Where is Digital Health heading in 2017?

A Chasm Partners report from the New York eHealth Collaborative Digital Health Conference, which took place December 6 and 7th.

One of the benchmark annual meetings for digital health innovators is now the New York eHealth Collaborative Digital Health Conference in New York City. While retaining a distinctly New York flavor with presenters from health organizations such as NYU Langone, New York-Presbyterian, Northwell Health and the NY State Department of Health, this year the conference further diversified itself with speakers and exhibitors from across the US—plus France. Partners Kristy Lindquist and Matt Dumas were on hand for both days. Below are some highlights.

The pressure to deliver quality care at the lowest possible cost continues.

Robert Wachter, MD’s keynote focused on what has gone wrong: physician burnout, the doctor-patient relationship and the loss of medical productivity due to the increased “clerical burden” doctors now have with records and orders. This systemic issue associated with complexity may take a decade to resolve in his estimation.

Below are some themes, highlighted during the conference, that address complexity and focus on value-based care.

  • Systems that organize/streamline processes such as care management, data exchange, and cost of care reduction. Philips Wellcentive and InterSystems have substantial healthcare-specific expertise. Others like Infor, Ready Computing and NTT Data (formerly Dell Services) cross-reference knowledge from other industries.
  • Software that enables precision medicine by integrating clinical data with diagnostic data for simplified clinical decision support in oncology. This software powers initiatives like the Cancer Moonshot, as presented by Jonathan Hirsch, Founder and President of Syapse.
  • The move from fee for service to bundled payments through new episodes of care technology and services are bending the cost curve in the right direction. As described by Steve Wiggins, Founder and Chairman of Remedy Partners, Remedy is saving Medicare millions of dollars annually in bundled care payments.

Companies that solve specific but important problems look fresh and new.

Lenovo is best known as a laptop leader, but Lenovo Health’s Authoritative Identity Management Exchange creates a universal, verifiable ID for patients that will go a long way to overcoming major obstacles to value-based care like ID theft, duplicate medical records, and payment fraud. Veyo takes patient transportation logistics one significant step further than its major competition (Uber, Lyft) by applying utilization analytics to gain insights on patient use patterns, compliance and integrity issues. These companies ‘playing the niches’ may be able to scale more profitably by maintaining focus and by funding themselves through customer revenue, versus seeking large equity investment, as noted by the ‘Follow the Money’ panelists from Ziegler, WebMD, Health Enterprise Partners and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe.

The missing links in ‘population health’ are the ‘social determinants of health’.

Today the definition of a patient needs to take into account social factors such as housing, food, finances, employment, and transportation, in addition to their clinical and mental health requirements. Including these factors was one of the objectives of the recent HHS initiative, Healthy People 2020. Healthify’s software assesses ten day-to-day social and behavioral determinants of health, so that professionals may recommend the best community services for patient needs. It is used nationwide with the goal to improve patient health and help achieve a reduction in the estimated $85 billion in unnecessary Medicaid spending on emergency services and hospital readmissions. Brooklyn-based e-ICare’s care coordination software, user designed by service providers, integrates sourcing of government programs and assessment tools to assist case managers.

European startups with a track record are coming to the US.

Business France’s Startup Showcase on Day 2 featured several interesting healthcare innovations, most notably NG Biotech’s rapid blood testing from a finger prick blood sample, Maela’s pre/post-surgical patient support platform and HAPPYNeuron’s brain reserve building and cognitive remediation programs.

We will be tracking these trends in 2017. What do you see?

Both Syapse and Remedy Partners are clients of Chasm Partners.

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