Yan Chow on The Value of Health Tech

In Health Tech, Stakeholders, Stakeholders Health Tech 12 by Mary Kurek

Stakeholder Series:  The Value of Health Tech

Yan Chow, Medical Director, Digital Medicine, Translational Medicine, Amgen, US

Yan Chow is a healthcare technology leader who we’ve asked to share his viewpoints on telehealth, innovations, data, and pharma.  Currently, Yan’s expertise is being utilized at Amgen, the world’s largest independent biotechnology firm, with 20,000 employees, revenues of $23B, and a focus on oncology/hematology, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, bone health, nephrology, and neuroscience.  Yan is lead physician-scientist for early development clinical trials incorporating wearable sensors, medical devices, mobile technology, and digital health strategy development.  Along with a multitude of hats he’s worn over the years that points to significance in the space, Yan is also the managing director of a Silicon Valley tech innovation consulting firm.  Check his Linkedin www.linkedin.com/in/yanchow profile for more background.

Here’s what Yan thinks about tech innovations and the healthcare landscape:

  • Yan Chow appreciates and upholds the “Silicon Valley mindset” of experimentation without penalty of failure.  He shares that not all countries have a culture that allows for that type of idea processing and that may be a reason why they aren’t as productive in creating out-of-the-box health tech solutions.
  • Telehealth has been around since the early 1960s but determining ROI has been challenging because of mixed findings in the literature based on older technologies.  But technology moves so fast today that any tech-focused study will be obsolete by the time it’s published. This is a reason why telehealth has had difficulty penetrating mainstream health care.  Technology has since improved significantly and we’re moving toward being able to gather evidence of real-world value that makes a difference to the market.
  • Real value in the space is fundamentally based on the right data.  Currently, we don’t really know what those data are, so technology is being used to look at data from many nontraditional sources – phone, car, online, sensors, etc.
  • Pharma (pressured by the FDA, payers, and patients) is looking to prove real-world benefits beyond just safety and efficacy, such as getting patients back to work sooner.  Startups that address real problems like reducing employee sick days will get serious attention.
  • Innovations of note: In Neuroscience, digital tools that detect preclinical manifestations of dementia such as Alzheimer’s are in the works. The FDA has approved its first digital therapeutic, Pear reSET, a mobile app for substance abuse, while Akili Interactive is applying for FDA clearance of a video game for ADHD.  A digital app + social network produced by Omada Health https://www.omadahealth.com/ is getting better results with diabetes patients than traditional approaches. These exciting milestones in digital medicine parallel promising clinical efforts such as research on a vaccine for ALZ and immunotherapy for late-stage cancer patients.

(Stakeholder Series shares commentary of thought leader viewpoints.)