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Reflections From HLTH 2023: AI, GLP-1s, and SDOH

Lawrence Cohen
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I had the privilege of attending the HLTH conference earlier this month alongside teams from six of Health2047’s portfolio companies.

The conference served as a touchpoint for the prevailing trends in healthcare innovation. Here are some reflections on three key topics that intersect with Health2047’s mission and portfolio.

1. AI and physicians must collaborate

While the potential of AI is undeniable, it’s essential to remember that its role in the healthcare landscape should be to support and augment clinicians. As AMA President Jesse Ehrenfeld MD MPH aptly noted in his panel remarks at HLTH, AI in healthcare should not be direct-to-consumer. Physicians must play a pivotal role in any AI application.

On this note, I’m proud of Health2047’s portfolio company, Evidium, which exhibited alongside our team. Evidium showcased their recent collaboration with Syntropy, a joint venture between Merck and Palantir, emphasizing responsible and clinician-driven AI.

2. Thoughtful use of GLP-1s

The rise of telehealth companies advocating for GLP-1 medications was a significant topic at HLTH, with companies like WeightWatchers and Ro taking the stage. However, while these drugs present a promising avenue, it’s crucial to approach them thoughtfully.

This is where Health2047’s portfolio company, Phenomix Sciences, stands out. Also present at the conference, they’ve pioneered a phenotype test that can determine whether a given intervention will work for a patient, giving them a better understanding of their type of obesity and the most effective treatment plan.

3. Digital advances in healthcare access can’t ignore SDOH

The promise and potential challenges of Medicare Advantage were highlighted with initiatives such as Optum’s FSA-enabled partnership with Uber and CVS Health’s plans to develop a “super app” for patients. As exciting as these developments are, it’s equally essential to focus on the social determinants of health (SDOH) to ensure that we don’t inadvertently widen the digital health divide. Zing Health, another of Health2047’s portfolio companies, exemplifies this SDOH-informed approach.

As the healthcare landscape evolves, it’s crucial to continue to keep the physician-patient relationship at the forefront. HLTH 2023 reinforced this, and I’m proud to partner with founders who prioritize this principle.

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