Posts Tagged Digital Health
As coronavirus is raging on, entrepreneurs and scientists are called upon to come up with innovative ways to deal with this deadly virus. For instance, after 11 Israelis were quarantined after disembarking from a cruise ship in Japan, Israel has become a “Living Lab” for technologies to treat the virus. Israel, which has a large digital health sector, put out calls to entrepreneurs for proposals for new solutions to contain and combat the disease. Meanwhile, China is also taking a lead in exploring how futuristic technologies powered by artificial intelligence can help identify coronavirus symptoms, find new treatments, and track the spread of the disease. Chinese scientists sequenced its genome and shared around the world within weeks.
Unlike MERS, but more like SARS, Coronavirus is very contagious and has a long incubation period when people feel fine as they unknowingly walk around, infecting others. After identifying infected people, it is challenging to care for them while trying to contain the disease. Some healthcare workers who cared for coronavirus patients have themselves died of infection. We also heard that even after learning of highly contagious and deadly CD-19 coronavirus, some healthcare workers from the USA were “improperly deployed” when sent to assist in bringing home the patients infected in China.
In caring for coronavirus patients, human touch needs to be avoided and assistance should be provided remotely. Robots and automated technologies are of great help here. Robots are being used to disinfect rooms, take laundry items, help check for symptoms and disease progression, deliver medications and communicate with family and healthcare providers. Robots help disinfect surfaces and help in killing viruses and bacteria by emitting ultraviolet light. Drones and self-driving vehicles can deliver medications and supplies, petrol public places, spray disinfectants and do general surveillance.
Silicon Valley’s largest entrepreneurship conference, TiEcon 2020 has a dedicated track on health technologies. Amidst growing fears of coronavirus becoming a pandemic, emerging technologies like drones, robots, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning Digital Health and TeleHealth are likely to be game changers. Investors and entrepreneurs alike are focusing on the space with great interest. There will likely be exciting conversations as entrepreneurs from several countries (depending on travel restrictions), converge at TiEcon 2020, at Santa Clara Convention Center in CA, on May 8 and 9. If interested, you can register for the conference at www.TiEcon.org
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Big Data -Cloud -IoT-Software -Mobile -Entrepreneurship, Biotech - Medical Device - Life Science - Healthcare on April 30, 2015
Are you still playing inside the boundaries of disciplines? Play on the boundaries, instead. There are huge opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation on the boundaries of disciplines. All industries are impacted and transformed by the increasing interconnectedness with technological advances in IoT, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Machine Learning and more. This transformation is most apparent in heavily regulated and somewhat slower to change industries like, “Oil and Gas” and “Healthcare”. Any industry that worked in a silo before is likely to leap forward into the new age. These areas are likely to experience most disruptive innovation and are brimming with opportunities for entrepreneurs thinking outside the discipline boundaries.
Oil & Gas industry is on the verge of major transformation. Entrepreneurs with industry specific innovations to enhance operational efficiency and minimize negative environmental impact, will score big. Most recent environmental concerns have been around the impact of fracking or hydraulic fracturing, a process by which water and sand mixture is pumped deep below the earth’s surface, into earth’s dense shale rock formations. Fracking produces many long narrow fractures in the rock formation and helps convert organic matter embedded within the rock to synthetic oil and gas. It has vastly improved oil production. It is estimated that what can be produced by a vertical well in 30 to 35 years, can be done in a horizontal well, in as short a span as 6 months. However, recent studies indicate that fracking has led to an increase in seismic activity. Thus far the activity was minimal but it has now been growing in both strength and number, with increase in fracking. Many Oil and Gas companies have established innovation centers in Silicon Valley to assess and garner technological help to expedite learning about environmental impact and explore if technology might help intervene to minimize negative impact, in addition to enhancing operational efficiency.
