Thought Leadership

January 17, 2018

CES and JP Morgan: A Healthcare, AI and PR Readout

Alyssa Chard

January has been a big month for tech, AI and healthcare headlines. San Francisco was the backdrop for the eighth JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, where artificial intelligence took mainstage as shaping healthcare today and in the future. Meanwhile in Vegas, The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held its annual showcase where thousands of new gadgets made their debut.


Here at CooperKatz, we’re plugged into both the healthcare and tech industries from many perspectives, so we followed both events with great interest. Below is a roundup of news to know in 2018:


CES Conference – Healthcare Takes Center Stage


CES is a mash up of many industries, but healthcare was a prominent part of keynote speeches and several panels and exhibits:


Best-selling author John Grisham spoke about his recent ebook, The Tumor. The fictional book follows the story of a young father who is helped by a medical technology called focused ultrasounds after being diagnosed with a deadly brain tumor. High-performance ultrasound technology isn’t just the stuff of sci-fi: it is out there already, with the potential to transform the treatment of serious medical illnesses.


One product called “Selvy Checkup” from the Korean company, SELVAS, made a splash at the conference with onsite check-ups. This AI-powered medical service predicts the probabilities of disease incidence within four years for some of the most common cancers and adult diseases including lung and liver cancers, as well as cardio-cerebrovascular disease and diabetes.


Experts at a panel on Tuesday did bring up the concern that too much data (especially as AI rises) could become a distraction in a field that’s already stretched for time and resources. It will be important for physicians and other healthcare professionals to use new artificial intelligence solutions in a smart and meaningful way as they incorporate new technologies available into their practices.  


Aflac unveiled a robotic duck designed to help children through chemotherapy sessions and a new wearable by L’Oréal is intended to help prevent skin cancer. 


JP Morgan: Biden Makes an Impassioned Plea to Advance Cancer Research


Artificial Intelligence was also on the lips of attendees at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. CNBC highlighted Zocdoc CEO, Oliver Kharraz, who predicted that machine learning will take over many clinical functions in the future. For doctors, that means emotional intelligence is going to become increasingly important to successful patient care. From our observations at CooperKatz, the more immediate implications for AI and healthcare are in the realm of augmenting NOT replacing clinicians, and freeing up their valuable time for more strategic work.


Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under the Obama Administration, wasn’t quite as optimistic about the overall impact medtech could have, according to MedCity News. One downside could be that incorporating new technology could add a layer of complexity, not simplicity. On a positive note, he said that new tech could lead to things like people using 3D bioprinting to get a new liver, or predictive analytics to figure out what is the right topic to focus on with a patient in a doctor’s office.


IBM Watson, the supercomputer that combines artificial intelligence and sophisticated analytical software for optimal performance, was also a hot topic. Deborah DiSanzo, Watson Health general manager, spoke at the conference, sharing the progress of the AI system including its help in managing care, accelerating drug discovery, identifying appropriate cancer treatments and matching patients with clinical trials. Watson has been an important but in some ways infamous foray into AI, as industry followers are aware.


Former Vice President Joe Biden didn’t mince words as he “diagnosed” the state of cancer care across the U.S. – and highlighted deficiencies, from access to affordability, across the healthcare landscape. Yet he offered hope with this vision: “I see the day when medicine is more effective when each and every community has access to it so that no one dies from treatable cancers that were discovered much too late. It’s within our grasp, it’s real.”


Two events, hundreds of innovations and thousands of brands jockeying for the headlines. Yet one thing is certain: as a generalist agency with so many clients across the healthcare and tech spectrum, CooperKatz can’t wait to see what comes next.

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