AI and Machine Learning: Robotic Surgery – is it the future of Population Health?
Episode 507

AI and Machine Learning: Robotic Surgery – is it the future of Population Health?

In episode #4 of the HP population health series, we interview Dr. Jacques Kpodonu and hear his insights on the use of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and robotic surgery to provide better access and population health. He shares some great personal and professional stories as well as anecdotes to help advance your population health efforts. We enjoyed our visit with Dr. Kpodonu and hope you will too!

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AI and Machine Learning: Robotic Surgery – is it the future of Population Health?

Episode 507

About this Podcast Episode
In episode #4 of the HP population health series, we interview Dr. Jacques Kpodonu and hear his insights on the use of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and robotic surgery to provide better access and population health. He shares some great personal and professional stories as well as anecdotes to help advance your population health efforts. We enjoyed our visit with Dr. Kpodonu and hope you will too!

AI and Machine Learning: Robotic Surgery – is it the future of Population Health? with Jacques Kpodonu, Cardiac Surgeon at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

AI and Machine Learning: Robotic Surgery – is it the future of Population Health? with Jacques Kpodonu, Cardiac Surgeon at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2020. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

HP’s Population Health I.T. Solutions are creating convenience and choice for providers and patients. Building on over 50 years in health and life sciences, HP is delivering end to end solutions for remote care and in-home monitoring. Supporting the transition to home, chronic disease management medication adherence, health education and Remote Clinical Trial Monitoring. HP Fit Solutions. Your single source for cost effective technology enabled remote care solutions and financing services. Visit www.hp.com/go/healthcare. That’s www.hp.com/go/healthcare for more details.

Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the podcast. And in today’s Population Health series, brought to you by HP’s Population Health I.T. Solutions. We have a privilege of hosting a very special guest. His name is Dr. Jacques Kpodonu, he is a cardiovascular surgeon specializing in global health system innovation with an emphasis on addressing rheumatic heart disease. Currently, he’s a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and an adjunct professor of surgery at the University of Ghana. Dr. Kpodonu’s interests lie in Biomedical Discoveries, modernizing the operating room beyond novel design and growing the global capacity of cardiac surgeons, especially in emerging countries. With his work in global cardiac surgery, in addition to writing medical textbooks and his research work, Dr. Kpodonu is a key opinion leader in design and advance hybrid cardiac surgical rooms and biomedical innovation. And he’s passionate about advocating for the use of telehealth services, especially in African nations. Doctor Kpodonu is frequently quoted in the Orange County Register, American Health Journal and holds leadership positions with the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and the American College of Cardiology. He’s based in Boston and he sits on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the American College of Cardiology and the Society of Thoracic Surgery. And he’s helped to raise millions of dollars to finance the construction of advanced robotic hybrid operating rooms, both here in the United States and in Africa. And as we discussed the topic of population health, we have to consider the applications of artificial intelligence as well as remote robotics and what roles those those things play within within population health. And and when caring for people in remote areas or even areas where access to care is not as robust, such as in areas in Africa and even in in in rural cities within the United States. So in the interview that we have today, I think you’re going to enjoy it because of the breadth of knowledge and experience that Dr. Kpodonu new brings. And again, just want to introduce him here on this very special series brought to you by HP Population Health I.T. Solutions. Such a pleasure to have you Dr. Kpodonu, thanks for joining us.

Jacques Kpodonu:
Thank you.

Saul Marquez:
So what’s on your mind? And you know, I’m just curious what firstly, you know, you’ve had a tremendous amount of success in the space. What is it that inspires your work and health care?

Jacques Kpodonu:
Well, Saul, thank you so much for inviting me to this podcast. I’m delighted to share some of my thoughts in health care. So to answer your question, I grew up in a family. You know, my dad was a doctor. He was a cardiologist, the first cardiologist in Ghana. So I grew up in a family where, you know, medicine was was around me. So. So. So my early as well, obviously influenced by, you know, by I mean, that that was definitely a pioneer in his field. So that that is how I got into that field of medicine and specifically cardiovascular again. And I think the influence from you know, from my dad. So it’s been a journey and it continues to be an evolving journey.

Saul Marquez:
I think that’s so great that that influence that your parents could have on you and you know, it’s not an easy road. So kudos to you for first staying committed and now only just getting there. But but doing extraordinary things while you’ve been doing what you’re doing. Well, what would you say out of the things that you’ve done and you’ve learned, what’s been the thing that’s added the most value to to the health care ecosystem? And how can we break that down for the listeners to learn from it?