Healhcare has also emerged as the most attractive area, pulling in major investment dollars. Internet of things, for instance, will help bring in focus, the prospect of connected health. As increasingly incentives are tied to preventative medicine, providers will look for opportunities for seamless, integrated care. Cloud and big data will enhance the possibility to learn from collective knowledge, access wisdom of the crowd, and enhance quality of health with lesser investment of resources. Big pharmaceutical companies and biotech will look to utilizing technology in bringing therapies to market, with minimal wastage of resources and dollars. Opportunities exist to transform the process of drug development http://bit.ly/1xzpdFx& http://bit.ly/14pkhRO , to digital health advances enabling early identification and treatment of diseases http://bit.ly/11MlM9e , to even better monitoring of medical adherence. While reimbursement is increasingly emerging as a major challenge, insurance providers will look for disruptive, and long term, cost saving innovations.
TiEcon 2015, largest entrepreneurship conference, taking place at Santa Clara Convention Center on May 15 and 16, will feature these new tracks on healthcare http://bit.ly/1OOCV9Z and oil and gas http://bit.ly/1HqQkoc, in addition to featuring companies and speakers making waves in Data Economy, Internet of Things, and Cloud Security tracks.
Register for TiEcon and come and play on the boundaries of disciplines; jump from track to track, network with multi-track participants, angels, VCs, and learn and get inspired. TiEcon will take place at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA on May 15 and 16. Register through this link https://www.123signup.com/register?id=ygszb&ref=4182698 to get a $100 discount on the two-day conference at the non-member rate. When prompted, enter the promo code VOL500 at checkout.
PS – I am looking to fill a number of full time and contract engineering opportunities in mechanical, quality, software, electrical, firmware engineering in CA & TX. Details are posted in JOBS category at www.darshanavnadkarni.wordpress.com . Some of my full time opportunities are very exciting with a huge potential upside and truly disruptive technology. Resumes can be sent to wd_darshana at hotmail dot com
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Big Data -Cloud -IoT-Software -Mobile -Entrepreneurship, Biotech - Medical Device - Life Science - Healthcare on April 24, 2015
Healthcare industry is poised to go through impressive transformation, in the coming decade. What some experts have dubbed a 3D transformation, changes in life sciences are happening through massive changes in Diagnostics, Digital Devices, and Data.
Consider this. TiEcon, the largest entrepreneurship conference, focused for several years on computing, storage, hardware, software, firmware, semi conductors, gaming and mobile technologies. HealthTech was not the focus at TiEcon. But HeathTech has recently emerged as one of the hottest areas to invest. Besides offering a special healthcare focused track, on day 2, May 16th, healthtech is integrally woven in most of the other tracks, at TiEcon 2015. Technology has impacted all areas of our lives such that no entrepreneur could look at any industry as a silo. To register go to https://www.123signup.com/register?id=ygszb&ref=4182698 to get a $100 discount on the two-day conference at the non-member rate. When prompted, enter the promo code VOL500 at checkout:
In fact, most of the disruptive innovation is happening on the boundaries of disciplines. This is most pertinent in life science, hospitals and healthcare, healthtech, biotech, pharma, drug development, medtech, digital health, mobile health, wearables space. Every new intersection point between health and an emerging technology, brings its own terminology. Collectively, the aim is to positively transform the quality of lives of healthy and sick people. So how is life science focus woven across several tracks at TiEcon?
John Kapoor, a serial entrepreneur, who is number 577 on Forbes Billionaire List, is going to give a grand keynote address on day 2, Saturday. Kapoor, whose net worth is estimated at $3.5B, has founded and guided two pharmaceutical companies, Insys Therapeutics and Akorn Pharmaceuticals and led them to exceptional success. Pharmaceutical industry is slowly but surely changing to innovate faster, cheaper, more cost efficient process of drug development. Here is link to my recent blog on novel approaches to drug development http://bit.ly/1xzpdFx .
