By the time you read this, Microsoft may have already struck a deal with the messaging service Discord. VentureBeatreported two weeks ago that Discord was in an “exclusive acquisition discussion” with an interested party, for a deal that could reach at least $10b. Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal each quickly revealed that the interested party was Microsoft (and also confirmed the likely price).
Let’s back up. If you are not a gamer, you may not know about Discord. It was launched in 2015, primarily as a community for gamers. Originally it focused on texting/chat, but has widened its capabilities to include audio and video. The Vergedescribed it: “Discord is a great mix of Slack messaging and Zoom video, combined together with a unique ability to just drop into audio calls freely.”
Zoom meets Slack meets Clubhouse.
As you might infer from the potential asking price, Discord has done quite well. It has over 140 million monthly users, and, despite having no advertising and offering a free service, generated $130 million in revenues last year (through its “enhanced Discord experience” subscription service Nitro). OK, it still isn’t profitable, but a December funding round gave it a $7b valuation.
Episode 14 of “The THCB Gang” was live-streamed on Thursday, June 18th. Tune in below!
Joining Matthew Holt were four regulars: health futurist Ian Morrison (@seccurve), writer Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard), MD turned leadership coach Maggi Cary (@MargaretCaryMD), Consumer advocate & CTO of Carium Health Lygeia Ricciardi (@Lygeia), and two guests: Emergency Room MD, IT consultant and so much more Medell Briggs (MedellBriggsMD), and patient advocate CEO of Patient Orator, Kistein Monkhouse (@KisteinM). It was a very thoughtful conversation about patient care, the role of social movements, what to do about structural racism in health care, and what new legislation might come from the federal level. You can watch below right now.
If you’d rather listen to the episode, the audio is preserved as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels — Zoya Khan
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes “at some point in the 2020s, we will get breakthrough augmented reality glasses that will redefine our relationship with technology.” He went on to elaborate:
Instead of having devices that take us away from the people
around us, the next platform will help us be more present with each other and
will help the technology get out of the way. Even though some of the early
devices seem clunky, I think these will be the most human and social technology
platforms anyone has built yet.
Hardly a day goes by that I don’t read the term “Disruptive Innovation” cited in relation to health care delivery. This might seem like a good thing, given that our expensive, wasteful, and in some cases frightfully ineffective traditional delivery model is in dire need of transformation. However, the term is frequently misunderstood to refer to any innovation representing a radical departure from an industry’s prior best offerings. In fact, it actually has a very specific definition.
Disruptive Innovation is the phenomenon by which an innovation transforms an existing market or sector by introducing simplicity, convenience, accessibility, and affordability where complication and high cost have become the status quo—eventually completely redefining the industry. It has played out in markets from home entertainment to teeth whitening, and it could make health care delivery more effective by making providers’ care processes, as well as individuals’ own self-care regimes easier and less costly. This, in turn, would reduce the need for both more, and more expensive, interventions over time.
Unfortunately, disruption has been slow to emerge in the health care sector. It’s been thwarted by the broader health care industry’s unique structure, which tends to prioritize the needs of commercial insurers and large employers (who pay the most for consumercare) over those of health care consumers themselves. It also stacks the deck against disruptive entrepreneurs, since established providers effectively control professional licensing requirements, and (along with insurers) access to patients & key delivery partners.
Continuing my series of interviews from HIMSS17, is one with Robert Armstrong, CEO of Appstem. Appstem is one of the companies that quietly builds most of those ubiquitous mobile apps branded by health plans, pharma companies and a large number of product companies too. It’s an example of the hyper-specialization going on within technology, as even well funded product companies start to use companies like Appstem to build onto their partner APIs and build out their portfolios. An interesting niche and one that’s a lot more important that you’d think–it’s well worth a listen to Robert to find out more.
Health 2.0 is actively expanding Technology for Healthy Communities and looking for large healthcare organizations and foundations to help support technology adoption at a community level.
Technology for Healthy Communities is a dynamic pilot program designed to catalyze the adoption of technologies in communities. The program fosters the development of sustainable partnerships to address the social determinants of health in the under-served regions that need it the most. Over 200 innovators across the U.S. submitted applications to the program, and through curated matchmaking and access to funding, selected innovators were matched with three participating communities to conduct pilot projects.
Snapshot of the three pilots:
Spartanburg, SC:ACCESS Health Spartanburg, a non-profit agency primarily working with the uninsured population, is piloting with Healthify to provide community interventions for social determinants of health at the point of care. With support from Spartanburg Way to Wellville and the Mary Black Foundation, the pilot aims to address current pain points in community health care, such as the inefficiency of addressing social needs of patients and helping to make case management easier.
Jacksonville, FL: The City of Jacksonvilleand the Health Planning Council of NE Florida, with support from the Clinton Foundation is piloting with CTY to deploy its signature product, NuminaTM. With this technology, bicycle and pedestrian traffic data will be collected to assess current safety conditions and plan improvements in the built environment for residents to be more physically active.
Alameda County, CA: The Community Health Center Network is piloting with Welkin Health to implement a case management tool that engages members and eases current healthcare worker burden. Together, they will pilot this case management tool in four centers to help community health workers to effectively and efficiently coordinate care.
Due to the high demand from tech innovators and communities, Health 2.0 is expanding the program to new communities, tech startups and organizations who can benefit from technology adoption. By addressing the social determinants of health, the program has the potential to implement unique tech applications and address some of the most important systemic issues at the community level.
