Keystone Symposia Recap: An interview with Prof. Ryan J. Shaw

Keystone Symposia Recap: An interview with Prof. Ryan J. Shaw

Interview conducted by: Katie D. McMillan, MPH  

From January 21-25, 2019 Prof. Ryan Shaw was in Keystone, Colorado for a week of discussion on the scientific foundations and health applications of digital technologies.

According to the conference website: 

The conference explores the landscape at the intersection of digital technologies, molecular/genomic data and healthcare data by examining how these data streams can interface to enable precision health, drive research (patient-reported outcomes, continuous phenotypes) and impact clinical care (monitoring, feedback, adherence). 

Prof. Shaw, what attracted you to the Keystone Symposia?: 

This conference was lead by Dr. Geoff Ginsberg who’s a leader in precision medicine at Duke University. I’ve worked with him on various projects at the intersection of genomics and digital health. The Keystone Symposia has traditionally focused on topics such as genomics, and this was the first precision medicine conference focused on digital health. I was also intrigued because Keystone was a smaller conference that brought together many different thought leaders in research, medicine, and industry. I was honored to have the opportunity to come as a presenter and as a guest for a roundtable on digital health for the National Academy of Medicine. 

Tell us more about roundtable: 

Formally called The Roundtable on Genomics and Precision Health (I’m not a member but was brought in as a guest to talk to digital health) they are increasingly interested in the use of wearables and digital health tools to better understand our patients. There are lot of really interesting groups involved, including Dr. Rob Califf the former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and Professor of Cardiology at Duke. This is an ongoing working group with leaders from across industry, academia, medicine, and associations with interests to meet and discuss global issues surrounding the translation of genomics and genetics research findings into medicine, public health, education, and policy. 

What was the most interesting thing about the conference: 

There were a variety of topics presented at the Symposia. Regulation and reimbursement for digital health, value propositions, applications to different disease types, data sharing, and understanding multidimensional data. I enjoyed presentations on how to use these digital health tools and genomics data for drug development and understanding side effects as well as  those on personal wellness, and how to merge genomics with digital health. 

I co-hosted a workshop and panel with the President of the American College of Cardiology. We featured stakeholders who spoke about successful digital health implementation programs with cardiology as our key use case. Our panel included people from Scripps Clinic & Research Foundation, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, UCSF, and the FDA. It was clear that everyone is working on how to effectively implement digital health programs across the US. We are all trying different clinical topics and approaches and can learn from each other. 

Did direct-to-consumer genomics tests come up?

This area is similar to digital health from a regulatory standpoint. Clinicians are wary of giving consumers a lot of information about genomics – because what do we as patients really do with risk percentages? You might be a carrier for a disease but what is the chance of you actually developing that disease? Its hard to navigate that without the insight from a doctor. But DTC testing services can provide you with information to start the conversation with your medical team. 

Thanks for your time! Are there any follow ups related to the Keystone Symposia? 

I’m going to Washington DC next month to be on a panel on policy for digital health at the National Academy of Medicine’s roundtable

Thanks to Dr. Ryan Shaw for sharing his insights from the Keystone Symposia and the intersection of genomics and digital health.

Photo by Jeff Finley on Unsplash

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