Health care and technology are an unlikely pair, but there has never been a more exciting time to be at the intersection of those two worlds. A confluence of events, including technological innovation, reimbursement reform, consumer engagement, and unsustainable health care costs is driving incredible interest among entrepreneurs and investors alike.
Last week, I came across two articles that got me thinking about the combination of health care and technology. Mashable ran “8 Tools for Hacking your Productivity” identifying tools that help people organize their work more effectively. While I like to think of myself as fairly efficient, two of the apps have already become indispensable to me. Later in the week, I saw an excellent presentation by Bob Kocher, a venture capitalist with Venrock. Kocher published a New England Journal of Medicine article on the lack of productivity in health care. Not only had productivity not increased in over 20 years, it actually decreased in the past decade.
There are many ways to define and realize productivity in the health care system, each offering potentially huge opportunities. One example is the use of alternative care delivery models such as telehealth, which harnesses technology to provide care at a lower cost, and in a more convenient setting. It can increase patient satisfaction while improving outcomes. The number of players in this market is expanding rapidly, ranging from more established leaders like AmericanWell and TelaDoc, to interesting early stage companies like DermLink, Cellscope, Abilto and RingaDoc.
Another example is tapping patient outcomes’ data to help move from clinician-driven to data-driven models of care. By developing predictive models to identify patients at higher risk for acute events, or enabling comparative effectiveness research, companies such as Archimedes, Humedica or GNS have the ability to enable payors, providers and pharmaceutical companies become more efficient and effective.
While I see promise in a wide range of areas including those listed above, I am eagerly looking for the next “Epocrates.” Applications and platforms that provide real value to the individual clinician and make the job easier, while at the same time benefiting other players in the health care system. HealthFinch is an example of a simple technology solution which helps the physician delegate tasks such as prescription refills, to a staff member. Companies such as ImagingCloud seek to create a “WebEx” experience for medical image collaboration among clinicians. And inspired by successful models from the technology world, Doximity is creating a “LinkedIn” type experience for physicians by making it easier for them to refer patients to the right specialist, or consult their peers for help with difficult cases.
See on www.forbes.com