Here is another interesting keynote to watch out for. After helping coin the term, “Data Scientist”, while still in the academia, D. J. Patil did some initial work on deciphering the complexity of the weather patterns and impact of bioweapons proliferation in Central Asia. Here is link to my blog on Patil in 2013 http://bit.ly/YYyOxd . After stints in eBay, PayPal and LinkedIn, Patil was appointed by President Obama, as Chief Data Scientist at the White House. Among other responsibilities, Patil will work on the Administration’s Precision Medicine Initiative, focusing on utilizing advances in data to enable clinicians select most effective treatments. Here IBM’s Watson, an artificial intelligence system with access to millions and millions of pages of structured and unstructured data, to help in efficient diagnosis and suggest possible avenues for treatment, deserves special mention. Here is my link to Dave Farucci’s keynote at TiEcon, several years ago http://bit.ly/JOZmwH .
Besides the keynotes and healthcare representation on panels in other tracks, Day 2 focused Healthcare track panels will address such varied topics as role of “Medical Devices in a Changing Landscape” and “Trials and Tribulations of Adopting Technology in Hospitals”. Eminent speakers include, MD and CEO at Good Samaritan Hospital, Paul Beaupre; Anupam Pathak, Founder & CEO of Lift Labs, acquired by Google X, Brett Knappe, Senior Director of Strategy at Medtronic; Satnam Alag, VP, Software, Illumina; and Darius Naigamwalla, President at Campbell Alliance. Representation from technology rich companies such as IBM, GE, Google X, and Tibco, in discussions on healthcare, along with medtech and big pharma companies like Medtronic, J&J, 23&me, Illumina and Genentech AND representation from healthcare providers like Good Sam, will make for very rich dialogue. Register for TiEcon at https://www.123signup.com/register?id=ygszb&ref=4182698 to get a $100 discount on the two-day conference at the non-member rate. When prompted, enter the promo code VOL500 at checkout:
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Big Data -Cloud -IoT-Software -Mobile -Entrepreneurship, Biotech - Medical Device - Life Science - Healthcare on March 16, 2015
With Obamacare, the discussion about national health has moved to front and center stage. But what about the status of global health; what are the opportunities and challenges? Just about a decade ago, availability of resources was the biggest problem in the arena of global health. But with the rise in public and private giving, to a large part due to unprecedented giving by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates, the challenge has now shifted to better coordination of resources for “equitable, inclusive & sustainable solutions”. According to Council on Foreign Affairs, “for the first time in history, the world is poised to spend enormous resources to conquer the diseases of the poor”.
Kim C. Bush, director of Life Sciences Partnerships at Gates Foundation, is leading the efforts to broaden and deepen the foundation’s engagement and partnership initiatives with various healthcare industry sectors. With an objective to address the critical global health challenges with speed and effectiveness, the foundation is bringing in the industry in this dialog, in a systemic manner. The goal of the Gates foundation is to match global health priorities with the industry capabilities.
Kim Bush will be giving a keynote address at 2015 EPPIC Annual Conference, on March 28th at Santa Clara Convention Center. Entrepreneurs in life science arena, committed to solving some of the major health challenges of our times, may get big insights into where the gaps and the glaring problems are, as well as where the resources are being channeled.
Lineup of speakers on all panels at EPPIcon 2015, is very exciting, with plenty of networking opportunities thrown in. Here is a link to the preview of one of the panels on Digital Health – http://bit.ly/1EQtd5y . No doubt, connected, digital health will also play a prime role in advancing global health. Come and participate in the dialog, network with like minded professionals in Silicon Valley, and hear from key opinion leaders, angel and VC investors and other industry leaders. Early bird registration will expire at midnight today, March, 16. Register today at www.eppicglobal.org .
Also a plug for http://www.healthtechnologyforum.com 2015 annual conference on May 27 and 28 in Burlingame, CA. Early bird pricing will be effective till March, 31. Panels include Innovations for the Underserved, Resilient Communities, Population Health Management, and the conference has a dedicated focus on making a positive difference and transforming health globally. Register soon for an opportunity to hear great speakers and network with professionals committed to making a difference.
EPPIC annual conference is on March, 28 and early bird pricing will end on Monday, March 16. Here is a sneak peek at one of the panels.
