Daylong gathering brings together students, scientists, and senior healthcare professionals

Healthcare has enjoyed the benefits of technology for generations but when it comes to bringing together data analytics, healthcare and technology, the space is nascent and undefined. The Healthcare Data Analytics program at the MGH Institute of Health Professions is helping to maximize the myriad potential. 

Over this past weekend inside 1 Constitution Wharf, the MGH Institute hosted the Consortium for Health Innovation Partnerships conference, one of two held nationally this year. The goal of this conference hackathon was humanitarian health technology, electronic medical records, and mobile integrated patient reported outcomes – with a focus on innovation and execution. 

“Our program is a leader in research and innovation, and we work very closely with partners globally and locally, so we're tethered to reality and the needs of communities, and macroeconomic trends,” said Shuhan He, program director of the Masters in Healthcare Data Analytics and emergency room doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital. “So, we're right at the intersection of academia, nonprofits, and innovation at the private sector. What this conference is really about is bringing them together to not just talk, but to take action.”

Three themes emerged from the daylong conference. The first was digital health records in underserved communities and international settings where a lack of infrastructure means paper records are used. During the conference, solutions that folded in health records were presented, and that’s not all. 

“An artificial intelligence (A.I.) solution was proposed to help suggest doctors take the data from the electronic health record (EHR) in underserved Caribbean communities to create a better treatment plan tailored to local trends in disease and resources,” said He.

International telehealth in conflict zones such as Ukraine and patient report outcomes in academics were other topics of discussion and presentations.

On hand to provide input and guidance were three judges with a breadth and wealth of experience: Mark Zang, Founder and President of the American Medical Extended Reality Association and 
Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Jeff Hirsch, former Chief Medical Officer at GE Healthcare; and Chris Martinez, who oversees a Brooklyn based accelerator called BK-XL that invests in underrepresented founders. 

“So, a really different enterprise, different experiences and backgrounds, all giving feedback to the students,” said He. “It was incredible seeing the collaboration between all levels of expertise, from new students to senior scientists and healthcare professionals work on these problems. We were just so excited to see people come together.”

It was a day, He said, that advanced the healthcare data analytics field and the IHP’s Healthcare Data Analytics program. 

“Data analytics and technology is an applied practice, just like medicine,” said He. “To be a doctor. I not only have to study how to be a doctor, but I also have to apprentice and understand the practice of medicine. Data and technology are no different. You can't learn it effectively in a textbook. You have to apply those skills to problems, and you have to build experience. So, this experiential learning conference wasn’t just for our students. but for our community and for the national and international folks who flew in. 

“We had faculty from all over the world attend, but also locally here in Boston gathering right on the Charlestown waterfront. This is not just for the IHP and our data analytics program, but for the international community of health, data, and innovation.”

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