Monday, October 20, 2014

Digital Health Funding is Accelerating beyond that of Traditional Healthcare

During USC's 2014 Body Computing Conference, experts agreed that digital health funding is accelerating beyond that of traditional healthcare. According to Rock Health (a company that provides startups with funding and full-service support), digital health is one of the fastest growing niches overall in venture funding today and is attracting investors from several different areas. Unexpectedly, it is surpassing medical devices in aggregate funding.
Casper de Clercq, a partner at Norwest Venture Partners, a leading investor in medical device firms, pointed to a trend in data collection. “There are other industries that are way ahead. Walmart, Target, Amazon, and Google know way more about our healthcare and our health situation than probably most of our providers do.” He mentioned the famous case of a Target store discovering that a customer was pregnant simply by monitoring her buying habits.   
Malay Gandhi, managing director of seed fund Rock Health, stated that large medical device companies are transforming their business models from a pure hardware business into a services business. “Technology enabled services in this category, where the medical device becomes a data acquisition mechanism, and you have software, analytics, and a services or patient management platform is really the future of medical devices.”


Monday, October 6, 2014

Risk and Challenges of Healthcare Systems Internationalization

Medical device manufacturers have identified “emerging markets” as their principal source of revenue growth in the coming years. However, during the last Economist’s Health Forum in Boston, major academics and industry’s players discussed the risks and challenges associated with rising demands in these countries.
The discussion explored a growing concern that the healthcare model in the United States and Europe isn’t sustainable or even necessary to meet the healthcare needs in many cultures. These nations will need to create a “more of an outpatient-oriented and prevention-oriented delivery system” that will require behavioral changes by physicians and patients.

“(...) replicating a hospital-based system in less-developed nations requires not only new infrastructure, but wholesale change in the behavior and practice of patients and physicians. (...) also demand a financial investment that even Western nations are having difficulty paying(...)” Peter Berman, a professor at Harvard University’s School of Public Health

Victor Joseph Dzau, MD, president of the Institute of Medicine brought an academic, clinical, and corporate perspective. He stated that every culture is different and needs specific solutions. “You won’t succeed unless you are really on the ground and really understand the culture”. Device companies must create local solutions to local problems in order to succeed.