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Category: WTF Health

Treating Mental Health Disorders with Art

In honor of World Mental Health Day, I’m sharing the story of PeaceLove Studios and its founder & artist-in-chief, Jeff Sparr. Jeff‘s built an expressive arts program to help millions cope with mental health disorders after he found painting to help with his OCD.

Healthcare needs a place for non-pharmaceutical, non-digital modes of therapy, and PeaceLove Studios is focused on ramping up awareness about the therapeutic benefits of expressive arts when it comes to mental wellness. Part of the challenge, however, is just starting the conversation and bringing visibility to mental health disorders in the first place. Jeff is hoping to inspire a movement. Tune in to find out how. 

Get a glimpse of the future of healthcare by meeting the people who are going to change it. Find more WTF Health interviews here or check out www.wtf.health

Egg Freezing Fertile for Disruption Says Freeze.Health

Although egg freezing was only approved for general use six years ago, the business is fertile ground for disruption according to Jen Lannon, co-founder of website Freeze.Health.

Jen and her co-founder, Sidonia Swarm, started the site when, through their own consumer research, they found that egg freezing could cost anywhere from $4,000 to $18,000 — at clinics in the same market!

Now that ‘social egg freezing’ is a thing among Millennial women who want to delay motherhood, Freeze.Health hopes to become the go-to resource for price shopping, medical information on the process, and details on the patient experience. Believe it or not, but women rallying around #NoBabiesNow don’t exactly feel like they belong at fertility clinics with so many baby pictures on the walls.

Get a glimpse of the future of healthcare by meeting the people who are going to change it. Find more WTF Health interviews here or check out www.wtf.health

Health in 2 Point 00 Episode 52

Today on the 52nd episode of Health in 2 Point 00, Jess reports from InsurTechConnect 2018! In this episode, Jess asks Matthew about RockHealth’s $6.8 billion fundraise to date & its $3 Billion raise in Q3, Weight Watcher’s rebranding itself and pushing into the wellness space, and (just in time we might add) Maven, a women’s digital health clinic, series B round of $27 million from Oak HC/FT

Making Healthcare a Consumer Biz: Livongo’s Glen Tullman on his New Book & IPO Rumors

“If we just shop for healthcare like we shop for everything else…we would take care of a lot of the problems…”

So says Glen Tullman, CEO of Livongo, a very hot startup with a chronic condition management platform that has been batting away IPO rumors since earlier this year when it closed a $52.M round funded by existing investors.

Glen has just literally written the book on consumerizing healthcare and stopped by to talk about it at the HIMSS TV set on location at Health 2.0’s Fall Conference (where I was guest hosting interviews!)

Called On Our Terms the book tries to push us toward thinking about the buying-and-selling of healthcare the same way we’d think about buying-and-selling anything else. Glen argues it’s possible if we start looking at healthcare as an ‘information business’ – and pivot our thinking and our business models accordingly to provide greater access to that information.

Are we as consumers ready for all this responsibility? Is the healthcare system ready for us and our purchasing power? Is anyone doing this right?? Glen fires back with some strong examples of where he already sees this working, and gets real about who’s in trouble if they don’t pivot and pivot fast. (We’re looking at you, payers.)

Bonus Intel: Will Glen take Livongo to an IPO like he did Allscripts? It’s a multi-million dollar question…

Get a glimpse of the future of healthcare by meeting the people who are going to change it. Find more WTF Health interviews here or check out www.wtf.health. Filmed at Health 2.0’s Fall Conference in Santa Clara, September 2018.

HealthTech Investing: Venrock’s Kocher & Roberts Bet on Platforms

“Healthcare is a journey for patients. Just helping them with one piece of it — it just doesn’t get the job done…”

That’s Brian Roberts of Venrock talking about how he and Bob Kocher have moved on from investing in one-trick-pony health tech point solutions. What are they favoring now? Well, they’re not alone in seeking out platforms…especially those that solve big work flow, patient journey, or systems issues.

The underlying motivator here is, of course, money. Or rather, as Roberts puts it, the fact that “no one in the healthcare system makes any real money.”

ROI is different in healthcare. And they encourage startups — and those health systems, health plans, and provider groups that buy their solutions — to really consider what that means.

Kocher explains that what’s often overlooked is how quickly relationships turn over in healthcare. Patients can change insurance plans every year, or they may switch doctors or hospitals based on when they can get an appointment. This thwarts development of any real customer loyalty, and worse for startups, creates a situation where they need to prove tangible cost savings or increased revenue in a short 1-2 years.

What’s an entrepreneur or investor to do? Listen in for more ROI talk and advice for pivoting a point solution startup.

Get a glimpse of the future of healthcare by meeting the people who are going to change it. Find more WTF Health interviews here or check out www.wtf.health. Filmed at Health Datapalooza in Washington DC, April 2018.

UPMC’s Rasu Shrestha on Consumer Health in ‘Big’ Healthcare

The phrase ‘consumer health’ doesn’t mean what it used to. And, when you really think about it, neither does the word ‘consumer.’ We’ve changed. Wielding the power of our smart phones, wearable devices, and proximity to CVS Minute Clinics – and armed with expectations of near-instant gratification thanks to the Amazons and Ubers of the world – we’re more demanding, exacting and impatient of the health system than ever before.

As all of this starts to change demand, supply, and (fingers crossed) our entire industry, it’s tempting to focus on what the new guys are doing. I’m as guilty as any for being fixated on the doings of the big tech companies and sexy little startups that are coming into our space. But, the reality is that the greatest amount of change will have to come from those stalwarts of the ‘healthcare establishment’ – the health systems and the payers that ARE the system in and of itself.

