Houston’s Health Tech Savants Advise Their Community to Be Engaged

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Houston’s Health Tech Savants Advise Their Community to Be Engaged

Hosted at the beautiful TMC Innovation Institute, HTF Houston covered an array of pressing topics. From healthcare AI to data aggregation and analytics to security and privacy, attendees had many insights to carry into their professional roles as well as their role as a patient. 


The Use of AI in HealthcareFred Trotter, CTO, CareSet Systems               

With programs today such as Iris, we can easily use machines for computation surveying and notional logic. However, Trotter claims that the average person today can compute less than our grandparents because of our reliance on systems. Additionally, there is a digital divide on several fronts: Access to cloud-level computations, ability to rent or purchase supercomputers, etc. This divide is not necessarily felt yet but it will be eventually. Trotter believes that the next era of civil rights will relate to access to the digital world.

So what exactly is big data? Volume, velocity, variety. As Trotter likes to put in simple terms: The amount of data, the speed it is processed, and processing tasks to process this data. He claims that there’s too much data, too rapidly, with too many meanings. Fortunately, there are solutions that are working towards simplifying big data such as Hadoop. The Google-backed software provides various extensive horizontal computing and enables large scale computation in a generalized way. Tensorflow is a machine learning platform that has done a lot to make the neural network approach of doing deep learning and machine learning more accessible, with interesting text processing and graphing. Ultimately, machine learning, mining technologies will help alleviate data issues.

However, machine learning also has concerning implications. Trotter mentions the black box problem which is optimizing a machine learning system to the point that we don’t track how well it’s working out. The concept of Strong AI is that humans will no longer have control of the systems they develop. Trotter is doubtful that our political system can handle AI policy. Trotter insists that we need to start having conversations about strong AI and its security implications.


Healthcare Data Aggregation and Analytics – Lesli Adams, Director- Population Health, Oracle                                        

Healthcare is a different market right now: Despite the uncertainty of policies and lack of margins being made, there is a flurry of activity. Things to focus on CMMI, M&A, ACOs, Population Health, MSSP, Value-Based care, Medicaid reform, care management, etc. Adams asks how will you invest in today’s technology so that you will be ready in 3-5 years from now.

No longer in an analog form, data aggregation has become modernized. Adams advises to never overcount data in a Medicare environment since you will be at risk of getting penalized. Data is great for evaluating at-risk patients and screening of the elderly. It’s important to take data for value-based care. Last, we need to treat clinical records very seriously to keep our doors open.


Build security and privacy in, up front, I implore you David Finn, Health IT Officer, Symantec

“In the age of unintended consequences and unintended damage, you don’t know where your data is going”. In healthcare, we have a different obligation, a different responsibility when it comes to data. Whether its AI, big data, clinical trials, anything that contains patient information should be built with privacy and security protocols upfront.

Finn asserts that software will always be vulnerable to flaws but you need to do regular updates and checks. Verico (commercial reviewer of software) published a study noting that healthcare is ranked the lowest at software compliance. Additionally, healthcare has the lowest vulnerability fix rate and second lowest pass rate. Top issues are that we can’t encrypt the data properly and information leaks (we can’t control where the information is going), code quality. So why does this matter?

Healthcare runs on trust, and there is a strong consumer shift in concern for privacy and security.

Studies show that 80% of people trust healthcare but 75% percent of IT practitioners don’t believe that the company brand is their responsibility. If we don’t do it, then the government will tell us how to do it. The Department of Health and Human Services states that if we [as an industry] can’t fix privacy and security, then they will control this matter. Finn urges that this governmental intervention is not ideal, so it is our obligation to take action.


Health IT: How to create and destroy shareholder value…and do it in HoustonChristopher McCord, Managing Director, Healthcare Growth Partners  

McCord introduces his presentation by sharing Houston’s is the 4th largest city in the country, we should make healthcare a larger part of our economy 18%, healthcare is more than 2x of the GDP share. TMCx is here to grow the ecosystem of healthcare commerce and create opportunity outside the Texas Medical Center.

However, McCord claims that Houston is filled with nonprofit health centers which are not conventional innovators  and there are hardly large for-profit healthcare companies based in Houston. We can create jobs by growing small companies or recruiting large companies to Houston

McCord advises that healthcare is an excellent space to create a company since there are an abundance of issues to be resolved. However, he claims that it’s difficult to develop a go-to-market strategy which is aligning pricing model with value prop you are delivering to stakeholders who benefit. Whether it’s population health or analytics, it doesn’t matter what segment or sector you’re in, if you have a strong go to market strategy this will propel your success.

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