Dr. Eric Topol, voted by Modern Healthcare as the most influential physician executive in the United States, shared his thoughts on why people should own and control their own data.

Dr. Topol, a world-renowned cardiologist, geneticist, digital medicine researcher, and prolific author, is a true pioneer in personalized medicine. In 1975, he wrote his baccalaureate thesis, “Prospects for Genetic Therapy in Man” earning him an undergraduate degree with highest distinction from the University of Virginia. His work in the genomics of heart attack has led to the discovery of key genes and resulted in recognition by the American Heart Association as one of the top 10 research advances of the year, twice. Topol is Founder and Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute. In 2016, Topol was awarded a $207 million NIH grant to direct a large portion of All of Us (Precision Medicine Initiative), the one million American prospective research program). Read his full bio.

Dr. Topol will present and be honored at PMWC 2018 Michigan taking place June 6-7, 2018.

Q: Genomics, Digital Health, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are some of the newest technologies/fields that are reshaping medicine and healthcare. How and when will they impact healthcare?

A: Right now, we have extraordinary potential to understand the medical essence of human beings in an unprecedented fashion. Surrounding that, there is considerable hype, while we also see some real advances – so there is a mixture of substance and hyperbole. Yet, it is undeniable: sensors, genomics, imaging, advanced analytics and particularly deep learning, a major subtype of artificial intelligence, are all making big strides. They are clearly going to make an impact on the future of medicine.

The progress is quite heterogeneous, with respect to medical conditions, timing ,and who will be affected. If you look at the person, the consumer, these technologies will be able to help manage a condition like diabetes. But today, the algorithms are dumb and only inform a patient that their glucose is going up or down, and they don’t factor in anything else in their lives. We now have far better glucose sensors that are factory calibrated, that will eventually, at lower costs, will make finger-sticks obsolete with smart algorithms. These glucose data will be integrated with other data: your activity, your sleep, your levels of stress, your nutrition, your gut microbiome, and much more. That will help coach people to regulate their glycemic levels far better than what we do today, and we will transcend imprecise parameters like glycohemoglobin. This is just one example of a new data and analytic framework for diabetic patients, or even people simply at risk for diabetes. The same kind of example would apply for high blood pressure or any other common chronic conditions. Eventually, but this will take much longer, we will see this across a person’s health –the approaches will be holistic. This is all on the individual level, but there are obviously many other levels (for doctors, hospitals, etc) where big data, AI, and the digital genomic revolution are going to have a significant effect.

Q: Is it feasible to successfully implement individualized/precision medicine for everyone and what are the biggest challenges?

A: Yes, it is feasible. Our number one problem today is the inability for people to have all of their data. No one has all of their medical data from birth, or even prenatal, all the way through life. Every medical encounter, every lab, every scan – no one has all that data, unlike places like Estonia and other countries where patients have and own all that data. This is step number one and currently we are still far away from that, but eventually that has to occur to maximize the data’s impact and to help preserve one’s health. If we are going to work with very limited data it is going to be a serious impediment in the area of AI. Instead of health systems and doctors owning the data, people need to own their data– it is vital that this flip occurs. And patients will very happily share their data with specific health providers, doctors, and others. But they need to be the ones who are making that decision.

Q: Some of these approaches to personalized medicine require individuals to continuously monitor a range of personal readings, such as blood pressure, glucose levels and heart rate. In light of recent renewed concerns regarding data security and patient data privacy, how will people’s minds and the general culture be changed to trust the collection and sharing of personal data with providers, via wearables or smartphones?

A: This is the number one issue for me, which will hold us back–privacy and security of the data. The endless sea of data breaches – whether it is Facebook or MyFitnessPal – can’t be tolerated in the medical world. This is another reason why people have to own their data and on a secure platform, like Blockchain or a private cloud. We need to achieve the highest level of data security and personal ownership. If you ask any cyber security guru for the best strategy, in relation to avoidance of data breaches, the first step is getting the data out of massive servers and getting it into units of one or small family units. Massive data servers are incredibly attractive to cyber thieves and hackers and medical data sells for 5-fold more than personal financial data on the Dark Web. This is yet another reason why people must own their data and have it made fully secure.

Q: How can we accelerate the developments, and deliver on the promises of precision/individualized medicine?

A: Give people control over all their data and let them own it. But we are a long way from that. We are seeing some first instances with Apple enabling people to get their data from health systems that have a portal and are cooperating with Apple. This is a good start. And that happened quickly, so for example, I got some of my data from both Scripps Health and UCSD Health, so for the first time I have that and my sensor data in one place, at my fingertips. There’s plenty of missing data, like scans, and multiple providers, but it’s far better than trying to go to multiple, clunky health system portals. This is the beginning of a quiet revolution for people – not just having their data, but eventually also owning it. This is a new development that will continue to evolve and be built upon, and this is important. It’s a signal of what is to come. We can’t do deep learning AI for any individual optimally without all of their data.

Besides data security the biggest problem are the deep learning algorithms that are so remarkable and can read scans, read slides, transform speech to text, etc. They all have to be validated, prospectively, in the clinical environment. What we have today is lots of in silico analysis and retrospective validation, but that is not good enough to change medicine. We need to see all of these things, whether it is retinal diagnosis, an EKG, or a heart arrhythmia, any type of medical scan, cancer pathology slides, or skin lesions—validated prospectively so that the medical community can accept it. None of this has been done to date. There isn’t one prospective clinical validation of these promising deep learning algorithms yet. At least nothing that has been published as of April 2018.

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University of Michigan

The 14th Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC) will take place at the University of Michigan on June 6-7, 2018. This conference coincides with University of Michigan’s launch of a new Precision Health research initiative that integrates U of M’s strengths in Medicine, Engineering, Pharmacy, and Public Health. (hyperlink) This initiative combines biomedical expertise, big data, and the social sciences enabling a comprehensive approach to providing patients with tailored health solutions.

