A Year in Reading and Writing: 2020

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Writing about healthcare-Long Form (sort of)

Through the year I researched and wrote eight articles, most of them reflection pieces on areas of digital health that was about the work/research I was doing at that time, including mHealth design, outcomes research and implementation in the real world. Of these eight, I especially loved the below three.

What got published in 2019 in Healthcare ML research?

At the beginning of the year, I reviewed 50 original research articles on applications of machine learning published in 2019. There were some interesting findings-

  • A surprising 57% of the studies did not use an independent validation set. Amongst these, some studies did not specify use of validation sets at all; some had randomly chosen validation sets or replaced by cross-validation (validating within training sets).
  • On model performance, only 48% articles used additional performance metrics such as PPV, NPV and F1 scores.

Reviewing impact of mHealth apps on patient behaviours and outcomes: Part I and Part II

In this two-part review of trying to measure ‘impact’ of mHealth apps, I reviewed research published in 2019 that used some kind of mHealth interventions-this resulted in 30 apps that reportedly used behavioral components and published their results in scientific journals. I reviewed the design and results of these studies for scientific validity and

  • What does this patient group look like? How can we design the intervention to cater to this specific group?
  • How can we show the effect of intervention is really connected to the app?
  • After a successful study, where do we go next?

Digital Health Goes to Market!

Oh, this was definitely the most fun to write about. I reviewed Form S-1s for a total of 13 firms in the digital healthcare world that went public in 2019 and 2020 to tease out some answers to these questions. Some fascinating insights ensued-The median age of CEOs for this cohort is 50, significantly lower than the median of 58 for CEOs at S&P 500; only two of the firms could be considered as B2C and the entire cohort was highly dependent on Big Tech.

Writing about healthcare-Short Form

Around Q2 2020, I also realized that while my reading about healthcare has started getting more diverse, I haven’t yet found a good way to collate and curate this for future review/consumption. This was the time ‘Things & Thinks’ was born- it is a newsletter I publish every fortnight which has curated healthcare news, updates about digital health and my mini-musings on innovation, technology, governance and leadership in healthcare. I have published 16 editions so far and have started getting into a good rhythm. I will publish the ‘Best of 2020’ edition soon!

Reading during a pandemic

I ended up reading more books than usual this year. Some of my favorites through the year are-

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Healthcare Innovation | Outcomes Research | Implementation and Impact

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