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For Digital Health Care Innovation, Collaboration Is Key

John Nosta is trilingual: He speaks medicine, marketing and technology.

The speaker and columnist for Forbes and Psychology Today is a technology theorist. Namely, Nosta encourages collaboration among stakeholders in the aforementioned fields to foster innovation. 

Here, he weighs in on what is needed to continue advancing innovation in digital health care. 

John Nosta

Innovation Theorist and Founder of NostaLab 

How did you get started in digital health care?

My background is in science, and I was a research associate at Harvard Medical School where I published several papers on heart attacks and sudden cardiac death. I found that medicine in the traditional sense was not for me. I decided to pursue my creative interests along the lines of strategy, communication and concepts.

In what instances has miscommunication impacted quality of health care?

There are so many examples throughout history. For example, we used to think ulcers were caused by stress but now we know they’re caused by a bacterium. It took a long time for physicians to shift not only their beliefs but their practice habits. That’s not only mediated by science but also communication.

How do you get people to engage in forward-thinking with you?

Social media. Some people use social media as a vessel to promote their idea, but I see it as a two-way street. The very nature of innovation today comes from a constellation of eclectic thinkers and the good ideas often come from under a rock. It’s extraordinarily important to engage, to say “hello,” to say “thank you,” rather than pushing out an idea.

Where do you think innovation in health care technology will flourish in the coming year?

We’re seeing the emergence of data analytics for insight on care and diagnosis, and treatment modalities. I believe the conversion of data is the new currency of health and wellness.

Also, immunotherapy and precision therapy — where a particular cancer is targeted — is game-changing. As is regenerative and preventative medicine, which strives to identify and attack disease at its subclinical stage. That brings us to this notion of Stage 0 disease.

Another area is drug funding.  Now, drug companies operate like Wall Street banks in that they have a diverse portfolio of drugs to minimize risk. But a company called Agenus is using an alternative method called blockchain, which relies on personal financing, and this signals a shift in dynamic from control to collaboration.

Where should health care professionals be shifting their attention to most benefit consumers?

It’s an adoption sequence — innovation isn’t a switch you turn on and off. What we need is a more collaborative dynamic that physicians, caregivers and health care providers are a part of so they can all engage in technological change. 

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