Medtech, innovation

FDA: COVID-19 Put Spotlight on Digitization of Healthcare, and Importance of Data, Communication and Collaboration

By Maria Fontanazza
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Medtech, innovation

During this week’s Consumer Electronics Show, FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Amy Abernathy talks about lessons learned from the pandemic and 2021 goals.

This week’s virtual Consumer Electronics Show consisted of many brief, yet insightful discussions with key leaders in the healthcare and medtech space. During a session with Lygeia Riccardi, advisor and chief transformation officer at Carium, Amy Abernethy, principal deputy commissioner at FDA, shared some thoughts on her lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic last year and moving forward. The following are highlights from the points Abernethy raised.

Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

  • Importance around the digitization of healthcare and pairing telemedicine with other digital health solutions such as remote sensors and remote monitoring, along with patient empowerment to track health and communicate it back to the doctor via telehealth solutions.
  • Data: “Not only was data very important to how we managed the pandemic, but man was it hard to actually bring data sets together, aggregate information and make decisions at scale. We got better at it over the early months in the pandemic,” said Abernathy. “We learned the importance of data interoperability, data aggregation and the ability to use data.”
  • Innovation in real time and the importance of learning from its necessity during the pandemic and how it must persevere in the future.
  • Collaboration: In order to accelerate innovation, partners need to come together so they can build off their strengths
  • Communication: Keeping patients and consumers top of mind and interacting with them often, especially as information evolves over time.

2021 Goals

  • “I hope that we’ve learned how to learn,” said Abernathy. “To me, that seems to be a fundamental element of the pandemic and feels very important to me going forward.”
  • Continue to innovate in healthcare by bringing partners together not just in healthcare but also in the tech industry, government and other commercial entities.

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