Second Opinion Episode 1: COVID-19’s resurgence with William Haseltine

Second Opinion is a new discussion series presented by the Los Angeles Times that takes viewers to the forefront of medical research and conversations about health, science and technology. In the first episode, Los Angeles Times Executive Chairman Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a surgeon and scientist, is joined by renowned biologist and ACCESS Health Chair and President William Haseltine for a discussion about COVID-19 and the public health implications of its recent resurgence. The discussion is moderated by Eli Stokols of The Times' Washington bureau. You can view the first episode by clicking below. Future "Second Opinion" series programming will feature similar topics, columns by William Haseltine and other notable experts, as well as virtual events focused on medicine. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, executive chairman of the Los Angeles Times, is a surgeon and scientist who has spent his career studying the human immune system to fight cancer and infectious diseases. He is the chairman and chief executive of NantWorks, and the owner of or investor in a number of companies, including ImmunityBio and NantKwest, which are currently researching immunotherapies for COVID-19. William Haseltine is a former professor at Harvard's medical and public health schools, where he performed groundbreaking research on cancer and HIV/AIDS. Haseltine is also the founder and CEO of biotechnology companies responsible for drugs treating HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disease. He is chair and president of the nonprofit think tank and advisory group Access Health International and is the author of seven books on health systems around the world. His most recent book is "A Family Guide to Covid: Questions and Answers for Parents, Grandparents, and Children."

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Startup Alliance Member Spotlight: THOTH

The Startup Alliance includes companies that are in the early growth phase of development, typically those who received seed and series A funding. The companies focus on health services, information technology, medical devices, and other breakthrough technologies. Membership in the Startup Alliance is based on our evaluation of the novelty and importance of the work of the companies. We provide them access to mentors, to our network, and to investors. We work closely with the members to accelerate growth and improve their branding. Each newsletter will include the introduction of one of the members. Read more about the Startup Alliance here. About THOTH THOTH was founded in January 2016 and is headquartered in Suzhou Industrial Park. The company focuses on the research and development of flexible wearable medical devices and the application of medical big data artificial intelligence technology. It is a high-tech enterprise in Jiangsu Province, which integrates research, production and marketing. THOTH has innovatively designed disposable sensors that are similar to a “Band-Aid”, integrating product and service value into the sensor so that users pay only for the Band-Aid and do not need to purchase medical equipment or medical systems. THOTH is focused on providing accurate, efficient, comfortable and safe clinical-level healthcare services to every user, and is committed to creating a new healthcare ecosystem. The 7 products developed by THOTH have obtained NMPA medical device product registration certificate and 30 patents. Our products cover dynamic ECG monitoring, continuous body temperature monitoring and fetal ECG monitoring, amongst which our core product “Wearable ECG Sensor” is the first wearable ECG sensor to obtain NMPA medical device product registration certificate, which has been used by 500,000 patients in more than 700 hospitals in 20 provinces and cities, and is unanimously recognized by hospitals and users.  

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ACCESS Health Managing Director Dr. Chang Liu commissioned as board member of China Health Policy and Management Society

On the 2020-2022 board member list of China Health Policy and Management Society (CHPAMS), Dr. Chang Liu, Managing Director for ACCESS Health Singapore and Greater China, was elected as the director of fund raising.   CHPAMS was founded in 2008, and is currently the only overseas academic organization to research on Chinese public health issues. The mission of the CHPAMS is to improve health and health equity among Chinese people within and outside of China, and to contribute to the advancement of population health research, practice, and education of areas including, but not limited to, health policy and management, health economics, epidemiology, and global health. The CHPAMS strive to accomplish its mission by fostering and promoting scholarly exchanges among its members, and with Chinese public health community.

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New Trends of Health Ecology in Insurance Industry: ACCESS Health Managing Director Dr. Chang Liu participates in online discussion

On June 27th, 2020, Dr. Chang Liu, Managing Director for ACCESS Health Singapore and Greater China, participated in an online event hosted by Taikang Life Insurance on "New Trends of Health Insurance Industry Ecology." Topics of discussion included challenges and opportunities for the insurance industry in fields of pharmaceutical and public health.   Because the insurance business has extended into multiple fields, like healthcare services, aging care and medicine, a new ecology has come into place. At the event, healthcare experts from different backgrounds, including Dr. Chang Liu, Dr. Mingqiang Li, Deputy General Manager of Corporate Strategy Department in Taikang Group, Mr. Yong Zhang, Deputy General Manager of Health Insurance business department at Taikang Life Insurance, and Dr. Yi Zheng, Founder and CEO of the Sinolation Group, exchanged their valuable insights on topics like the following: how does insurance play a role in the field of epidemics and public health, how insurance could better connect with the pharmaceutical industry, and how to compete with Internet technology companies.

