Bryan Roberts of Venrock, one of healthcare’s leading venture capital firms, weighs in with his view on the health tech market ‘state-of-play’ as we roar into 2020. With a track record that includes athenahealth, Illumina, Grand Rounds, Castlight, and Lyra Health, Bryan’s not a bad investor to ask when it comes to identifying the “next big thing” in healthcare innovation.
Filmed at J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, January 2020
If you are not an IKEA
fan, or haven’t been spending any time in Dubai, you may have missed the
chain’s marketing campaign to help promote its second store in the area.
Titled “Buy With Your Time,” customers got store credits for how long
they spent getting to the store.
Gosh, that’s something
that should make any self-respecting critic of the U.S. healthcare system perk
up. Count me as intrigued.
The campaign involved
checking the customer’s Google Maps’ Trip tab to determine how long it took
them to get to the store. IKEA benchmarked the average hourly wage in
Dubai, and converted the travel time into how much credit they’d
generated. It works out to about $29/hour, or $0.48 per minute.
Spend long enough getting there and you could get a free coffee table or even a
bookcase. Prices in the store include the equivalent time currency.
With a holistic mind-body approach to treating chronic back pain and COPD, Kaia Health is a digital therapeutics startup gaining a lot of attention from some really big players, including Optum Ventures (the venture arm of U.S. health insurance giant United Healthcare) which recently made an $8M follow-on investment to the startup’s Series A. What makes Kaia standout in a crowded field of digital health solutions focused on chronic pain? CEO Konstantin Mehl points to their proprietary tech, which uses a smartphone camera to provide real-time corrections to patients as they complete their physical exercises. As digital therapeutics like Kaia gain greater clinical validation and show widespread improvement to patients’ lives, Konstantin shares his hopes for the future of reimbursement for clinically-proven health tech.
Filmed at Frontiers Health Conference in Berlin, November 2019.
Swedish Healthcare seemed competent but a bit uninspired and rigid to me but my medical school class trip to the Soviet Union showed me a healthcare system and a culture I could never have fully imagined in a country that had the brain power and resources to have already landed space probes on Mars and Venus by the time my classmates and I arrived in Moscow in the cold winter of 1977.
The first time we sat down for breakfast at two big tables in the restaurant of the big Россия hotel near the Red Square, our two male waiters asked if we wanted coffee or tea and people started stating their preferences. The waiters shook their heads and put their hands up in the air. No, they couldn’t split the beverage order, they explained. We had to all decide on one beverage with no substitutions.
The restaurant obviously had both coffee and tea, and as far as I know, they cost about the same. The only thing standing between the tea drinkers and their favorite morning beverage (the coffe crowd won the popular vote) was convention and attitude. I don’t know if this was a policy set by the hotel management or a complete lack of service-mindedness by he staff, but my classmates and I felt as if we, the customers, did not matter.
Molly Coye has spent more than two decades working to advance technology initiatives in healthcare, serving roles as diverse as the Commissioner of Health for the State of New Jersey, Chief Innovation Officer for UCLA Health, and now Executive in Residence for AVIA, which mentors more than 50 large health systems on tech selection, adoption, and implementation. With such rich experience working with healthcare incumbents, we asked Molly to size up the current class of innovators, technologists, developers, and investors bringing the latest health tech solutions to market. What have they gotten right? Where do they need to improve? “We’re not so good at cost of care and lack of access,” says Molly, who also sees potential for that to change thanks to the work of organizations like Health Tech for Medicaid and an increased focus on solutions that address the health needs of ALL patient populations.
Filmed at J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, January 2020.
As a Petersdorf Scholar-in-Residence at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in 2002, Dr. Thomas S. Inui opened his mind and heart to try to understand whether and how professionalism could be taught to medical students and residents. His seminal piece, “A Flag In The Wind: Educating For Professionalism In Medicine”, seems written for today.
Nearly two decades ago, Inui keyed in on words. In our modern world of “fake news”, concrete actions carry far greater weight than words ever did, and the caring environments we are exposed to in training are “formative”—that is, they shape our future capacity to express trust, compassion, understanding and partnership.
