Conference on Fourth Industrial Revolution & Healthcare

24th -26th October 2018
Kingsbury Colombo.

The 4th Industrial revolution is a societal transformation and a radical shift that technologies have made possible. It’s about an emerging set of industrial technologies as we will soon witness require combinatory capacities. A disruption and blurring of the lines between industry sectors. The 4th Industrial revolution is unique due to its speed and depth of changes facilitated by emerging technologies such as (automation, gene drives & drones). This is affecting more people faster than ever. There is the potential for massive improvements to healthcare by the convergence of biological, social, and digital systems with a progression towards more personalized and precise delivery of healthcare.

In order to share experiences on how new technologies are transforming healthcare landscape locally and globally and to discuss the path forward, impact and challenges in transforming healthcare using new technologies, the College of Medical Administrators of Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Nutrition & Indigenous Medicine and World Health Organization Country Office for Sri Lanka hosted the Conference on Fourth Industrial Revolution & Healthcare. The esteemed conference provided an excellent platform for illustrious resource persons across the globe of various fields of expertise to share effective dialogue. Experts of various fields affiliated to esteemed institutions, local and abroad, made several intriguing and insightful presentations, enthralling the audience.

Prof Ronald A. De Pinho, President of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston spoke on ‘World free of Cancers: The Wonder of Technological Transformations’ he elaborated on how personalized and precision medicine can be viewed as a New Healthcare Model. He emphasized that by 2050, the world’s population will have risen to 9.7 billion, with 2 billion over the age of 60. A trend that will resonate to Sri Lanka as well, battling a growing NCD epidemic and ageing population will require the nation to be tactful with healthcare developments. “The healthcare systems of many countries are ill-equipped to deal with this demographic transformation. To keep populations healthy, and to cure patients more effectively, solutions need to come from outside traditional healthcare”.

To explore possible solutions, the conference discussed 7 key areas of interest.

1. Personalized Medicine: Opportunities and challenges in Sri Lankan context
2. Next Generation Diagnostics & treatments
3. Additive manufacturing
4. Digital Patient
5. Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in Health Care
6. Disruptive innovations
7. Pharmacogenomics

Speakers included a team of experts from University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, USA and Sri Lankan scientists from a vast array of fields such as biomedical engineering, nanotechnology, medicine, software engineering, information technology.

The conference included a session titled Sri Lankans Championing Fourth Industrial Revolution where Sri Lankan scientist showcased their innovations highlighting the application of the themes related to fourth industrial revolution in the health care system in Sri Lanka. An exhibition showcasing the innovation of Sri Lankan entrepreneurs was also another platform.

Dr. Razia Pendse, the WHO Representative to Sri Lanka, spoke at the concluding session and highlighted “healthcare is the sector that is speculated to benefit most from the merging of physical, digital, and biological system. While it is clear that the Fourth Industrial Revolution could significantly improve the quality of life it also poses serious challenges for healthcare industries, governments, and individuals. Sri Lanka has proved to be a forerunner in health sector in the South East Asian region for its many achievements. By embracing the potential of the technologies afforded by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Sri Lanka can turn the rhetoric of “health care for all” into reality.