Dr. Simon Stertzer Talks About Digital Transformation In The Healthcare Industry
Technology has introduced massive changes to our world in a relatively short time. New innovations have brought us to new digital horizons in nearly every field possible. From communications to healthcare, technology has changed how we live in our day to day lives. These transformations result from a collaboration between inventors, entrepreneurs, financiers, and educators, all of whom aspire to make our lives better.
In healthcare, one of those innovators and educators is Dr. Simon H. Stertzer, an Emeritus Professor at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. Stertzer is a pioneer in interventional cardiology, starting more than forty years ago, by performing the first coronary balloon angioplasty in the United States on March 1,1978. This was just the beginning of the prodigious changes in cardiac interventional care which Dr. Stertzer helped to spearhead during the latter part of the 20th Century, and into the 21st.
Indeed, Dr. Simon Stertzer was in the midst of the coronary stent development some twenty years ago. For one example, the first FDA approved sheathless implantable stent (developed with engineers Michael Boneau and Robert Lashinski) totally simplified and expanded the worldwide use of these devices to prevent relapses after coronary angioplasty.
Dr. Stertzer has remained an innovator in both device development as well as digital healthcare. With clinical advances ranging from drug delivery stents and cardiovascular stem cell treatments for heart failure, Dr. Stertzer supports such digital innovations as AiCare for predicting mortality and re-hospitalization in seriously ill patients after hospital discharge. And whereas intramyocardial treatments for heart failure are in the purview of cardiovascular medicine, Dr. Simon Stertzer has extended his interest to other areas of medicine such as “game changing” treatments for prostate cancer, like that being developed by Avenda Health, in California. As an inventor, entrepreneur, investor, and consultant, he has a contributing role in the ongoing healthcare digital transformation.
Dr. Simon Stertzer continues his dedication to continuing the education of the next generation of clinicians and innovators through his support of Professorships at Stanford’s School of Medicine. He was recruited to Stanford University’s School of Medicine by Dr. Victor J. Dzau, in 1993. He has 2 (and a third pending) named professorships at Stanford. Over the years in Palo Alto, Dr. Simon Stertzer has supported fellowships at Stanford’s Byers Center for Biodesign; therein he and others, (Founder, Dr Paul Yock and current Director Dr J Makower) help direct the bio-design educational grounding for the next generation of innovators. He and others ensure that the minds who will bring us the next digital innovations in healthcare are well trained and prepared for both the medical and entrepreneurial world.
We sat down with Dr. Stertzer to get his thoughts on the future of digital transformation in healthcare.
An Interview With Dr. Simon Stertzer
Dr. Stertzer, how have things changed as far as being an innovator in the healthcare industry over the last 20-30 years?
Unimaginable innovations have taken place since Andreas Gruentzig performed the first Coronary angioplasty in Zurich on September 16, 1977. The most incredible advances in cardiovascular medicine have gone beyond angioplasty to what we call structural heart disease. We have removed cardiac valve replacement from the exclusive purview of the cardiac surgeon to the cardiologist in the catheterisation laboratory. We have made tremendous strides in the electrophysiology of pacemakers and defibrillators to treat, and to prolong life in patients with serious and life threatening cardiac arrhythmias.
In the arena of digital advance, both healthcare record keeping and myriad forms of sophisticated imaging have revolutionised the diagnostic and therapeutic means available for the care of patients. Indeed, the various specialties, have all benefited from the incredible insights gained from molecular biology and immunology therapeutics.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an effect on pushing forward healthcare research and innovations. Specifically, mRNA vaccines have moved from research to reality. Can you speculate on some of the other uses for this technology that we might see in the near future?
The Covid stimulus to research has clearly increased the interest and investment in healthcare innovation, but immense amounts of financial investment were and are already in motion to use basic science and AI to increase the pace of scientific advancement.
What other innovations do you see coming out of the research that was done during the pandemic? Did it cause any specific digital innovation in healthcare that stands out?
Immunology and mRNA science has been given a big boost by the research of the pandemic, but molecular science and artificial intelligence were in play before Covid, and will continue to play central roles in the course of scientific progress.
Digital transformation in healthcare industry tools can help improve quality of treatment and life for patients. Do you see any specific healthcare digital solutions that might help us stay healthy as we age, or allow us to live longer and healthier lives?
As I said, AI and sophisticated imaging will indeed continue to improve outcomes and lengthen life as we move forward into this century.
You have been involved with stem cell treatments for heart failure, can you tell us a little about how that might help patients in the years to come?
Stem cells, cell components , specialised molecular therapies are all subjects of intense investigation. In the next 3-5 years, this field will possibly completely change how we tear such scourges as worldwide heart failure.
Dr. Stertzer, what are you most proud of in your career?
That is a really difficult question to answer. I think the most exciting part of my career was photographing the coronary arteries in the 1960’s, in live patients, as a medical resident, when colleagues thought it was a dangerous activity, serving no practical purpose- It turned out to be the most useful tool, allowing the development of all coronary bypass surgery and angioplasty, in the years to follow.
As a marketing agency who deals with healthtech clients, what digital trends in pharma and healthcare marketing should we and our clients be paying closest attention to?
Difficult to respond, but the digitalisation of all clinical data worldwide is inevitable…and genetics along with molecular biology will ultimately tell us why some patients get diseases, and why some do not. As a corollary, digital methods, along with basic science and genetics, will tell us which therapy to personalise with which patient.
We would like to thank Dr. Simon Stertzer for sitting down with us to talk about digital healthcare trends and the future of digital transformation in healthcare. The future looks very bright and we all can look forward to the innovations leaders in this field like Dr. Sterzer have brought and will continue to bring to our lives.
We at ComboApp look forward to working with these innovators as a healthcare digital marketing agency. We want to lead the way when it comes to digital trends in healthcare and pharma marketing. Insights such as these help us to prepare for the digital disruptions in healthcare and other fields that we face on the road ahead to the future.