To support the University of Michigan’s goal to bring together leading researchers from across the university and the country to springboard this new and exciting research initiative, PMWC and U-M have agreed that the campus is an optimal location for the next conference. This forum will showcase practical content that helps close the knowledge gap among different sectors, thereby catalyzing cross-functional fertilization and collaboration to benefit both University of Michigan and PMWC attendees.

The program will feature innovative technologies, and analyze the success of already thriving initiatives and clinical case studies that enable the translation of precision medicine into direct improvements in health care. Conference attendees will have an opportunity to learn first-hand about the latest developments and advances in precision medicine and cutting-edge strategies and solutions that are fundamentally changing how patients are treated. This is reflected in the Program Theme: “Big Data in Action: Data-driven Insights in the Clinic”.

Agenda highlights:

    • More than 35 sessions with 100+ thought-provoking, insightful talks that cover all facets of precision medicine
    • Two tracks will showcase sessions on the latest advancements in precision medicine which include, but are not limited to:
    • Changing Pharmacogenomics
    • Community Setting Challenges
    • Patient Issues and Challenges
    • Legal and Ethical Issues
    • Integrating genomic data into EMRs
    • Emerging Technologies
    • Personalized Health Care Delivery
    • Personalized Modeling of Precision Health
    • NIH’s All of Us Study
    • Big Data in Action
    • Opioid Precision Health
    • Neurosciences
    • Big Data in the Clinic
    • Wellness and Aging
    • Epigenetics and Aging
    • Precision Cancer Therapy
    • Data Sharing in Translational Medicine
    • Economic and Socio-political Issues

The 14th Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC) will take place at the University of Michigan on June 6-7, 2018. This conference coincides with University of Michigan’s launch of a new Precision Health research initiative that integrates U of M’s strengths in Medicine, Engineering, Pharmacy, and Public Health. (hyperlink) This initiative combines biomedical expertise, big data, and the social sciences enabling a comprehensive approach to providing patients with tailored health solutions.

To support the University of Michigan’s goal to bring together leading researchers from across the university and the country to springboard this new and exciting research initiative, PMWC and U-M have agreed that the campus is an optimal location for the next conference. This forum will showcase practical content that helps close the knowledge gap among different sectors, thereby catalyzing cross-functional fertilization and collaboration to benefit both University of Michigan and PMWC attendees.

The program will feature innovative technologies, and analyze the success of already thriving initiatives and clinical case studies that enable the translation of precision medicine into direct improvements in health care. Conference attendees will have an opportunity to learn first-hand about the latest developments and advances in precision medicine and cutting-edge strategies and solutions that are fundamentally changing how patients are treated. This is reflected in the Program Theme: “Big Data in Action: Data-driven Insights in the Clinic”.

Agenda highlights:

    • More than 35 sessions with 100+ thought-provoking, insightful talks that cover all facets of precision medicine
    • Two tracks will showcase sessions on the latest advancements in precision medicine which include, but are not limited to:
        • Changing Pharmacogenomics
        • Community Setting Challenges
        • Patient Issues and Challenges
        • Legal and Ethical Issues
        • Integrating genomic data into EMRs
        • Emerging Technologies
        • Personalized Health Care Delivery
        • Personalized Modeling of Precision Health
        • NIH’s All of Us Study
        • Big Data in Action
        • Opioid Precision Health
        • Neurosciences
        • Big Data in the Clinic
        • Wellness and Aging
        • Epigenetics and Aging
        • Precision Cancer Therapy
        • Data Sharing in Translational Medicine
        • Economic and Socio-political Issues

 

Confirmed thought leaders include:

Lee Hood

Lee Hood

Chief Science Officer, Providence Health

Eric Topol

Eric Topol

Chief Academic Officer, Scripps Health

Francis Collins

Francis Collins

Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Vicki L. Ellingrod

Vicki L. Ellingrod

Ass. Dir., Michigan Inst. for Clinical & Health Research

Goncalo Abecasis

Goncalo Abecasis

Chair, Department of Biostatistics, UM

Jeffrey Leiden

Jeffrey Leiden

Chairman, President and CEO, Vertex

Matthias Kretzler

Matthias Kretzler

Professor, Nephrology & Internal Medicine, UM

Arul Chinnaiyan

Arul Chinnaiyan

Professor of Pathology, Medical Institute, UM

David Ginsburg

David Ginsburg

Prof., Human Genetics; Investigator, UM

Steve Nelson

Steve Nelson

Chief Executive Officer, UnitedHealthcare

Gil Omenn

Gil Omenn

Dir., Comput. Med. & Bioinformatics Center, UM

Eric Lefkofsky

Eric Lefkofsky

Founder and CEO, Tempus

Steven Leeder

Steven Leeder

Dir., Clin. Pharmacology Children’s Mercy Hospital,(CMH)

Ariella Shikanov

Ariella Shikanov

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering, UM

Lawrence Corey

Lawrence Corey

Presi. & Dir. Emeritus, Fred Hutch Cancer Research Cent.

Amir Dan Rubin

Amir Dan Rubin

President and CEO, One Medical

Isaac (Zac) Kohane

Isaac (Zac) Kohane

Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard University

Sachin Kheterpal

Sachin Kheterpal

Associate Professor, Anesthesiology, UM

Event Highlights

When
June 6, 2018 8:00am to June 7, 2018 5:00pm
Where
Ross School of Business
701 Tappan Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Cost
$774 by May 2nd, 2018

Registration: PMWC Conferences

Michigan June 6-7, 2018

First PMWC In Midwest
2 Track Speaker Lineup
Access to the exhibition
Breakfast & lunch refreshments
Award Reception

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