Jacques Kpodonu:
Well, you know, health care is complex. I mean, if anyone tells you it’s easy, they’re not telling you the truth. It is really complex. And it’s it’s it’s multi-factorial. So at the end of the day, we all want to provide some kind of value to people’s lives. And value means different things to different people. The fundamental thing is, you know, we’ve got to provide access to healthcare and we have to be able to deliver quality healthcare. So if you have that as your basic principle, then everything that you do should be focused on what is the ultimate value you bring to people’s lives. So I think, you know, we’re in a very interesting time. There’s a lot of innovation happening, especially in the digital health space. There’s that there is innovation happening in terms of payments. There’s also innovation happening in terms of how people access care. So I think bringing all of these things together takes time. But ultimately, I think innovation is going to help us to get there.

Saul Marquez:
Totally agree. And you know, too, that the topics that have just come up and continue to come up over and over is is around. As you mentioned earlier, A.I. and machine learning, robotic surgery. Right? Is this the future? Is this. Is this where things are going and how is this applicable to the population health agenda?

Jacques Kpodonu:
Yes. So this this is a very important question. And I think this is where I think health is headed. So population health, managing large populations of patients and preventing people from getting sick is ultimately where we want to go. So we want to move away from sick care to actually keeping people healthy and to do that, I think we’re going to have to enable artificial intelligence into into what we do. So, for example, right now to look at X-ray images, a radiologist usually will read the images for you. But now we can use embedded artificial intelligence where we can actually train machines to read x rays. And so which means that, you know, if you if you consider yourself in some part of Africa where you don’t have a radiologist, for example, or you don’t have access to multiple specialists, that an X-ray could be sent through a wireless network and read remotely either by a physician here in the US or by embedding AI, you could have actually a diagnosis right there at that point of care. So that may be one of the areas where I think artificial intelligence is going to be helpful in terms of how we interpret data. Also going to be helpful in terms of predicting disease much earlier. And then when you apply AI with 5g networks, which I think is going to be up and coming, then it might be possible not to look at robotics, remote robotics, right where I could remotely operate on someone in a remote space in a remote country, because this speech, the 5G speed, the transfer of the instruments from my hand to the machine in a different location will be fast enough that you could actually do remote surgeries. So that’s where I think some of the future innovation is going to happen. Another area may be 3D printing where we might be able to 3D print different prostheses, for example, like a like a hip prostheses to replace a hip implant of 3D print, you know, maybe a hard fight in the future, all even in 3D 3D print hot. So this is our research where that’s ongoing. And then I believe that that’s where we might see future advances in medicine.

Saul Marquez:
That’s very interesting, Jacques. And, you know, just to think about this future that may not even be that far away, you know, where you overlay artificial intelligence with robotic surgery. Now you’re talking about increasing access.

Jacques Kpodonu:
Yes, that’s that’s correct.

Saul Marquez:
Amazing. Right.

Jacques Kpodonu:
Exactly. And so this this will help us, you know, treat many people who currently don’t have access to that kind of care. So one of my my passions is global global health. Global surgery, meaning providing access to care to those who currently are not able to receive care. And I believe that using a AI and robotics might enable more people to have access to care in very remote locations and places where traditionally they will not. So that’s why I see the future of, you know, embedded systems, robotic surgery. And most importantly, all this will will happen with 5G networks when once we have, you know, 5G networks in place.

Saul Marquez:
It’s really an interesting topic. And as we as we think about this at the system level, right, I mean, health care is transforming. And so what are these types of changes mean to today’s health care system administrators and and what do these changes mean to technology providers as a whole?

Jacques Kpodonu:
Yeah. So I think the current if you’re a healthcare administrator, if you’re a leader for a health care system, you wouldn’t have to be very much in tune with all the the advances in technology that that is happening. For example, as I mentioned, you know, you can currently remotely have a consultation in a remote part of the world, which means that if you had a health care system administrator for healthcare system. You could potentially open up your your health care system outside your walls. Right. So you could be, let’s say, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which is based in Boston. So then you can open up Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to, you know, to Africa, to Asia, to other places, just by the fact that through digital health, telemedicine, for example, someone in China can have a consultation with a physician in Boston. So having that ability to understand what technology can do for you and how you leverage it for the good and providing value can enable you to be a bit more innovative in terms of of your role. So systems that are still stuck in the old way of healthcare administrations where patient, you know, a patient has to come into my doors before we actually have a patient, you know, physician encounter, you know, that model is changing. And so I think you have to understand, you know, what current technology there is, what is available to you and how you can be disruptive, how you can partner with pharmaceuticals, with device companies to innovate together, not in isolation. And then how you can provide those technology as as you know, as a value based proposition to your members. So I think it’s an exciting time for healthcare system leaders who are very innovative, transformative to actually going to new markets and and make new and develop new businesses in medicine.

