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INTERVIEW

Harlan Krumholz - “We are ready to see a renaissance in innovation but we are just in the beginning of it”

Researcher and cardiologist talks about state-of-the-art health care technology

Harlan Krumholz attended Session 553 Toward a Shared Culture of Health: Enriching and Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship

Andrea Abellan | 05.04.2017

Harlan Krumholz has devoted his career to the purpose of “making healthcare systems more responsive to patients and to generate knowledge that will help them to make better-informed choices.” Aside from his role as the Harold H. Hines, Jr. Professor of Medicine at Yale University, Dr. Krumholz has a vast experience as a researcher. He is also the director of the Yale-New Haven Hospital Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation and is co-director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program at Yale. Dr. Krumholz came to Salzburg Global’s session Toward a Shared Culture of Health: Enriching and Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship to share his views on the benefits and disadvantages of health technology.

Dr. Krumholz has put a lot of effort into investigating how the use of technology can enhance patients’ experiences. He acknowledges the better capacities digital tools can offer to gather information, the support they provide for decision-making processes plus the additional opportunities to accelerate research and personalization options.

Despite his trust in technology as a resource able to empower patients and put them in control of their health care, he is aware of the risks its use might have. These risks include the hazard of making health systems less human and the potential for unintended consequences such as the overlooking of valuable information. 

The cardiologist, however, is expecting digital healthcare to keep evolving while the negative effects are addressed. “We are ready to see a renaissance in innovation, but we are just in the beginning of it.”, Dr. Krumholz says.  The app Dr. Krumholz and their team are launching, which is called Hugo, might be one of those tools contributing to the upheaval of health care technology. Hugo is a free app intended to help patients pull their personal data. Dr. Krumholz goal is to have patients’ records stored on one single platform.

Dr. Krumholz is frustrated with many health care institutions which remain afraid to share data with patients and fail to make the procedure as easy as it could be. Hugo wants to help to make the switch by simplifying the process. Hugo is always updating information on patients’ behalf and organizing the collected data for them. Dr. Krumholz likes to define the platform as a “tool to empower people and to embrace opportunities to use data in ways that were not an option before.”

Hugo’s users have full control of their records and the power to decide what they want to do with them. For instance, they could choose to share them with the medical community and participate in research studies. Dr. Krumholz finds, in this option, the opportunity to assist with the cultural change that needs to take place in the field of medical research. Dr. Krumholz supports the concept of transforming the relationship between researchers and patients into a partnership.

He believes patients deserve to be in a position “where they actually own their data and are the ones allowing researchers to use it.” Likewise, Dr. Krumholz argues patients should be informed of research findings, which could motivate their involvement in future studies. “This would be a way to respect and honor patients’ participation,” he states.

Dr. Krumholz hopes the concept of having patients in control of their medical records will be embraced over the globe. He advocates finding the tools, such as Hugo, which can make it easier to keep track of relevant information. He also stands for the benefits of bringing together communities of people facing the same challenges so they can share advice which can be verified through their records.  Dr. Krumholz insists on saying there is no time to waste when talking about diseases and promotes the need to accelerate the generation of research. He declares, “Data collection is not the solution to everything; [it] is more about what we build on top of that.”

Dr. Krumholz says his participation in Salzburg Global’s session was a very interesting opportunity to share ideas with people from different countries, backgrounds, and thoughts.  He adds, “I have been amazed to realize that in every country we are facing very similar issues.  It’s time for us to do things differently and find new solutions.”


The Salzburg Global program Toward a Shared Culture of Health: Enriching and Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship is part of the multi-year series Health and Health Care Innovation in the 21st Century. The session was supported by OpenNotes. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburglobal.org/go/553.

05.04.2017 Category: SALZBURG UPDATES, HEALTH, SALZBURG IN THE WORLD
Andrea Abellan