Technology is impacting health in interesting ways and many exciting innovations in digital health are expected to change how diseases are tracked, reduce inefficiency in healthcare delivery, reduce costs, improve access to healthcare, increase quality, save resources, and make medicine more personalized. Digital health panel at EPPICon 2015 has diverse and interesting lineup of speakers.
Dr. David Persing, EVP, CMO, and CTO at Cepheid, had made an early resolve to have a positive impact on the world. Guided by intellectual curiosity, while doing his pre-med, he discovered “the power of diagnostics”. The company’s mission at Cepheid is to use the power of molecular diagnostics such that it would enable medical providers to identify and treat diseases early, increasing opportunities to improve patients’ survival and quality of life. Their cloud based platform, “The Digital Miasma” for monitoring of emerging infections earlier, is just launched and is in the implementation phase.
Panelist Deborah Profit is Director of Corporate Projects – Global Clinical & Business Operations for Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development and Commercialization. OPC, is headquartered in Tokyo and is known for popular sports drink Pocari Sweat and energy drink Oronamin C. OPC also developed Abilify, an approved drug treatment for certain mental illnesses, and as of 2013, annual sales of Abilify were over $8 billion a year, making it the highest grossing drug worldwide. You would wonder what has that to do with digital health, until you consider the fact that patient non-compliance is one of the biggest challenges in many illnesses but specifically in mental illnesses. Otsuka has recently made a deal with Proteus Digital Health for tracking medical adherence. Proteus system includes sensor-enabled pills that embed intelligence into the pills so that their ingestion can be precisely tracked. Personally, I am totally against drugs for mental illnesses, many of which do not work as expected; placebo effects are not well identified, clinical studies are often sponsored by drug companies and the list of side effects is daunting and being a psychologist, having seen side effects and heard them being discussed by my colleagues, I have developed absolute disgust for drugs for mental disorders.
Proteus “ingestible sensor” technology however, holds enormous promise for various indications, specifically for treatment and management of chronic conditions. Otsuka plans to make use of Proteus Digital Health’s feedback system in its clinical R&D, presumably for its oncology products.
The next panelist, Dr. Marsha Rose Gillentine is Director of Biotechnology/ Chemical Group at Sterne Kessler Goldstein Fox, LLP and has intimate knowledge and understanding of patent litigation strategy in small molecules, ploymorphs, chemical synthesis, pharmaceutical formulations, methods of treatment, drug delivery devices, animal models, vaccines, polymers and more. Her experience encompasses working with clients to implement lifecycle management strategies, specifically at it relates to personalized medicine patent portfolios.
Jared Heyman is founder and CEO of CrowdMed, a brilliant innovative site that takes connected health to a whole new plane. Often individuals afflicted with rare or neglected diseases, go from doctor to doctor, from pillar to post, just to accurate diagnosis and then they face whole set of new challenges for treatment. CrowdMed is seeking to solve most challenging medical cases, worldwide, with speed and accuracy online, by harnessing the collective wisdom of the crowd.
The Digital Health Panel at EPPICon 2015, will be an exciting panel. Agenda for the entire day looks very interesting and there will be plenty of opportunities for attendees to network and mingle with like-minded professionals. The conference is on Saturday, March 28th at Santa Clara Convention Center, in Santa Clara, CA. Early bird pricing has been extended till March, 16. Please register for the event at the link http://tinyurl.com/o4cj3ow or from www.eppicglobal.org .
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Big Data -Cloud -IoT-Software -Mobile -Entrepreneurship, Biotech - Medical Device - Life Science - Healthcare on September 29, 2014
US healthcare and healthcare globally, faces some major challenges in the form of cost containment, effective coordination of care, and battling the spread of chronic diseases. Can digital health give us leverage and tools for addressing these challenges? At next EPPIC (www.eppicglobal.org) event, two innovative leaders in digital health, will share their perspectives.
Michelle Longmire is founder of Medable, a cloud platform that provides HIPAA compliant services to mobile and web applications. Developers can build applications that communicate securely with Medable’s cloud platform using the Medable API. Medable services are hosted on scalable, fault tolerant platform system.
