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John Whyte  

Chief Medical Officer of WebMD

Dr. Whyte is a board-certified practicing physician who has been communicating to the public as well as private sectors on health and health policy issues for nearly 25 years. As someone who has been a regulator, researcher, educator, and media executive, Dr. Whyte brings a unique perspective – having spent time in government, academia, and the private sector. He is passionate about changing how we think about health.

He is currently the Chief Medical Officer, WebMD. In this role, Dr. Whyte leads efforts to develop and expand strategic partnerships that create meaningful change around important and timely health issues. He is particularly interested in evaluating consumer trends in digital health, and how innovations – especially in technology – change the way health care is delivered.

While at FDA, Dr. Whyte served as the Director of Professional Affairs and Stakeholder Engagement at the Center for Drugs Evaluation and Research. Dr. Whyte worked with health care professionals, patients, and patient advocates, providing them with a focal point for advocacy, enhanced two-way communication, and collaboration. He helped them navigate the regulatory process in a way they could comprehend. In addition, he launched the Drug Trials Snapshot program that details the participation in clinical trials for all new drug approvals – the first in a series of efforts by the FDA to help improve diverse representation and streamline the clinical trial process.

Prior to FDA, Dr. Whyte worked for nearly a decade as the Chief Medical Expert and Vice President, Health and Medical Education at Discovery Channel, the leading non-fiction television network. In this role, Dr. Whyte developed, designed, and delivered educational programming that appealed to both a medical and lay audience. This included television shows as well as online content that won over 50 awards, including numerous Tellys, CINE Golden Eagle, and Freddies.

Dr. Whyte is a frequent commenter on healthcare topics and has written extensively in the medical and lay press, including two best-selling books, Is This Normal: The Essential Guide to Middle Age and Beyond and AARP New American Diet: Lose Weight, Live Longer. He has also edited a book on medical device regulation, and authored numerous articles on drug development/regulation and personalized medicine. He writes a monthly column for WebMD magazine, and hosts a podcast that often talks about the latest trends in medical innovation.

Speech Topics

Decoding the Consumer: The Evolving Landscape of How Consumers Search for Health Information

Just a few years ago, patients would search the internet for information on their symptoms and then print it to bring into their doctor. With the digital health revolution, patients still search but they don’t want to wait to make an appointment with their doctor – rather, they want to take action right now. Why wait for the dermatologist when you can take a picture of your rash and get a diagnosis in less than 30 minutes? Don’t have time to see the eye doctor? No problem; you can test your vision online and even order a pair of glasses –delivered overnight.

As the Chief Medical Officer of WebMD, Dr. Whyte helps audiences identify and understand the latest trends in consumer behavior and explains how developments such as “DIY” in healthcare has many advantages, but it also presents challenges. He describes the convergence of healthcare and retail, and how it impacts quality as well as economic measures. He provides the insights on how to shape the healthcare conversation, especially as it relates to the consumerization that is rapidly occurring.

Artificial Intelligence in Health Care: Disrupt but Don’t Be Disruptive

Artificial intelligence and its impact on healthcare is one of the most misunderstood concepts. It is not about robots delivering patient care, but rather represents the advances in machine learning and analysis of big data. From his work at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Whyte explains the latest developments in AI – especially in drug and device development and imaging – and describes how they can succeed by disrupting current workflow and processes but not actually being disruptive to patient care. Through entertaining and educating anecdotes, Dr. Whyte helps audiences discern whether AI actually makes health care more productive – and more human.

Future of Personalized Medicine

With advances in genomics and big data, there is an opportunity to deliver healthcare based on a person’s genetic data. Yet, how much does genetics play in development of disease? Dr. Whyte describes the role of the various genetic tests and provides tip on how we all can take control of our health by combining this information with lifestyle changes.

THE FDA and The Health Ecosystem

It’s often said that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates over 25 cents of every dollar of the economy. Yet most consumers don’t understand how the FDA makes decisions about drug and device approvals, as well as how it protects the food supply.

As the former Director of Professional Affairs and Stakeholder Engagement, Dr. Whyte helps audiences navigate the often complicated regulatory process. With all the innovations in health technology, it’s critical to understand the FDA’s role in the health ecosystem.

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