Digital health investments are on the rise and venture funding approached $6 billion in 2017 according to RockHealth. This rise of funding means added noise in the industry, not only from the startups looking to fix healthcare but also from the more traditional tech giants like Amazon and Apple making moves in to the space. So, where is all this money going and where it is headed in the coming years?
I recently attended a speaker series put on by UCSF on the latest trends in digital health investments. During the session, Dr. Robert Mittendorff, Partner at Norwest Venture Partners, shared his perspectives on the state of the industry. The major takeaway? Healthcare is decades behind other industries when it comes to technology so whoever can come in, make a splash and fix it, will be successful. Below are a few other areas where Dr. Mittendorff sees potential for companies looking to make waves in the industry:
AI, AI, AI
AI has huge potential in healthcare and is already leveraged in various degrees from helping physicians choose treatment plans, assisting in jobs or identifying notable data trends. Many companies are breaking into AI however very few have innovative applications that differentiate themselves from other players in the market. Producing evidence from the onset and getting access to data to teach these machines are two critical challenges that companies must consider and overcome. Not only do these machines need access to EMR data and claims data, but consumer data should also be considered when applicable for a holistic view.
Give Consumers Control
Tax season is just around the corner and companies like TurboTax, which allow consumers to self-manage their own taxes, are becoming the norm. More millennials are seeking out alternative models of healthcare delivery and want to be able to self-manage their own health. Healthcare should take notes from companies like TurboTax and look to replicate it. This means offering innovative ways to access personal data, reach a provider and engage in one’s care. The consumer and the consumer experience must be #1.
Combat Chronic Conditions
Chronic conditions are among the most costly and preventable of all health problems but persuading people to fix their behaviors around chronic conditions is not an easy feat. Some companies have already entered the space to influence consumer behavior; some have found success, and some have encountered roadblocks. Any company that can inspire consumer behavior change, for example help people stop smoking, start exercising or take their meds will be top of mind.
It’s been a busy Q1 for the healthcare industry with HIMSS18 and the Amazon/JPM/Berkshire Hathaway Announcement to name a few. The rest of 2018 will only bring new technology applications, ideas and companies looking for funding support. At the end of the day, however, healthcare is all about providing the consumer with the best possible care and it is critical for companies looking to succeed to keep this in mind.