Health 2.0 is looking for partners such as foundations, large health systems and corporations who want to support pilots to test innovations in communities, interact with the fastest growing startups in the tech scene, and helpcreate business opportunities for technology companies. Program sponsors will also have the opportunity to address local health needs by bringing exciting, new technologies to under-served regions across the U.S.
The program will focus on tools that support access to a healthy lifestyle, in categories such as:
Access to healthcare services
If you are interested in partnering with Health 2.0 to help deliver technology to communities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about opportunities to support the program.
Alexandra Camesas is a program manager at Catalyst @ Health 2.0
Put the question in 1880: Will technology replace farmers? Most of them. In the 19th century, some 80% of the population worked in agriculture. Today? About 2% — and they are massively more productive.
Put it in 1980: Will technology replace office workers? Some classes of them, yes. Typists, switchboard operators, stenographers, file clerks, mail clerks — many job categories have diminished or disappeared in the last three decades. But have we stopped doing business? Do fewer people work in offices? No, but much of the rote mechanical work is carried out in vastly streamlined ways.
Similarly, technology will not replace doctors. But emerging technologies have the capacity to replace, streamline, or even render unnecessary much of the work that doctors do — in ways that actually increases the value and productivity of physicians. Imagine some of these scenarios with me:
· Next-generation EMRs that are transparent across platforms and organizations, so that doctors spend no time searching for and re-entering longitudinal records, images, or lab results; and that obviate the need for a separate coding capture function — driving down the need for physician hours of labor.Continue reading…
Healthcare is very different from most other industries. It is fragmented, conservative, highly regulated, and hierarchical. It doesn’t follow most of the usual business rules around supply and demand or consumerism. An important aspect of my role at Microsoft is helping my colleagues at the company understand the many ways that healthcare is different from other “businesses”.
Having said that, there are a lot of things that healthcare could learn from a company like Microsoft or other technology companies. When someone asks me what it’s like to work at Microsoft, I often say what someone told me when I started at the company 13 years ago. Microsoft is like a global colony of ants, working independently and yet together but always “neurally” connected by enabling technologies. At any given moment, I can be connected to any one of my 100,000 fellow workers or tens of thousands of partners with just a couple of clicks or taps on a screen. I have tools that show me who’s available, what they do, what they know, and where they are. I can engage in synchronous or asynchronous communication and collaboration activities with a single member or multiple members of my team using messaging, email, voice, video or multi-party web conferencing. We can use business analytics tools, exchange information, review documents, co-author presentations, and collaborate with our customers and partners anywhere in the world from anywhere we might be. Our business moves, and changes, at the speed of light. It is the rhythm of the industry.
I sometimes wake up in the morning and think, “If only my clinical colleagues could avail themselves of similar tools and technologies how different could healthcare be?” I’ve been using information communications technologies in my daily work for so long that I almost take for granted that this is the way work is done. But I also know that in the real world of healthcare the journey is still quite different. That hit home again last week when I asked my mother’s family doctor for a copy of a report on an imaging study he had ordered. It took five phone calls to make something happen and my only choice was to receive the report via fax machine. Fax machine, really?
I love the GPS analogy for health care. Patients need a GPS for their health, showing them the reality of their past, present, and future health. The analogy has not only shown me how I want to give care for my patients, it has also given me insight into the pitfalls of automated medical care.
Way back in the days when GPS was new, the rental care company Hertz advertised “NeverLost,” a GPS on your dashboard (if you forked out the extra money for it). I was asked to give a talk in Oregon, and decided I would try out this cool new technology (since others were picking up my bill). While I found it overall very useful, there were a couple of times it didn’t work as advertised.
I needed a sweatshirt, so I used the NeverLost for directions to a Wal-Mart. It worked! It gave me flawless directions to a Wal-Mart store…in Las Vegas (over 1000 miles away). I stopped at a gas station and they told me that there was actually a Wal-Mart 1/2 mile down the road.
Then, when I was trying to get to Crater Lake, “Never Lost” repeatedly directed me down dirt roads, some of which had trees fallen across their path. NeverLost was quite perturbed when I didn’t follow its direction, nagging me to make an immediate u-turn back toward the tree in the road.
Last weekend, I saw the film “Up In The Air.” Ok, so I am a few months behind in my movie viewing. That is what the Netflix lifestyle does for you. There is an interesting connected health analogy running through the film and I want to explore it with you in this post.
George Clooney plays the lead character and he spends a lot of time on airplanes. His company outsources corporate downsizing and his job is to travel the country showing up at a firm to give the bad news to the employees that are being let go. A much younger woman, who is up and coming at his company, comes up with the brilliant idea of communicating to each individual losing his/her job by videoconference (in the movie, it looks quite a bit like Skype). The idea is to save on travel costs by having folks like Clooney communicate by video all over the world without leaving their desks.
We first watch Clooney’s character object to the idea. He believes the idea will never work, claiming that there is a fine art to firing people and you can’t do it over the Internet. We then watch them perform pilot tests (they are on site at a company being downsized, but do the firings from a different room via video). In the end, it does not work. The last scene of the movie is about him being told he must get back on an airplane and travel to a site to practice his craft. Video just doesn’t cut it when you are getting fired.
Those of you who have been part of connected health program adoption will see the obvious parallels.Continue reading…