Dilawar Syed has spent most of his career working with software and consumer tech, but when he advised for the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, he recognized the need for healthcare reform and decided to do something about it.
Now, Syed is CEO of Lumiata, an artificial intelligence company built specifically to interpret healthcare data and deliver applicable predictions.
In this episode of How I Transformed This, Virsys12 founder and CEO Tammy Hawes and her co-host Clark Buckner talk with Syed about Lumiata’s innovative approach, and they discuss how artificial intelligence can help manage the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bringing High Tech Solutions to the Healthcare Industry
When Syed decided to start working with healthcare, he wanted to throw out the old playbook around the use of data in the industry. Many healthcare companies focus so heavily on data but don’t create scalable solutions, and Syed was determined to do something different.
“I said to myself, ‘Look, one day if I have a chance, I want to be able to, if you will, deploy the enterprise or high tech playbook that I have had the opportunity to build,'” he explained. “Because I don’t just see healthcare as a business sector, it is a public challenge that it’s posing to all of us as business leaders.”
At Lumiata, Syed frequently reminds his team that even though they’re in healthcare and using AI, they’re ultimately a product company, and that involves a completely different set of challenges and opportunities.
“Those products have to scale. They have to be operationalized. They have to have a business user experience. They have to allow business users to measure their success,” he explained. “So with that view in mind, we had to chart a new stretch.”
As a result, Lumiata’s products don’t just interpret the rapidly increasing amount of electronic healthcare data, they use AI to make predictions and solve “mission critical issues” around cost and quality of care.
With data from more than 100 million members and their patients, Lumiata’s algorithms can predict a person’s future healthcare costs based on risk, chronic conditions, the potential for future disease onset and more. This helps providers create informed pricing and packaging for their plans, while also being more proactive about the care they give.
Risk Management During COVID-19
The onset of COVID-19 has proved the value of Lumiata’s products for solving high-level healthcare problems.
The company’s algorithms are helping predict which patients are at the highest risk for COVID-19 and therefore should be candidates for at-home care. Their models also help providers manage capacity and resource planning. And since the problems surrounding the pandemic will most likely exist for a while, Syed is working to ensure that Lumiata continues to play an active role in solving them.
“COVID-19 is a high dimensionality problem, and machine learning is made for solving high dimensionality problems,” he said. “So we are actually already talking to some actuaries and leaders to see how Lumiata models and products could be used to better manage risk of the population, come 2021, 2022.”
Syed also hosted a global hack-a-thon event, encouraging data scientists from around the world to create AI hacks around COVID-19-related problems.
“There is quite a bit to be done,” he said. “Obviously, this leverages some of the core algorithms we have. It leverages our platform as a company, but more importantly, I think it leverages our mission and our heart, around being in the business of driving better outcomes, lowering the cost of care and making sure that we are actually being problem solvers.”
Building a Better System
And though COVID-19 has been devastating on a global scale, Syed remains optimistic that Lumiata and other companies can take this opportunity to build a better healthcare system.
This work is essential, because COVID-19 has revealed major gaps and breakdowns in the healthcare system, which is especially problematic in a country as advanced as the U.S., Syed said.
For example, the increased push for telehealth opportunities is something that many healthcare leaders have wanted for years. Now, it’s a necessity, and Lumiata is working to make sense of all the new data its implementation is creating.
“As entrepreneurs, we are optimists. We have to be,” he said. “It’s our essential duty as leaders, as citizens, that we are responding to this in a positive way and use this crisis to actually drive innovation and solve public health issues.”
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