American College of Cardiology tech chief on the future of digital health

Ami Bhatt, MD, chief innovation officer of the American College of Cardiology, has been an advocate for digital health long before the COVID-19 pandemic expanded its adoption and use.

Dr. Bhatt, who is also the director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s adult congenital heart disease program and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, began working in virtual cardiac care around 2013. However, "nobody really wanted to join me in this effort," she said in an interview with HealthTech Magazine published June 6. Then the pandemic happened.

Here are a few highlights from her talk with HealthTech:

1. COVID-19 made people understand the value of digital health: The pandemic allowed providers and organizations to build the workflows and infrastructure that nobody had invested in previously, to deliver care to people in the communities where they live, she said.

2. All the parties in the sector must work together: If academic institutions, startups, engineering schools, providers, health systems, payers, and venture capital and private equity firms work outside of their silos, the growth of digital health will help improve the practice of medicine and the delivery of healthcare, she said.

3. There are many ways to be innovative: Future innovations include using analytics and machine learning to diagnose heart conditions, virtual reality training for surgeons and healthy food as prescription medicine, she said.

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