By IAN MORRISON
I should’ve been in Paris last week on vacation with my wife, instead I listened in to the Policies Techies VCS: What’s Next For Healthcare conference (I’ll explain why later). Matthew Holt and Jessica DaMassa did a magnificent job of assembling the Who’s Who of digital health tech to wax lyrical about what the new kids on the block were up to, where it is all headed, and what it will mean for the system. (Full disclosure Matthew and Jess are friends of mine, I hired Matthew from Stanford almost 30 years ago to join the Institute For The Future (IFTF) and have watched proudly as he has become a Health 2.0 impresario. Jess simply deserves a gold medal for wrangling Holt and all the other tech Bros with wit, charm and intelligence).
This is a tumultuous time for digital health technology because of the pandemic and the related rise of digital solutions not to mention the very frothy investment market and massive deal flow over the last 24 months. There are a lot of exciting new faces. But, many of the companies on display have been at this for some. And for many of the old guard, like Livongo and now Transcarent Founder Glen Tullman, Athena Health and now Zus Founder Jonathan Bush, and Amwell CEO Roy Schoenberg and others this has been a much longer journey.
(Parenthetically, as a young management engineer in Canada, a position, I was not qualified for, I wrote the justification for an all-computerized hospital at the University of British Columbia in 1979! I still find it just incredibly pathetic that it has taken us 40 years to suddenly “discover” digital health. I wrote The Second Curve which forecast (among other things) the rise of digitally enabled health transformation 25 years ago! So it is hard for me to get really excited that this is either “new” or “next”.)
So, while a lot of us have been in this movie for a long time, there is something very different about the current crop of offerings. In particular, technology has advanced considerably and there are clearly new cloud and SaaS tech enabled care solutions. There is a new cadre of talented and committed investors and entrepreneurs who believe they have the capability and capital to scale meaningful enterprises that will disrupt incumbent healthcare players and better serve consumers and providers. And the timing seems right as the pandemic forced consumers and the health care system to confront new ways of doing business.Continue reading…