Topics at this conference covered the gamut from unmet needs of providers through changes in insurance and payment, and how startups should partner in healthcare. Mobile health and aging in place was the one clinically focused topic of the day.
Consumerization of healthcare was a frequent discussion at this conference, with skeptics and proponents of how much change will come from consumers. One point of agreement, is that high deductibles on insurance plans turn patients into consumers who expect value for their money. Debate came from how much consumers could actually influence healthcare organizations as well as some questioning of how much consumer-generated data is valuable. One speaker made the bold statement that 99% of quantified self-data is irrelevant, and encouraged providers and startups to figure out how to find the meaning in that data. Another said that Telehealth held great promise in delivering distributed care but that Telehealth direct to consumer was a pipe dream (interesting as we’ve seen a few startups trying this). We believe it’s not so black and white. Patients are behaving like consumers in many aspects of healthcare: just look at online reviews of doctors. However, it was thought that it would not be an easy transition for the healthcare system to make the transition from volume to value. Panelist Amir Dan Rubin, president and CEO of Stanford Hospitals and Clinics, predicted that 50-80% of these transitions would fail but those that succeed would focus on coordination with the patient and work within the health system.
John Mattison, CMIO of Kaiser Permanente, and also one of our favorite speakers at FutureMed, was optimistic and felt that collaboration between patients and providers and understanding behavioral economics were some of the keys to this massive disruptive change that he saw as inevitable.
On the topic of how startups should look for partnerships, the venture capitalists and healthcare organizations were opposed. Perhaps this was related to conference chair Anne DeGheet’s comment that it was the easiest time to start a healthtech company and the hardest time to sell to healthcare organizations. ( Mattison also observed that the Federal government was creating disincentives to healthcare innovation through regulations). VCs gave the startups in attendance the advice to “do something audacious, reinvent healthcare” while the hospital representatives said “do something we can implement.” If you follow Clayton Christenson, you’ll know that those who don’t disrupt themselves are disrupted, and yet hospitals can hardly stop everything and create entirely new models. However rising costs, aging populations, and a looming shortage of healthcare professionals will definitely require new approaches. How do you think the change will come?
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