which is the result of surveys and interviews with over 33,000 stakeholders globally (including yours truly). The study evaluates how health systems can use digital technology to prepare for the future by looking at where connectivity has the most benefit, and where it needs further investment to ease the burden on healthcare systems. Creating a system fit for the 21st century is a complicated process, but this report aims to increase understanding about where society is, and point to sustainable solutions that will ultimately yield better health for all. You can download the report here.
In my previous newsletter, I focused on how digital health can help to ameliorate healthcare disparities. While conducting background research on the Philips Future Health Index report, I came across a story about a 'hospital on wheels' being deployed by Philips India.

As The Economic Times' Healthword reports, the 'IntelliSafari' mobile van showcases Philips' affordable high-end patient monitoring and care equipment as part of an intensive awareness campaign focused on hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics across India. Products on display are designed to treat patients ranging from adults to neonates in ICU, CCU, as well as general hospital wards and nursing care units.

According to Shankar Seshadri, Sr. Director and Business Head for Patient Care & Monitoring Solutions and Ultrasound, “Through the IntelliSafari drive we want to assure people that advanced technological solutions need not always come at a cost. Healthcare products which are affordable, and having high-technology features and qualitative solutions are key to increasing access to healthcare in India and thereby saving lives.”
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"Digital health is the convergence of the digital and genomic revolutions with health, healthcare, living, and society." - Paul Sonnier
CONSUMER / LIVING & SOCIETY
Online fashion apparel retailer Stitch Fix is using algorithmic design in an effort to become the Netflix of fashion. Customers fill out an online questionnaire about their body size, style, clothing fit preferences, and can even link their Pinterest profile to let the company learn more about them. Algorithms then feed the human stylists and are also being used to automatically design new pieces.
An artificial whisky taster is using a synthetic tongue to pick out different qualities in whiskies, including the brand, age, and origin. The system works by mixing fluorescent dyes into the distillation and evaluating the brightness of each dye to determine the origin, age, and whether it's a blended or single malt. Researchers are also setting their sights on red wine.
Stephanie Lee reports in Buzzfeed that celebrities are promoting a nearly-$500 food test (offered by a company called Pinnertest) that purports to reveal your food intolerances. Stars endorsing the product include Lindsay Lohan and Mario Lopez. The company claims that its test screens for proteins in your blood that are related to food intolerances. But experts state that there’s no evidence that these biomarkers are associated with the claims being made.
I watched a great documentary on HBO about healthy aging and living life to the fullest. Titled " If You’re Not In the Obit, Eat Breakfast", the film looks at the lives of people like actor Dick Van Dyke who, even in his 90s, continues to stay active, which he says has been his key to a long and vital life. Blue Zones author Dan Buettner appears briefly and adds that, "Whether you're 9 or 90, do what you love, but do it every day." The  Atlantic's Sophie Gilbert also reviewed the film.
VIRTUAL REALITY (VR)
Engadget's Christopher Trout took an interactive tour of creative technology and content creation studio The Mill’s alternate reality art showcase entitled "Move Me". The exhibit featured CGI augmented reality (AR) singing llamas, VR "nightmares", and an EEG-enabled biometric relaxation experience, through which your breathing controls your motion within the dreamscape.
HEALTHCARE
After losing his son to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Microsoft data scientist John Kahan wanted to do something to help prevent this from happening to other babies. After hundreds of hours of data analysis and visualization, John and his colleagues have found correlations, including the association of early prenatal care with lower rates of deaths. According to Nino Ramirez, a neuroscientist at research partner Seattle Children's Hospital, "The (SIDS) field is not that big, and it started with pediatricians, but none of them have a background in data science." 
A recent tweet by the  Veterans Health Administration included a video of World Congress Correspondent Mabel Jong interviewing Neil Evans, MD, who is Chief Officer of the Veterans Health Administration's Office of Connected Care and Associate Chief of Staff for Informatics. Last year, the Veterans Health Administration provided more than 2 million care visits through telehealth. Dr. Evans also points out that during that time 700,000 patients received at least some portion of their care via one or more of three categories of telehealth deployed by the VA.
GENOMICS
Following a controversial  paper in Nature Methods suggesting that the gene-editing tool CRISPR had caused unexpected mutations in the genomes of mice and was therefore too dangerous to use as a drug, several companies are hitting back with letters to the publication. As MIT Tech Review's Antonio Regalado reports, Nessan Bermingham, CEO of Intellia, called for the journal to retract the paper.
Red Bull surprised me in profiling genomics pioneer J. Craig Venter in an installment of their video series " The Resilient: Visions of Greatness". As they state, "Those who can weather the many defeats on the road to success are the ones who ultimately achieve their dreams. Craig Venter, the man who mapped the human genome, and skateboard pioneer Stacy Peralta show how they persisted in the face of failure."
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