Michelle Longmire is a physician-scientist, with a background in image analysis and processing and holds patents in machine learning as applied to medical diagnostics. Currently she is training in dermatology at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, CA.
Anoo Nathan is Founder and CEO of Smart Montior, a device designed to provide monitoring and tracking solutions for people with chronic health conditions. Blending sensor, mobile, and cloud technologies with big data analytics, Smart Monitor offers solutions that enhance safety and autonomy for people with chronic conditions.
Anoo Nathan is a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded 2 companies, taking them from inception to profitability to exit and is an inventor on several patents.
The event will be at Lowenstein Sandler, LLP, 390 Lytton Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301, on October 7 at 6pm. Price for EPPIC members is $10 and for non members is $20. Register for this event at www.eppicglobal.org.
Also tomorrow, September 30th at 8:30 am CEO & Founder of Corvectra, Chris Melton will speak on “Rocket Science Meets Biotech at the Frontier of Digital Health” at http://www.bio2devicegroup.org event at 456 West Olive Avenue, Sunnyvale. This is a free event. Walk-ins welcome.
Rakeysh Mehra, highly acclaimed Bollywood Filmmaker & Screenwriter, will speak at TiEcon 2014. Have you registered? You can register as my guest through the link http://tinyurl.com/kr2hkcw and enter code “TiEvalue” to get $100 off.
The process of filmmaking begins with a great story and then the filmmaker or the producer needs to work with the screenwriter to develop the story or screenplay they have just purchased. Rakeysh Mehra is an Indian filmmaker and screenwriter, known for writing and directing such films as Rang De Basanti (he won Best Director Filmfare Award for it in 2006) and directing blockbuster “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”, starring Farhan Akhtar as Milkha Singh, India’s legendary runner (here’s link to my review http://bit.ly/1cUwG4o). “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” acquired international fame and was nominated for 10 awards. Obtaining the right script and developing it into a good screenplay and then directing it into a successful film, is a highly challenging process, in the cut throat film world. One needs to understand and develop the characters, ensure the dialogues are not lame, understand the story structure, identify the genre or the blend of genres and Mehra is brilliant, with each of the steps of filmmaking.
Currently, India, the largest democracy in the world, is busy with the process of deciding its new leader. Voting is in full swing, in India. Mehra has been a critic of the vote bank politics and currently he is campaigning to introduce e-voting to facilitate voting by travelers. Mehra is also deeply committed to children and the education system in India. Regarding “Bhaag Milkha Baag”, Mehra said that to see the movie connect with children as young as six and eight, was the biggest part of his success with the movie that he is proud of. He has criticized marks-driven, education system in India saying that it emphasizes test scores over actual learning and achievement. Perhaps his next movie will address this issue? The filmmaker was location hunting recently in Jodhpur, for his upcoming film. Will there be announcements? Mehra will give keynote address on the morning of day 2 of the conference.
See discount codes to register for TiEcon 2014, www.tiecon.org and for Health Technology Forum
www.tiecon.org – If you are a professional in #healthIT, #digital health, #internetofthings, #cloud, #bigdata or related, then this is the conference, you don’t want to miss – It offers a fabulous opportunity to network with 3000+ professionals and listen to top notch speakers and panelists. Register for #TiEcon (May 16 & 17 at Santa ClaraConvention Center) as my guest, at link http://tinyurl.com/kr2hkcw & enter promo code tievalue to get $100 discount.
Healthtechnology Forum conference http://www.healthtechnologyforum.com, focused on exploring pathways to sustainable health, is on May 20 in SF. Please register for the conference as my friend, with the discount code “HTF14-FriendOfOrganizer” and send me your first & last name at wd_darshana at hotmail dot com, to get $150 off the price of the ticket. Also check out & participate in code-a-thon on patient engagement, for May 8. Over 20K+ in prizes.
JOBS: are posted at the link http://bit.ly/1o85CTM
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Biotech - Medical Device - Life Science - Healthcare on January 27, 2014
The OneMed forum conference was launched in January of 2008, when economy was showing all signs of progressing to new heights, with an objective to showcase innovation in medtech. The conference aimed to bring together the companies and investors, during the large influx of healthcare investors and executives, during the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, in San Franciso. Fast forward to 2014 and we are perhaps just emerging from one of the worst recessions; a downturn that hit the medtech sector more than any other industry segment.