Saul Marquez:
Dr. Kpodonu New that’s really insightful and end as we think about hospitals. I mean, gosh. My mind just keeps going to the analogy of blockbuster brick and mortar to Netflix streaming. I mean, it just it just feels like with all of the technology that we have and and the willingness of of tech companies, as well as med device companies and employers wanting more for their healthcare dollar, the the hospitals of today are going to transform in the short term.

Jacques Kpodonu:
Yeah, I think so. I think that’s a lot of pressure on hospitals. As you know, there’s a lot of major, as you know, larger health systems acquiring smaller hospitals. And so there’s going to be a lot of consolidation of care to high volume centers for setting procedures and setting, you know, kind of treatments. And it has its positives and its negatives, too. But at the end of the day, I think. You know, with technology, we may also see more patients being treated at home, you know, using what we call home monitoring systems, remote monitoring. And so it could be possible that in the future. You know, most of your care will actually happen at home with all these mirrors in your in your home where you can communicate with a physician away, way, bite us, you know, streamed wirelessly miles away. And and so, yes, I think that there’s a lot there’s a lot of change that is going to happen. But one of the barriers will will have to be, you know, how we pay for it. Whether it’s reimbursed or not. And, you know, and then insurance, you know, insurance organizations are going to have to be part of that. And so it’s interesting, because when you see big companies like Amazon getting into the drug space into the pharmaceutical space and you see Apple getting into the you know, into the healthcare space. Yes. And you simply Google also trying to do the same thingou know, we don’t know where all this will end, but I mean, where all this will evolve. But but definitely the traditional way of providing healthcare is going to change for show.

Saul Marquez:
Wow. I agree and and so you’ve had such a such a rich career in both as a physician caring for patients but also as an innovator and and a contributor to knowledge in health care, well, what would you say is one of the biggest setbacks you’ve had personally or maybe even we’ve had as an industry around innovation that we could learn from and take note as all of these new innovations help us and potentially challenge us.

Jacques Kpodonu:
You know, innovation is not easy. Any time you try to disrupt whether it’s an industry to change the pattern of thinking that exists for the day, you’re most likely going to be faced with resistance. And in fact, you know, it takes a lot to innovate because not only should you have the idea, but you also have to convince everyone around you why they must follow. Yes. You know, with you. And that takes time. And for many, they may not have the patience to to, you know, to stay on course. And for those that do, the rewards may not be immediate. Right. It could be equal to quite a long time for those rewards. So applying that to to, you know, to myself. You know, I like to think of myself as when different hats. I like to innovate. I like take care of patients. And I like to be forward thinking in my thoughts. And as I’ve mentioned, that may not be the the current thing of the day. So a lot of times you have to innovate outside your ecosystem. By that, I mean. You’ll have to do what you are tasked to do and what you your current task is. But then you’ll have to find ways and means to do what you need to do outside. Right. Because sometimes it just difficult to convince to bring an idea into, let’s say, your workplace and say, well, this is how we’re going to do things. This trial and error, you know, try an arrow that you must go through. And sometimes, like, say there’s no real word for it. Right. It’s only the only reward may happen. Maybe, maybe in five, 10, 15 years time when you will, you know, people say, oh, yeah, I mean, five, 10, 15 years ago, you know, remember. You know, this person said this and this person wass doing that. So so does the heart of innovation is that it has to be part of you and you have to be willing to stick to it and be convinced by your convictions that what you’re doing it is is the way to go. And it does take time to get people to to to jump on board.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. Now, that’s a very insightful. And, you know, something that we should keep in mind is as we pursue our our interest in furthering the benefits provided through a machine learning robotic surgery, whatever your focus is, you know, ideas alone are not enough. You’ve got to get enough followers. And having that passion like Dr. Kpodonu mentioned is is vital for the success of it. What would you say you’re most excited about today?

