December 7, 2018

Reeling in the Year: Top 4 Member Blog Posts of 2018

Commentary
Maeve Lyons
We're rounding up the most popular posts of the year as we bid adieu to 2018.  We have analysed key trends and member favorites so we can bring you more great content next year.

In 2018, we focused our efforts on topics and areas that educated our community on everything digital health. We covered all aspects - investments, partnerships, growth, collaboration, who is doing cool stuff and who is worth their weight in gold. Our objective was to provide you with the tools to better position you in the maze that healthcare can be and also to recruit new partners in our mission to connect all stakeholders across healthcare.

Whether you are a #pinksocks follower or a solo explorer in healthcare, we hope you found a blog that struck a chord and taught you something new. The following four blogs were HealthXL member favorites. Next week, we share some  industry favorites.

4. Amazon's Alexa: Probably not ready for healthcare yet.

Amazon has moved into healthcare, there’s no longer any speculation about that. From selling supplies and equipment to clinics and hospitals, partnering with major healthcare distributors, working with large organisations to rethink their employee health care and now bringing voice technologies into the home and the hospital, Amazon seems to be lapping it all up. Alexa won’t change healthcare delivery until she is HIPAA compliant. Until then, she will probably enable easier patient and HCP education, medication adherence, medication ordering, appointment scheduling. We’re already seeing lots of activity in this space, with pioneers like Boston Children’s Hospital using it in the hospital and at the home of the patient, Merck encouraging entrepreneurs to build voice-enabled disease management platforms for diabetes, etc.   

As those in healthcare tend to be skeptical, we evaluated Alexa’s pros and cons and delivered our fair and level opinion on their business model. We questioned legality, liability and responsibility resting on the shoulders of the various stakeholders upon assessing the usefulness of voice tech as a health assistant, in ordering meds, in getting point of care guidelines, in having an intelligent scribe for patient-physician interactions, etc.

What did we learn from this? The industry is curious, and we are too, as we conjecture Amazon’s next steps in healthcare.

3. Google and Apple in Healthcare: Threat or Opportunity?

Enter into the playing field two more of the world’s tech giants. These companies control the world’s most important tech platforms.

Past efforts by the tech giants to enter healthcare were less successful due to lack of understanding of healthcare’s complexities. But with the application of their strengths to healthcare without necessarily reinventing the wheel, they have a better shot at succeeding. Tech companies partnering with healthcare companies to benefit from their expertise better enables them to focus on the engineering, design and product development for the end user, their customer whose needs they understand. Google and Apple have trusted brand names and a solid customer base that makes them good candidates for health initiatives.  

We delved into the service offering to review Google and Apple to see if they are finally getting it right. Apple Heart Study, Apple HealthKit, FDA approved Apple Watch, Google Health Records, Google Glass - we evaluated the good and the not so good.

What did we learn from this? To date, a number of failed healthcare ventures, lack of outcomes and outlandish moonshots have not acted in the favor of these giants. There is, however, a mounting realization that true innovation in healthcare should not happen in isolation giving way to unprecedented partnerships across the sector.

2. How Your Digital Health Solution Can Make Money

Digital health solutions are showing their capabilities and slowly being validated - insurers and consumers are willing to put their money behind them. Despite the unprecedented growth in funding of the digital health market over the past few years, reimbursement and securing revenue remain key obstacles for those trying to establish their place in the market. Our recipe for a digital health solution to get paid is: robust clinical effectiveness, regulatory approval, proven cost-effectiveness, user centricity, easy integration into day-to-day lives and physician adoption.

We also outlined some public and private initiatives in the USA and in Europe that currently pay for consumers to use digital health assets - there are not so many. A lot of the players out there are banking on D2C business models, and from our interactions with consumers, we know people are unwilling to cough up big bucks on ‘trials’ of digital health.

What did we learn from this? We need lots of data for proof that digital health works and has positive health outcomes, knowledge dissemination of the same, collaboration, and alignment of incentives for all stakeholders.

1. Running and Championing Digital Health Accelerators

This blog took HealthXL back to our humble beginnings as an accelerator and addressed the challenges we faced along the way - the things you can only learn through experience, things that test your character and the value of your team.

There is much activity and hype in this space (no surprises there!), we thought it necessary to share our experience and learnings. In conversation with HealthXL members, we outlined 10 approaches to run a successful digital health accelerator, which covered important attributes and skills that one ought to have in order to get this right. 

What did we learn? Running an accelerator is no petty task. Have purpose from the start, find a great team, be patient in attaining milestones, manage expectations, leverage your peer network, and have fun along the way.

To conclude  

What connects these four blogs? Curiosity...our members are curious to know what is around the corner and to learn, prepare. There is a vast opportunity for technology to have a meaningful impact on healthcare but at what expense?

Technology is not static and neither is healthcare, both are constantly changing and growing. We aim to be thought leaders at the intersection of tech and health through our blogs which are written with our member interests in mind, to guide them and to lead the way for others joining the community. We are fortunate to have a fantastic community that wants to collaborate, is eager to learn and is driven to find quality and affordable healthcare solutions.