This year, the location of OneMed Forum was changed and the venue was moved further away from the JP Morgan Conference. Since the weather in SF was gorgeous, it was not a problem; but if the venue continues to be further away in future, and in the event of cold and rainy weather, it can have an impact and lower the attendance at future OneMed events. This year also OneMed event seemed to be sparsely attended, although that appearance might also be enhanced because the meeting rooms were spread out on two different floors and there wasn’t a single spill out location for the participants to meet and network – another problem with the venue.
There was also a palpable difference between the JP Morgan conference and the OneMed Forum, this year, in terms of optimism. While biotech and pharma sector is returning to pre-recession levels with a large number of IPOs and higher numbers of dollars raised, medical technology companies have yet to see significant investment dollars. On talking with the participants, I heard a note of disappointment regarding low attendance from VCs and other investors, just like in the last few years.
However, despite slow pickup and staggering growth in the medtech sector, it is transforming and the companies are learning to operate more efficiently. It is also recognized that healthcare is at a critical point and medical innovation will have to address some key challenges. Various panels and speakers at the OneMed Forum, addressed the changing healthcare landscape and how the future of health and medicine will need to be shaped, in the coming years to address the key issues.
Personalized Medicine Panel discussed the promise offered by customized diagnosis and treatments, in lowering the cost and increasing effectiveness. Panel sessions addressing the JOBS Act and the Affordable Care Act, explored the impact of the legislation on cost of care and access to care. Companies and solutions that may be poised to offer effective healthcare solutions and may also present interesting investment opportunities were highlighted. In somewhat grim medtech landscape, digital health is emerging as the hottest new trend, with much potential. The Digital Health panel discussed the impact of Affordable Care Act in increasing information transparency and empowered consumers taking greater control of their health information. The changing role of the patients/ consumers will require change in the healthcare delivery and transformation in the business model.
A panel addressing “reimbursement strategy after the affordable care act”, discussed impact of medicare payment rules on medtech and hospital markets. The panel also discussed trends in coverage and payment for newly emerging molecular diagnostic tests. One key advice from the panel was that thinking upfront about the reimbursement strategy will be increasingly more important for companies with new, innovative products. A panelist also suggested that during clinical trials, companies can also think about reimbursement and instead of doing only what may be required by the FDA, if they can also collect reimbursement data then they would come out ahead. During innovation, the companies should relentlessly focus on disease management, and that would lead to them to appropriate and effective reimbursement strategy, advised the panel.
Financing and IPO issues were addressed in various panels. One interesting panel on Crowdfunding discussed a handful of portals that are beginning to raise some capital for emerging growth companies. One investor who was attending the panel, later told me, that it is too early to give an opinion on what kind of success this strategy would yield, but he had some grave concerns. AdvaMed CEO’s Unplugged Panel featured some of top leaders of the MedTech industry, who shared their insights on key challenges facing the industry. Stuart Randle, CEO of GI Dynamics advised startups to focus on crucial healthcare issues including obesity. He also advise companies to pursue capital intensive strategy, and at least initially sell products outside the US. Scott Brooks, CEO of Regenesis Biomedical, advised startups to get good legal and regulatory counsel early on. Patrick Daly, CEO of Cohera Medical was optimistic about the future of MedTech. “IPOs are coming back, M&A is picking up, and dollars are rolling in, big companies have record levels of cash, and I feel positive”, he said.
One of the most prolific financiers, Bill Hambrecht gave a keynote address. Hambrecht has over 500 IPO’s to his credit that include seed level funding in nascent industries. Although I did not attend the keynote, I heard some highly positive comments from an attendee. Steven Burrill, who has been at the helm of innovation in healthcare and shares and who regularly shares his insights through his annual reports, gave a second keynote. Again, I missed the address but both keynotes were major highlights of the event. Throughout the conference, over 800 emerging companies gave presentations. Following the presentations, partnering and breakout sessions gave the opportunity for conference delegates to meet the CEO’s of these companies.