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PHBS-CJBS Global Pitch Competition: Healthcare Session

On June 11th, 2020, with cooperation from Ask Health, the "PHBS-CJBS Global Pitch Competition" successfully completed its Healthcare session in the form of an online roadshow.   In order to build a bridge between global high-quality projects, the Peking University HSBC Business School-Cambridge Judge School (PHBS-CJBS) Global Pitch Competition brings together top investment firms and leading industry companies to provide opportunities for growing innovative startups to acquire new capital and targeted industry resources, empowering the startups by equipping them with the right foundational support.   On July 23rd, ASK Health, Modern aging program under Health futures innovation platform and Phoefly Health Technology will help to bring forth the next online session, focusing on the topic of Aging care.

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Sino-Southeast Asian Health Technology Roadshow held in cooperation with Xiang’an Government

On May 21st , 2020, with support from the Government of Xiang'an District in Xiamen City, a Sino- European health technology roadshow was successfully held by healthcare think tank ASK Health and Health Work. The event was warmly welcomed by investors and industry stakeholders.   With support from Health Work and ACCESS Health International Southeast Asia, we held another roadshow on July 9th. 5 healthcare enterprises from Southeast Asia were invited to the event. The business of these 5 companies range from world-class genomic technologies (Asia Genomics), to human analytics platform for the healthcare industry (Detalytics), real-world evidence platform for mental health (Holmusk), wearable robotic solutions for the disabled (Roceso Technologies), and transforming community care with innovative care models and technology (Tetsuyu Healthcare). The Representative of Xiang'an District government presented the opening speech. Health Catalyst, the world's leading healthcare big data enterprise successfully listed on NASDAQ, was invited to share valuable insights and international experiences.

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Announcing the 2020 ASK Health Futures Fellows

After a two-month selection through resumes screening and interviews, 12 outstanding future young talents from top domestic and international universities stood out from over 100 applicants, and officially became members of the 2020 ASK Health Futures Fellowship program. On June 19th, we officially announced the fellow list through a WeChat post.  In the coming year, they will: Participate in ASK Health's ongoing research and consulting projects; learn to get work done; learn the latest development trends and innovative approaches of the Health industry. Form a community where they can learn and share the most cutting-edge theories as well as practice and exchange valuable insights. Through brainstorming among fellows with different backgrounds, they can broaden their horizons and deepen their knowledge. Participate in forums, and networking events organized by ASK Health, where they can get in touch with industry leaders and academic experts to get better preparation for their future career.  

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Public Private Collaboration in Times of Covid-19 Crisis