So, how are they thinking about the consumerization of healthcare? What does it mean to ‘empower consumers’ when your organization is bearing the risk associated with caring for their lives? Lucky for us, Dr. Rasu Shrestha, Chief Innovation Officer of health-system/payer-system giant UPMC can break it down.

Warning: This interview is long and heady, but, man, is it ever worth it. Rasu talks about the macroeconomics of shifting risk from insurers to providers and consumers, business model implications for all players involved, and how the ‘free the data’ movement feeds into all this. Last but not least, he talks about the kinds of startups he’s hoping will help payers and providers usher in this new consumer-driven era.

If you’re doing any kind of business in healthcare today, you’ll want to give this a listen. And, if Rasu wants to add another doctorate to his name, this interview analyzing ‘the macroeconomics and shifting risk environment of the consumerization of healthcare’ might be the start of his dissertation. We’ll look for our @wtf_health footnote.

Get a glimpse of the future of healthcare by meeting the people who are going to change it. Find more WTF Health interviews here or check out www.wtf.health. Filmed at the Bayer G4A Accelerator Launch in NYC, May 2018.

Livongo CEO Glen Tullman’s Advice for Startups

If you’re a health tech startup, should you be building for your exit? Does that really lead to the greatest possible success for your business…if you know how to get out?

Here’s some advice from someone who should know. Glen Tullman is ‘the guy’ who took Allscripts public via a wildly successful IPO in the late-90s. He’s now the CEO of Livongo, a chronic condition management startup that rang in 2018 with a $105M mega-round raised internally among its current pool of investors – at more than two times the company’s previous valuation.

When I caught up with Glen earlier this year, it was just after his round closed, the company acquired Retrofit, and rumors had started swirling about Livongo going public. Needless to say, our conversation turned toward ‘the exit’ and I had the chance to ask what he would tell other startup founders about going IPO. What comes next is a passionate discourse about what it takes to not only exit – but raise and scale – a startup in healthcare. For being a money guy, Glen is no sell-out; young startups would be wise to take his two cents and invest them.

Get a glimpse of the future of healthcare by meeting the people who are going to change it. Find more WTF Health interviews here or check out www.wtf.health. Filmed at HLTH in Las Vegas, May 2018.

Disrupting the Cholesterol Test: Finnish Startup Nightingale Health

Today’s cholesterol test is about to be disrupted. Nightingale Health, a five-year-old startup based out of Finland, has built a better blood test that – among other things – is about to disrupt the cholesterol test of today.

Their blood test collects 50 times more biomarker data than the standard test – boasting a 20% better prediction rate for diabetes and cardiovascular disease – and they’re offering it at the same price point as the existing industry standard. Why does this matter? Well, for clinicians, researchers, or those working on new drug development, the Nightingale test is not only offering an unprecedented amount of metabolic data, but it’s an unprecedented amount of AFFORDABLE metabolic data that can impact the health care cost curve as far as the eye can see.

What’s more – and this has gotten investors’ blood pumping – they haven’t even fully realized the full potential of their panel. Listen in as Kristiina Tolvanen talks with me about the company’s priorities to build their evidence base and find out what else their biomarker analysis platform can potentially displace. Freshly funded with a $30M round – and a very prestigious partnership with the UK Biobank to analyze 500,000 blood samples – this is one to watch.

Filmed at Upgraded Life Festival in Helsinki, Finland, June 2018. Find more interviews on health and technology here or check out www.wtf.health

Susannah Fox on Teens & Digital Health Study

How are teens and young adults engaging with digital health? Results of a national survey asking just that were released today by Susannah Fox (Former CTO at US Dept of HHS) and her research partner, Victoria Rideout.

You can check out the full report of the findings here, but I spoke with Susannah in April, just as she and Victoria were starting to draw some insights from their work.

Hearing her talk about the survey at this stage of synthesis is not only unique (most researchers won’t talk until the findings are published) but more so because it adds a layer of understanding to the final results now that they’re here.

We get her candor about how teens and young adults are a wildly viable – yet very overlooked – market for digital health…

We see how she’s trying to formulate a much larger hypothesis about what healthcare can learn about social media from a generation that has never lived without it and, more importantly, view it as having a positive impact on their well-being…

And, probably most inspiring to me, we see an approach to health data that stands out for its warmth. For it’s love, really. In a world of big data and clinical trials, it’s endearing to hear from someone who is taking a more anthropological approach and who has fallen absolutely, head-over-heels in LOVE with the personal side of her dataset.

As we all clamor for a patient-centered end, we’d be remiss to underestimate the value of a human-centered starting point. Watch Susannah Fox for a strong model of how this can be done in health research.

Filmed at Health DataPalooza, Washington DC, April 2018. Find more interviews with the people pushing healthcare to better tomorrow at www.wtf.health

What’s Next in Health Tech Investment? 500 Startups VC Marvin Liao Weighs In

What do health tech investors think is ‘hot’ these days? Where is the money going? I ran into Marvin Liao, partner at 500 Startups (a VC fund/accelerator program that has made more than 2000 investments in early-stage tech startups over the past eight years) at ICEE Health in Bucharest, Romania, last month and had a chance to ask.

With refreshing candor, Marvin weighs in on whether or not digital therapeutics, mental health, and biotech have room to grow — and if Apple, Google, and Amazon really have the power to change the future of health.

Where is he most bullish? It’s no surprise I ran into him outside the US. He’s got his eyes on bleeding edge innovations coming out of foreign markets…especially Japan. Have a look!

Filmed at ICEE Health in Bucharest, Romania, June 2018. Find more interviews about health & technology at www.wtf.health

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