Although it may seem hard to believe, it appears that now the MedTech sector has nowhere to go but up. The industry has learned some hard lessons, the companies are lean, operating with greater efficiency, spending cash wisely, and instead of hawking next new technology, they are focused on key problems facing the healthcare industry, and on providing effective solutions. If the healthcare providers are not eager to incorporate some of the solutions, then it will happen out of necessity. It will become incumbent upon the healthcare industry to implement solutions offering greater ROI in terms of improved health and lower cost. Healthcare providers will be looking for solutions that provide digital and point of care diagnosis and health monitoring and treatment options and solutions from personalized medicine and genomic health. Let us stay tuned for some cool innovations from the MedTech sector in 2014. Senior Analyst at Wells Fargo, Larry Biegelsen has also observed that not only acceleration in healthcare spending is expected in 2014 but there are number of other tailwinds including, “emerging technologies and emerging markets contributing more to growth and a more industry-friendly FDA, which should lead to faster approval times for medical devices”.
Digital Health has been an emerging sector in medical device arena. A panel at Wilson Sonsini Medical Device Conference (www.wsgr/news/medicaldevice.com) discussed the challenges and opportunities in this area. Moderator Milena Adamian is founder and executive director of the Life Sciences Angel Network, which is focused on early-stage investing and entrepreneurial activities in medical devices and healthcare information technology arena. Having spent 20 years in medical device development, she brings the perspective of a clinician and academic researcher and opened the panel with historical background and broad overview. Panelists included Chilukuri Sastry, Associated Principal at McKinsey & Co., Jonathan Javitt, CEO & Vice Chairman at Telcare, Jay Silverstein, Co-founder of Oxford Health Plans, and Lisa Suennen, Co-founder and managing member of Psiolos Group.
Silverstein raised a key question, right upfront. “Show me it works”, he said. While there are some neat ideas and lot of hope, it is not yet backed up by reality, he said. Sastry said, there is an evolution under way, with a focus on data interpretation from earlier focus on data accumulation. According to Javitt, it is a matter of making a business case and applying technology, to increasing efficiency. Suennen pointed out the shift that is happening broadly in the industry, with the entrepreneurs focusing on enabling consumers to engage in matters of their health, more cheaply. Currently, 7 out of 10 dollars in healthcare are spent on management of chronic diseases and about 5 thousand kids with asthma, die on the way to the hospital, where there is an opportunity to make an impact, pointed out Javitt. The challenge is to make healthcare sensing as ubiquitous as auto sensing. Disconnected medical devices will not help transform healthcare, he said.
Silverstein pointed to the gorilla in the room, the challenge of patient engagement. The panelists had several perspectives on dealing with this challenge. Silverstein stressed the need to incentivize health, Javitt suggested combining healthcare with gaming. Suennen pointed out that gaming might attract short term focus that may not have a lasting impact, as people get bored of games. Silverstein emphasized the need for segmentation so that there can be constant communication, marketing, and efforts to engage patients with specific needs, on a continuing basis. Sastry said, while behavior modification is challenging, the new and emerging technology will allow for better patient engagement.
Sharing advice for entrepreneurs in this sector, Silverstein suggested that they carefully pick customers and value proposition. They should not claim to be good for payer, investor, physician, but instead find a niche. Suennen said, right now it is too easy to start a company in this area; all they need is an iPhone and a starbucks card; but failure is also fast. A big lesson, observed Javitt, is that a lot of great ideas are poorly marketed and poorly packaged and do not take into account that an average consumer needs 3+ touches, to be noticed. Sastry stressed the need to become a data scientist.
Adamian concluded the panel saying that as an investor, she would consider the team, look at the market, sustainability, analytics and suggested that entrepreneurs be mindful of regulations and also focus on how to engage patients. The area of preventative medicine is a whole other area that will be of a lot of interest, said Adamian.