NC Entrepreneur Says Triangle Can Become Digital Health Leader

The speaker lineup for the upcoming Lifecycle of Digital Health Science conference on April 12 is loaded with successful experienced health professionals. Take Michael Levy, MBA, for example. He currently serves as CEO for Blue Door (a network accelerator) and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the UNC Center for Innovation.We caught up with him to ask him a few questions ahead of the conference.Q: You are very active in fostering the digital health community in the Triangle. Thank you for leading the charge! What is the best thing you would say our community is doing in digital health, and what is one thing could we be doing better?A: There are many parts of the community doing some great work in the Digital Health space, from innovation labs in academic medical centers to digital health start-ups to large industry R&D efforts – there’s plenty of independent activity. The one thing we can do better is to tie it all together with a concerted mission and vision that serves the entire ecosystem and propels the Triangle into a leadership position among digital health hubs.Q: In the field of digital health, there has been a lot of hype that goes unrealized. What realistically are you most excited about actually working out in the coming years?A: I believe the opportunities afforded by cognitive computing and machine learning are really exciting, because they offer us ways to engage the consumer in their health and care in a very timely, relevant and personal way. Additionally, AI has the potential to provide scale to health care operations, freeing up valuable provider resources to focus on where they are most needed, as well as the ability to extract insights from large structured and unstructured data sets.Q: Why do you think digital health take-up in the Triangle has rather lagged behind other major hubs?A: It’s certainly not a talent, resource or expertise issue in my view. We just haven’t built the infrastructure and funding mechanisms to incentivize collaboration across the digital health ecosystem at a regional and state level. By leveraging our preeminent position in biotech, life sciences, and healthcare delivery, I firmly believe there is no reason why the Triangle can’t become a digital health leader if we nurture the ecosystem and provide the infrastructure to support it.Q: If I’m someone who doesn’t know much about digital health but wants to learn more about it generally, or get involved locally, what would you suggest?A: There’s a number of exciting opportunities to get involved in the digital health space, from the Digital Health Innovation Sprints currently being hosted at UNC, to Health 2.0 events, the Triangle Health Innovation Challenge (THInC), Bluedoor’s monthly Digital Health Happy Hour, and of course Duke’s mHealth program, to name but a few.Q: We are excited to hear you speak on digital health viability at the conference. Based on your experience, what would you say is the biggest challenge confronting the success of a digital health solution?A: At the conference, I’ll be talking about the need to understand the healthcare landscape – from who your customers are, to how your solution can fit into the clinical workflow, to the regulatory environment, to product-market fit through engagement and usability. Above all, I’ll be emphasizing the need to lock down your validation roadmap.To hear more from Michael and other regional leaders in digital health, be sure to RSVP (for FREE) to the conference on Wednesday, 4/12, at Duke!

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