The PHTI effort is co-chaired by Dr David Rhew, Global Chief Medical Officer of Microsoft, and chair of CTA’s Health and Fitness Technology Division Board; and Dr Alexander Garza, Chief Medical Officer, SSM Health, current Task Force Commander for the St Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force and former Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Homeland Security in the Obama Administration. Since forming, the PHTI has rallied together a number of other members of the PHTI, including the American College of Cardiology, Brookings, CVS Health, Doctor On Demand, Facebook, Geisinger, Health Innovation Alliance, Northwell Health, Philips, Providence, ResMed and UCHealth – all of whom have come together to explore how digital health services, including mHealth, remote patient monitoring (RPM) and telemedicine, can help improve the US’ future response to public health emergencies like pandemics, infectious disease outbreaks and natural disasters.
“The response to Covid-19 in the US has highlighted the huge demand for health technology solutions,” CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro said in a press release. “Our forward-looking initiative identifies what needs to change when we are hit by a similar pandemic or another emergency in the future. The group includes leading experts who are on the frontlines of dealing with Covid-19, and we hope to create a blueprint that will guide the effective use of technology to combat these scenarios in the future.”
Microsoft’s Rhew also commented on the new initiative: “Digital health services, including telehealth and RPM have gained a lot of momentum in the recent months. These tech solutions, along with others such as AI and data technology, will be an essential part of health response plans for future public health emergencies.”
In the same press release, Garza noted that vigorous planning and preparation were an effective way to deal with unpredictable situations like Covid-19, and that technology made up a big part of that. “We need to accelerate the use of technology that advances co-ordination and collaboration between government agencies and the health sector and boost the capacity of our public health infrastructure to better deal with large-scale, future public health emergencies,” he said.
The committee’s first project will be a white paper based on the lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic, the press release states. This will highlight successful responses, as well as analysing key issues exposed during Covid-19.
“Technology will keep enabling us to find new ways to solve critical healthcare problems, and integrating those solutions in an overarching framework will be crucial for the health, safety, and wellbeing of our entire planet,” said Rhew.