Alex Gilbert, Head of Digital Medicines Development & Life Sciences Partnerships at Huma, sat down with me to explore the concepts of virtual & decentralized trials, digital biomarkers, digital-first delivery of care, at-home hospitals, and many other thought-provoking topics.
Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:
Q: Tell us a little bit about this concept of the hospital at home platform. What is it and how does it work?
A: Absolutely. Huma was very much initially founded with the idea of connecting patients to physicians outside of the hospital. The problem that we had in mind was that, realistically, patients spend 99% of their time, in most cases, in most conditions, outside of the hospital. What you’re missing out on is most of the information and most of the data that’s really going to allow you to understand how their condition is progressing or how it’s occurring. You only get that 1% or even less than 1% of when they’re in the clinic live, face-to-face with a clinician.
We really set out to look at how we can try and capture as much of that 99% as possible in order to actually augment the way in which we can look at healthcare. If you think about it, there have been errors within healthcare and a lot of them have been tied to the level of insight that we can get. The first physician’s notes were found back in ancient Egypt and they were obviously written down. You then had the advancement of things like X-rays, blood tests, and various different insights tools. We think the next insight tool is really going to be down to that digital data piece. We think it’s potentially the most exciting one yet because for the first time, it’s not only novel insight but it’s continuous. All of those things, that genomic analysis and X-ray or blood tests, they are all episodic, they’re a point in time.
Now we all carry around these sensors we call phones that are continuously collecting a wealth of digital data about us. That’s really what allows us to set up these hospital-at-home projects or virtual wards utilizing the Huma platform. Which essentially consists of a patient-facing application, a web-based dashboard that then goes to the clinician and allows them to review all of that information in real-time. Then we tailor it to specific conditions. I think a key part of our success has actually been looking at the whole problem rather than necessarily looking at the problem within a disease indication.
We can actually flex and change the platform and we’ve created a tool that’s flexible enough that we can do that. So, when we approach hospitals and say, “Hey, let’s expand the amount of work that you can do, and the way in which you do it. It’s something that needs to happen with the lack of resources that most hospitals have across the world now. Let’s do it in a way where we actually do it at an enterprise-level rollout. Instead of just focusing on one condition or one specific situation, let’s do it for all of your conditions. Let’s actually change the way in which you operate by setting up these hospital-at-home projects.”
For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Alex Gilbert, or listen to the podcast version, below.
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