Risk Insider: Jeff Driver

Hooba-Dooba! Digital Health Care Reality

By: | May 1, 2017 • 2 min read
Jeff Driver is the Chief Risk Officer- Stanford University Medical Center and the Chief Executive Officer - The Risk Authority, LLC. He can be reached at [email protected]

“Jane, stop this crazy thing!” George yells.

He’s stuck on a treadmill that he can’t turn off, and seems in peril of being flung into the sky. In addition to “Hooba-Dooba,” (indicating both surprise and appreciation) this is George Jetson’s common response to interacting with the once fantastical technological advances of his life in Orbit City.

The Jetsons predicted it all. From video calls to smart homes, delivery drones to flying cars, the technology once only imagined by the animators at Hanna-Barbera has altered the shape of contemporary life. These technologies are no longer a futuristic dream; rather, they are an emerging reality.

Health care too is embracing revolutionary and rapidly evolving digital medicine that a decade ago we could hardly conceive of.

Experts explain digital medicine as the convergence of the digital and genomic revolutions with health care to better track, manage and improve our health to live better, more productive lives and to improve society. In many cases, it can also impact inefficiencies in health care delivery, such as improve access to care, reduce health care costs, increase quality, and make the delivery of care more personalized and precise.

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For examples, several apps exist for the early detection of melanoma, offering users the ability to snap photos of moles and skin conditions and send them in for almost instant analysis. Smart, cell-based therapeutics are being developed that can monitor and even regulate insulin delivery through the use of a smart phone. There are also apps to assist with mental health, including guided meditation, reduction in negative thinking, and mindfulness. These programs integrate almost seamlessly with our every day lives.

But in health care risk management, we know that it’s not quite so simple, and the “rewards” that digital medicine can offer do not come without risk. It’s our job to identify and mitigate these emerging risks; which can have potentially damaging effects on patients and organizations:

Cyber security/Privacy/Hacking: As medical devices are increasingly connected to the internet, hospital IT systems, and other medical devices, there is a higher risk of hackers collecting sensitive information, or worse, interrupting life-critical systems that protect human life.

Misdiagnosis/Inaccuracy: While rife with potential for preventative health care, some apps have been developed without being validated for diagnostic accuracy or utility using the highest standards in research methods.

Ethical Breaches: As digital data production, storage, and analysis continue to advance, the way that biomedical research is conducted has changed; the ethics of data-driven biomedical research must keep pace with these transformative developments.

With of each of these risks arise salient questions, potential vulnerabilities, and possible solutions, which we will explore further in PART II of this segment. Digital medicine will continue to grow and spread, in fact, the FDA has allocated resources to facilitate its development. We look to a future full of both risk and possibility, particularly as these rapidly evolving technologies are applied in healthcare.

Hooba-dooba indeed.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

2017 Risk All Stars

Immeasurable Value

The 2017 Risk All Stars strengthened their organizations by taking ownership of improved risk management processes and not quitting until they were in place.
By: | September 12, 2017 • 3 min read

Being the only person to hold a particular opinion or point of view within an organization cannot be easy. Do the following sound like familiar stories? Can you picture yourself or one of your risk management colleagues as the hero or heroine? Or better yet, as a Risk & Insurance® Risk All Star?

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One risk manager took a job with a company that was being spun off, and the risk management program, which was built for a much larger company, was not a good fit for the spun-off company.
Rather than sink into inertia, this risk manager took the bull by the horns and began an aggressive company intranet campaign to instill better safety and other risk management practices throughout the organization.

The risk manager, 2017 Risk All Star Michelle Bennett of Cable One, also changed some long-standing brokerage relationships that weren’t a good fit for the risk management and insurance program. In her first year on the job she produced premium savings and in her second year is in the process of introducing ERM company-wide.

Or perhaps this one rings a bell. The news is trickling out that a company is poised to dramatically expand, increasing the workforce three- or four-fold. Having this knowledge with certainty would be a great benefit to a risk manager, who could begin girding safety, workers’ comp and related programs accordingly. But things sometimes don’t work that way, do they? Sometimes the risk manager is one of the last people to know.

The Risk All Star Award recognizes at its core, creativity, perseverance and passion. The 13 winners of this year’s award all displayed those traits in abundance.

In the case of 2017 Risk All Star winner Steve Richards of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the news of an expansion spurred him to action. He completely overhauled the company’s workers’ compensation program and streamlined its claim management system. The results, even with a much higher headcount, were reduced legal costs, better return-to-work experiences for injured workers and a host of other improvements and savings.

The Risk All Star Award recognizes at its core, creativity, perseverance and passion. The 13 winners of this year’s award all displayed those traits in abundance. Sometimes it took years for a particular risk solution, as promoted by a risk manager, to find acceptance.

In other cases a risk manager got so excited about a solution, they never even considered getting turned down. They just kept pushing until they carried the day.

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Butler University’s Zach Finn became obsessive about what he felt was a lackluster effort on the part of the insurance industry to bring in new talent. The former risk manager for the J.M. Smucker Co. settled on the creation of a student-run captive to give his risk management students the experience they would need to get hired right out of college.

The result was a better risk management program for the university’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and immediate traction in the job market for Finn’s students.

A few of our Risk All Stars told us that the results they are achieving were decades in the making. Only by year-in, year-out dedication to gaining transparency about her co-op’s risks and learning more and more about her various insurance carriers, did Growmark Inc.’s Faith Cring create a stalwart risk management and insurance program that is the envy of the agricultural sector. Now she’s been with some of her insurance carriers more than 20 years — some more than 30 years.

Having the right idea and not having a home for it can be a lonely, frustrating experience. Having the creativity, the passion and perhaps, most importantly, the perseverance to see it through and get great results makes you a Risk All Star. &

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Risk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and passion.

See the complete list of 2017 Risk All Stars.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]