The Future of Diagnostics: Consumer Driven Healthcare – VLAB event


Dr. Daniel Kraft is a Stanford and Harvard trained physician-scientist and moderated the panel event at VLAB http://www.vlab.org , at Stanford university.  Kraft chairs the Medicine track for Singularity University and is Executive Director for FutureMed www.futuremed2020.com . In this digital health age, healthcare will have to move out of silos, said Kraft.  Touting the future of wearable devices while demonstrating the four devices he had on his body, he prophesied, that there will now be disruptive innovation in healthcare, which may begin with an answer to the imminent looming question, “What do we do with all the data?”  We need just the right amount of information in a continuous and proactive manner, concluded Kraft.

Scanadu www.scanadu.com is one such technology, seeking to empower average people with medical tools that track their own health in real time.  Dr. Walter De Brouwer, entrepreneur/ investor, and CEO of Scanadu, demonstrated Scanadu Scout Vital Signs Monitor, a device that can measure vital signs like blood pressure, temperature, pulse oximetry, and respiratory rate in about 10 seconds.  The device is capable of communicating the results to an iPhone app, which allows users to track their health indicator over time, and share them with their care providers.  Not only do the patients get a picture of their health but they get it in a way that is easy to understand and they become more informed participants in their care.

Dr. David Albert, physician, inventor, serial entrepreneur and CEO of AliveCor www.alivecor.com , continued on the theme of patient responsibility, saying that it is one of the greatest challenges facing healthcare industry today, to get people to assume responsibility for their own care.  As the pressures for cost containment are mounting and increasingly as patients will be held responsible for financing their care, they will become more engaged participants.  Talking about his iPhone ECG, he insisted, it is a tool, not a toy.  Albert shared a takeaway from his work, “it always takes longer and costs more to develop” a new technology.  Looking ahead, according to Albert, we will have to make the paradigm shift from treating people, to keeping them healthy”, but the challenge is that no one is paying for that, right now.  His advice to the startups, “follow the money”, where there is high cost, that is where the pain points are.

Marco Smit leads the rapidly growing market intelligence business unit of Health 2.0 www.health2con.com , and mentors startups in Stanford’s StartX program.  Smit observed, there is $700 billion of waste in healthcare industry that includes fraud and inefficiency.  It is a challenge that needs to be solved.  Data is the fuel for innovation, said Smit.  But he cautioned, there will be a lot of churn and successful startups will differentiate themselves, with a strong value proposition.

Anne DeGheest, entrepreneur, angel investor, mentor for early stage startups, and founder of MedStars Ventures Partners and HealthTech Capital www.medstars.com , disagreed with her colleague, saying, “data for the sake of data doesn’t do anything.”  She offered that startups will need to focus on the pain point they are seeking to solve and the long term value proposition they are offering.  She suggested, startups go deep enough and talk to the users.  Looking ahead, said DeGheest, change is hard but it is coming and consumers will be paying more for healthcare, in future.

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