Earlier this year I went to the South by Southwest tech conference to connect with colleagues across health and consumer media. Mainly I wanted to validate assumptions around changes in healthcare that I thought could yield new opportunities. I was truly amazed by the amount of energy I found in the healthcare sector both from established players and from new companies. I came away incredibly pumped up and even wrote about some of what I saw. The biggest conclusion I walked away with was this: data will change everything in healthcare.
Why now? There are a few critical factors at play. First, enormous amounts of patient data have been digitized by large software companies due to legislation from the HITECH Act. This was an accelerant to build base technology infrastructure. Not necessarily cost efficient, but effective in greasing the wheels to move things forward. Now connective tissue is forming to connect silos of data (think Health Information Exchanges like SHIN-NY). A second force is patient-consumers who are more comfortable seeing and using their data in other areas like finance. We will expect the same in health. Third, new data is entering the system from new devices and systems creating an opportunity to define a patient’s interaction with the healthcare system across stages of a care continuum from lifestyle to diagnosis to treatment to compliance.
So what does this mean for innovators and investors? To me it means there is a tremendous world-changing opportunity around data and its ability to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare. It is one of the few areas I’ve seen that has the ability to drive true change at massive scale in an area that matters so much. Innovators will be successful if we don’t forget how people work and live in the real world as we create products that act on this data ecosystem. It’s the reason why I’m excited about my role in building Mana Health as a company that is at the forefront of data-driven healthcare technology. Opportunity abounds and I’m glad to be a part of the process.