Inui reflected on the varied definitions or lists of characteristics of professionalism that had been compiled by multiple organizations and experts, commenting:
my own perspective, I have no reservations about accepting any, or all of the
foregoing articulations of various qualities, attitudes, and activities of the
physician as legitimate representations of important attributes for the
trustworthy professional. In fact, I find it difficult to choose one list over
others, since they each in turn seem to refer largely to the same general set
of admirable qualities. While we in medicine might see these as our lists of
the desirable attributes of professionalism in the physician, as the father of
an Eagle Scout I know that Boy Scout leaders use a very similar list to
describe the important qualities of scouts: ‘A Scout is trustworthy, loyal,
helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean,
reverent (respecting everyone’s beliefs).’ I make this observation not to
descend into parody, but to make a point. These various descriptions are so
similar because when we examine the field of medicine as a profession, a field
of work in which the workers must be implicitly trustworthy, we end by
realizing and asserting that they must pursue their work as a virtuous
activity, a moral undertaking.”
The shift in thinking required to go to a “virtual first” healthcare system may not be as unique to the health industry as we think. Teladoc Health’s new Chief Engagement Officer, Stephany Verstraete, got her start at Match.com — and explains the parallels she sees between the mainstream adoption of telehealth and what she experienced introducing online dating to the masses. Think about it: overcoming skepticism, addressing privacy concerns, and what Stephany says is most important, changing an ingrained behavior — are all challenges currently being faced by virtual care co’s. It’s not a bad idea to flirt with as we talk bigger trends in telehealth engagement.
Filmed at J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, January 2020.
Since Saturday’s Nevada primaries, confusion seems to be reigning about how Bernie Sanders seems to be winning. Time (and not a lot more of it) will tell who actually ends up as the Democratic nominee. But the progressive side (Bernie + Warren) is doing much better than the moderate side (Biden/Butt-edge-edge/Klobuchar) expected, while we wait to see how the Republican side of the Democratic primary (Bloomberg) does in an actual vote. The key here is the main policy differential between the two sides, Medicare For All.
Don’t get too hung up in the details of the individual plans, especially as revealing said details may have hurt Elizabeth Warren. But do remember that there is one big difference between Sanders/Warren and the moderates. It comes down to whether everyone is in the same state-run single payer system (a modified and expanded version of Medicare) or whether the private employer system is left as it is, with expanded access to something that looks like Medicare (the public option) for everyone else. Note that no Democrat wants to stand pat on Obamacare “as is”. Everyone is way to the left of what Obama ran on in 2008 (or at least what he settled for in early 2009).
To hear Matthew Holt tear apart a pitch deck—or worse, a demo—one thinks of another Brit with a penchant for criticism and tell-it-like-it-is tough love. Could Matthew Holt be the Simon Cowell of health tech? Or maybe he’s got a point underneath all that gruff? Having co-founded Health 2.0, Matthew helped bring digital health and health tech startups into the mainstream by providing a friendly forum for entrepreneurs and established healthcare incumbents. Along the way, he’s suffered through his fair share of demos and pitches, and watched all corners of the healthcare market as it reacted to (and invested in) tech health solutions. Now bringing that 30 years of wisdom to startups seeking coaching, help with strategy, business model design, fundraising, and, of course, demoing and pitching, Matthew explains how he hopes to help the current class of up-and-coming health startups via his consulting biz, SMACK Health.
Tesla is now, by market cap, the second largest auto manufacturer (after Toyota). Its market cap exceeds U.S. auto makers Ford, G.M., and Fiat/Chrysler — combined. This despite selling less than 400,000 vehicles in 2019, a figure that is more than the prior two years combined.
Tesla has made its bet on the future of electric cars. It didn’t invent them. It isn’t the only auto manufacturer selling them. But, as The Wall Street Journalrecently said:
Investors increasingly see the future of the car as electric—even if most car buyers haven’t yet. And lately, those investors are placing bets on Tesla Inc. to bring about that future versus auto makers with deeper pockets and generations of experience.
A recent analysis
suggested a big reason why, and its findings should give those in healthcare
some pause. Tesla’s advantage may come, in large part, from its supply