This article was written by Tina Ja, Chief People Officer for ACCESS Health China. Covid-19 has kept us contained for over half a year now. This novel virus has disoriented and reoriented our relationships with once familiar environments, and with each other. The society that we once knew - from our governments and the global economy, to our healthcare and our everyday lives - have all changed. At the time of writing, Beijing has been hit with a second wave, after months of zero cases being recorded. This wave has once again tightened local restrictions and heightened our senses. It is also a reminder that seemingly small, yet disruptive sudden outbreaks, sadly may become the new norm. Looking back at the beginning of the crisis, the unprecedented and drastic measures taken by the government have proven to be instrumental in dampening the initial impact of the outbreak. One of the most integral parts of the "success" in combating and containing the spread was the strong and fast collaboration between the government and the private sector, in particular the technology sector. From the onset of the outbreak, China's national government repeatedly emphasized the essential role that information systems and digital technologies should play in epidemic prevention and control. The emphasis incentivized local governments to proactively enlist local technology players to either integrate their existing solutions or to develop tailored solutions for the crisis to support the near-paralyzed public health system. Through collaboration in times of crisis, China's public and private sectors have helped hinder the domestic outbreak, especially in areas of control and prevention, surveillance, and long-term management. Given the rate and the scale of spread, the Chinese government needed to rapidly gather information from various data sources. However, traditional information systems lacked the ability to collate information from various sources, and most digital technology solutions were only capable of providing limited interoperable solutions. A centralized and integrated system to coordinate these different components contributing to epidemic prevention and control was what the government needed. Alibaba's Covid-19 Prevention and Control Public Services Platform for the Zhejiang Province was able to do exactly that. (Please refer to our previous post for more information) Together with its subsidiaries, Alibaba built an integrated public services platform for the entire Zhejiang Province. The Group collaborated with Zhejiang's Health Commission in the early onset of Covid-19. Within merely 24 hours, Alibaba mobilized expertise from Alibaba Cloud, Alipay, DAMO Institute, Alibaba Health, DingTalk, and Yida, and built an integrated epidemic services platform. The platform offers around twenty different solutions for residents, communities, medical institutions, and for the government. In its collaboration with the government, Alibaba created solutions to meet the needs of the Zhejiang Health Commission, and the Commission helped Alibaba clear administrative red tape and hurdles in the launch of the platform. Another example of government-enlisted private sector collaboration is Digital China Health (DCHealth). DCHealth is an innovative company in the industry of healthcare IT and Big Data. With strong support from the Honghu County government, DCHealth built an integrated data platform that enabled the County government to be fully informed and to rapidly respond to a variety of issues throughout the outbreak. In order to conduct thorough analyses, DCHealth was given access to integrate the clinical data from medical institutions, epidemiological data from public health surveillance systems, and other general epidemic data, all into one. This would not have been possible without the support from the County government and the local health bureau. (Please refer to our previous post  for more information) Digital maps have also played, and continue to play, an important part in pandemic surveillance. Local governments have worked closely with mapping service providers, such as Baidu Map, one of the most used mapping services in China, to trace population flows in order to take preventative measures based on the captured data. Timely and accurate population flow data can effectively help the public combat the epidemic wisely while still staying informed to avoid excessive panic and fear. As Covid-19 has become more contained in China, the government has progressively opened up domestically, encouraging people to go back to work and to school. However, with the disease still roaming, learning how to co-exist with the epidemic has become a closer reality. Long-term management has become a priority for the government. Communities need to regularly monitor and track local residents' health conditions and travel status to reduce the risk of potential outbreaks and manage them. Resident's health status information is critical for community managers and local governments to quickly understand the spread of Covid-19 at the community-level and to take corresponding measures. However, the traditional door-to-door inspection methodology is inefficient and time-consuming, with risks of transmission. JD Digits, a leading Chinese digital technology company that connects the real economy through world-class digital solutions, collaborated with local governments to support local community surveys and disease monitoring using its AI enabled solutions. For instance, JD Digits Survey, accessible via WeChat, helped deploy questionnaires and capture key information such as health and return to work status. Another example is JD Digits' consultation service, which is also accessible via WeChat. The online services offer free medical consultations and treatment recommendations, based on the information from the National Health Commission. Users can also purchase relevant medicines, locate the nearest fever clinics and designated hospitals, see real-time information about the Covid-19, and receive alerts about nearby cases of infections. With backing from the local government, JD Digits’ AI enabled solutions alleviated manual labour and helped greatly prevent disease transmission by providing safe and efficient technology empowered alternatives. Over the past seven months, the unique relationship between the government and the private sector has been instrumental in supporting the fight against Covid-19, in areas of control and prevention, surveillance, and long-term management. With China's Covid-19 situation somewhat normalized, many private sector players have begun offering support and sharing experiences globally. In face of a global pandemic, collaborations have crossed market, geographic, and cultural boundaries. Although there is certainly no straightforward path […]

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Wage Digitization for RMG Workers: Advancing Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh

In the ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh, the move from cash to digital payments has opened new doors for strengthening the digital ecosystem for low-income earners. The digitization of wages provides a multitude of opportunities-from empowering women, to improving access to financial services, to enhancing the overall quality of life for workers and their families-and lays the foundation for advancing financial inclusion for low- and moderate-income workers in Bangladesh. Through partnerships in Bangladesh, we are exploring the many opportunities wage digitization offers for Fintech for Health solutions. Contact us to ask how you can be involved. Please click here for more information.

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A Vietnam Fintech for Health co-creation workshop: Discovering innovative fintech solutions for healthcare financing challenges

A full day workshop was organized by ACCESS Health International and PSI team in Hanoi, Vietnam. Under Fintech for Health project, the agenda of the workshop was to co-create affordability solutions for working women to access contraceptive treatment. Representatives from six different groups of stakeholders-Government of Vietnam (Family Planning Office), Fintech Startups, Industrial Employers, Healthcare Service Providers, Pharmaceuticals, and NGO-participated in the workshop and provided insight on how each stakeholder could contribute. The key ideas discussed were digital payment channels in clinics, microloan options with the help of bank/credit companies, and a digital platform for online and sexual health awareness/education and treatment options. The workshop successfully provided a platform for the stakeholders to talk about the affordability issue and the potential solutions that could address this problem. Please click here to for the summary of the event.

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