Why Innovation In Health Care Is So Hard

See on Scoop.ithealthcare technology

Health care—in the United States, certainly, but also in most other developed countries—is ailing and in need of help. Yes, medical treatment has made astonishing advances over the years.


But the packaging and delivery of that treatment are often inefficient, ineffective, and consumer unfriendly.


The well-known problems range from medical errors, which by some accounts are the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, to the soaring cost of health care.


The amount spent now represents about one-sixth of the U.S. gross domestic product; it continues to grow much faster than the economy; and it threatens the economic future of the governments, businesses, and individuals called upon to foot the bill. Despite the outlay, more than 40 million people have no health insurance.


Such problems beg for innovative solutions involving every aspect of health care—its delivery to consumers, its technology, and its business models. Indeed, a great deal of money has been spent on the search for solutions.


U.S. government spending on health care R&D, which came to $26 billion in 2003, is topped only by the government’s spending on defense R&D. Private-sector spending on health care R&D—in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, and health services—also runs into the tens of billions of dollars. According to one study of U.S. companies, only software spawns more new ventures receiving early-stage angel funding than the health field.

See on hbr.org


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