Jacques Kpodonu:
Well, I I am excited about the future of health care, of medicine. You know, AI, 3D printing robotics, new ways of financing global health, you know, all those all exciting areas. These are all areas for innovation, basically. Right. These are areas where, you know, you can choose an area that you’re passionate about and focus your work and your research along those lines to solve particular problems. So it’s it’s not just, you know, using the technology because you can use the technology, but it has to be focused on, you know, solving a particular problem. So in my case, from my standpoint as a cardiac surgeon, I’m very much interested in in, you know, using A.I. in digital health tools to help people manage, you know, the blood pressure, for example. Yes. You can be getting notifications when you take the blood pressure, when you take your medications, as a coach and assistant. Oh, you mean that use use of chat bots, you know, to help them, you know, to better manage the chronic conditions. I am also very passionate about heart valve disease, you know, using new always to replace heart valve using without opening the chest. What we call transcoding type of replacement. And and then next year of my way. I see the next few years of my career. I would like to focus more of my work on Africa, on improving cardiovascular care in Africa by training people, building a robust health systems and partnering with industry to do that.

Saul Marquez:
Well, you’re a big thinker, Jacques, and I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts. And you’re also a big doer. And so I want to I want to thank you for for the for the things that you’ve done to make health care better for people, but also the continued thinking that you do. So before we conclude, just share a closing thought with the listener, something that that could inspire them to think bigger and do more. And then and then we could conclude.

Jacques Kpodonu:
Thank you Saul for this opportunity. I’m really excited for the opportunity to speak to your wide audience. But what I’ll conclude by saying, you know, to to all who are interested in innovation and in changing paradigm is that once you have an idea, as you mentioned, it’s not just enough to hype the idea. But importantly, a big part of that is getting people on board, getting followers, getting people who who are passionate, people who are your your evangelists. If I will say. And then once you can get an, you know, a number of people on board. I think together, then you can solve bigger problems. We can do it on our own. If anyone says he or she can do it on your own, it’s usually bound to fail. But I think we can do more together. And so what I will say is have an idea, get a couple of enthusiasts and evangelists on your train and then together map out a path forward. And again, you know, it’s it’s a time it’s a time thing. It’s not it’s not immediate results. It may take time, but I think the journey itself is going to be worthwhile.

Saul Marquez:
Love it Dr. Kpodonu, really appreciate the words of wisdom and Dr. Kpodonu, where’s the best place where people could get get in touch with you to continue the conversation?

Jacques Kpodonu:
You can follow me on my Twitter handle, which is @JacquesKpodonu or you can also reach me on LinkedIn and it’s gonna be Jacques Kpodonu on LinkedIn.

Saul Marquez:
Outstanding. We will have that as well in the show notes. Just got to Outcomesrocket.health and type in HP thought leadership and you’ll see Dr. Jacques Kpodonu’s twitter handle as well as his link to his LinkedIn profile. Really appreciate your time here, doctor, but a new looking forward to staying in touch.

Jacques Kpodonu:
Thank you very much, Saul and have a good evening.

HP’s population health I.T. solutions are creating convenience and choice for providers and patients. Building on over 50 years in health and life sciences, HP is delivering end to end solutions for remote care and in-home monitoring. Supporting the transition to home chronic disease management. Medication adherence. Health, education and remote clinical trial. Monitoring HP Fit Solutions. Your single source for cost effective technology enabled remote care solutions and financing services. Visit www.hp.com/go/healthcare. That’s www.dot.com/go/healthcare for more details.

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About Dr. Kpodonu
Dr. Jacques Kpodonu is a cardiovascular surgeon specializing in global health system innovation with an emphasis on addressing rheumatic heart disease. Currently a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and an adjunct Professor of Surgery at the University of Ghana. Dr. Kpodonu’s interests lie in biomedical discoveries, modernizing the operating room via novel design and growing the global capacity of cardiac surgeons especially in emerging countries with his work in global cardiac surgery. In addition to writing medical textbooks and his research work Dr. Kpodonu is a key opinion leader in the design of advanced hybrid cardiac surgical rooms and biomedical innovation and is passionate in advocating for the use of telehealth services- especially in African nations .Dr. Kpodonu is frequently quoted in the Orange County Register, American Health Journal, and holds leadership positions with the Society Thoracic Surgeons and the American College of Cardiology. Based in Boston, he sits on the diversity and inclusion committee for the American College of Cardiology and the Society of Thoracic Surgery and has helped to raise millions of dollars to finance the construction of advanced robotic hybrid operating room both here in the USA and in Africa.

In this podcast you will learn:
How robotics and A.I. can add value to population health efforts.
What providers and health systems can do to leverage technology, together, to advance patient care.
Why it is critical to give serious thought to advanced technologies in the strategy and implementation of population health strategies.

Valuable Links:
Listen to the other episodes on HP Population Health Series: https://outcomesrocket.health/hppophealth/
For more about HP Population Health IT Solutions visit: https://www8.hp.com/us/en/solutions/healthcare/population-health.html