Looking for the Next Big Digital Health Disruptors

Health 2.0 Startup Alley

Every new healthcare app or fledgling technology is like a sunny window into the future: Could virtual reality replace opioids for pain relief, as proposed by startup DeepStream VR? Might smart contact lenses, under development by Verily (aka Google) and Novartis, soon measure blood sugar levels in tears, eliminating painful finger pricks for people with diabetes?

This optimistic focus on innovation is what makes the upcoming Health 2.0 conference a driving force in an industry dogged by numerous problems—from a lack of care coordination and wasteful practices to a lack of IT interoperability and workforce shortages. Every year, the conference offers some of the tech industry’s best ideas for solving these problems—or making them disappear altogether.  

While tech startups are looking to invigorate almost every area of healthcare these days, we expect to see a lot of innovative ideas at Health 2.0 related to three top-of-mind trends:

  • Connected devices and the Internet of Things:  In Steve Case’s book The Third Wave, he stresses that the Internet will soon transition “from something we interact with to something that interacts with everything around us.” Many in the healthcare startup world are already living in this future world, as they investigate how wearable sensors, personal trackers, and other connectable devices will evolve and interface with advanced data analytics.
  • Using technology to empower consumers: As the growth of retail health has shown, healthcare consumers appreciate convenient access. While there will always be a place for hospitals and other traditional care sites, more and more care will likely be delivered virtually via digital platforms. At the same time, consumers are taking on more financial responsibility for their care as their out-of-pocket costs increase. Innovations that simplify the healthcare shopping experience are needed.
  • Simplifying administrative burdens for providers and payers: While a lot of paperwork is being eliminated with the growth of electronic health records, many providers and payers are still drowning in documentation requirements. A number of startups are working to automate data collection, simplify and eliminate documentation, and improve the administrative workflow.

The Health 2.0 conference celebrates what Clayton M. Christensen termed the “progress of disruptive innovation.” In a Harvard Business Review article, he stressed the need to be “open to disruptive technologies and business models that may threaten the status quo but will ultimately raise the quality of healthcare for everyone.”  

That philosophy is music to our ears at Vicert, as we’ve shared in a past blog post. As developers, we are idea executors. Nothing gets us more excited than out-of-the-box innovations—and the chance to bring these ideas to fruition. We are doubly charged when technologies hold the potential to make healthcare better for our loved ones, ourselves, and our communities, turning our work into a mission and not just a job.   

No wonder we had so much fun at last year’s Health 2.0 conference as a sponsor of the Launch! event during which startups demonstrated their products for the first time.  For example, we learned about uncleCare, which is helping patients who take blood thinners, or anticoagulant medications, easily manage their care and interact electronically with their caregivers. Anyone who takes a blood thinner knows how difficult it can be to keep track of the daily changes in dosages and to prevent bruising and bleeding.

Gliimpse, which is another one of the startups at last year’s Launch!, was recently acquired by Apple, which demonstrates the level at which this event plays. Gliimpse is a sharable medical record that allows all of a patient’s personal health information, from blood pressure readings to lab results, to be gathered from various sources and shared with physicians and other providers.    

We are looking forward to seeing more exciting product demos at this year’s Launch! We’ll also be there to see the 10 finalists compete in the Traction event to be named the “most fundable startup.”

This year we are also organizing our own startup contest. The winner will get a prepaid booth to show off their product at the conference’s Startup Alley. Learn more about the contest—and enter by September 15.

How many of you will join us at Health 2.0? We love meeting new people interested in the digital health revolution, and our execs will be at the event, ready to exchange ideas – so ping us either here, on social or via email and let’s grab a coffee or have lunch during the event.

Author: Sofija Drecun
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