Posts Tagged AliveCor

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 , at Stanford university.  Kraft chairs the Medicine track for Singularity University and is Executive Director for FutureMed . 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 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 , 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 , 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 , 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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2013 J.P.Morgan Healthcare Conference, San Francisco, CA – Overview

2013 J. P. Morgan Healthcare Conference Overview– San Francisco, CA

(more details to be shared in next posts)

Whew!! The J. P. Morgan conference and all other related events are finally over. This conference is the largest and most important event of the year, for the health care sector. It brings together global industry leaders, investors, business analysts, emerging fast-growth companies, technology innovators, and other professionals in the industry. Despite 2012 year ending on a rather dismal note, improvement in the economic indicators point to a greater stability and the optimism at the conference was palpable. 2012 was a challenging year with weak domestic economy, ongoing financial challenges in Europe, contentious uncertainty of the long looming “fiscal cliff”, the big pharma dealing with patent expirations, and greater uncertainty in FDA regulations. Fundraising in 2012 lagged behind the pace in 2011. According to Bioworld Insight analysis, in 2012, approximately $14.3 billion was raised by biopharmaceutical public companies, compared with $18.9 billion, in the previous year. Public offerings accounted for $8.5 billion of this total figure, down from $10.2 billion in 2011. However, things seem to have greatly stabilized on many levels, towards the end of 2012. Market is showing signs of steady job growth, there is increasing stability in the financial markets, the fiscal cliff appears to be inching closer to complete resolution, and the big pharma has gone through restructuring and cost reduction to deal with the patent expirations and have promising pipelines that portend a sound and steady growth. In the next post, I will summarize some specific highlights from public and private company presentations.

In his opening remarks, Doug Braunstein, Chief Financial Officer for the firm, looked back at the first conference. Back in 1983, it featured 21 presenting companies, when US spent about $350 billion on healthcare. At the 2013 conference, a record 397 public and private companies presented and was attended by over 8,600 registered attendees that included over 4,000 investors. Braunstein observed that the U.S. expenditures in healthcare have increased “eight fold” to more than $2.8 trillion, which is also a driver for biotech companies to come up with technologies that are value differentiating.

For a dedicated democrat like me, politically speaking, JPM keynote presentations can be lonely affairs. But aside from the politics, the lunch time keynote presentations were made by influential figures and they did not disappoint. They included, Mr. Bob Woodward, Legendary Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist/Author and Associate Editor of The Washington Post, and Dr. William Frist, Surgeon and former U.S. Senate Leader, during the first two consecutive days. Quoting Sir William Osler, Frist observed, “variability is the law of life”, and emphasized the need for personalized medicine to help improve efficiency and lower healthcare costs. Frist demonstrated how the convergence of new technology with personalized medicine can help achieve dramatic results. While genome sequencing was very slow and expensive, now the cost is low enough, for it to be in common person’s reach and the process is much speedier. Big data however is a significant barrier, since we don’t yet know how to put the data to good use. Frist also wowed the audience with a dramatic demonstration of getting an instantaneous ECG recording of himself with Alive Cor iPhone app.

The palpable optimism and activity at J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, at the Westin, in San Francisco, resonated outward to dozens of other hotels, restaurants, bars and outdoor venues where meetings, lunches, and evening receptions, further facilitated deals between analysts, executives and other professionals. Concurrently occurring, the Biotech Showcase, an investor and partnering conference, devoted to providing private and small- and mid-cap biotechnology companies an opportunity to present to and meet with investors and biopharmaceutical executives, had attracted investors and biopharmaceutical executives from around the world. Also, simultaneously occurring OneMedForum, at Sir Francis Drake Hotel, attracted leading investors and management of some of the most promising emerging life science companies, with a slightly greater focus on medical devices. In one of the next few posts, I will discuss OneMedForum event, in greater detail.

Dedicated, passionate professionals in the healthcare sector know that for good health, playing is as important as working. The evening cocktail receptions sponsored by various law firms, banks, and other public and private companies, provided a much-needed respite from the breakneck pace of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference and other events. There were anywhere between 50 and 60 evening receptions during the 3 days, taking place in various hotel penthouses and lobbies, art galleries, and stores like Saks Fifth Avenue. The receptions featured gifts, delicious finger foods served by waiters and waitresses, rare wine and expensive scotch at some events, and of course ongoing opportunity for deal making, well past into the mid-night.

In the next few posts, I will write about highlights from specific company presentations and also highlights from OneMedForum conference.

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