The sun is setting on another exhilarating yet tumultuous decade for the American health care industry. There was, of course, the signing into law, implementation and evolution of the Affordable Care Act. We also saw the beginning stages of artificial intelligence and machine learning, major advocacy for the removal of data silos, the wearable craze and, more recently, a major challenge in addressing the opioid and behavioral health crises.
As an investor, the past 10 years have been invigorating. Digital health is here to stay. Technology has opened so many doors and created an enormous opportunity for innovation across the health care industry. This positive momentum has encouraged new investors, some supporting health care for the very first time, to enter the market, while existing investors like myself remain quite active.
But the excitement isn’t just spreading from promises and visions. Many digital health startups have established tangible outcomes and validation in return on investment to their customers. This is a positive sign — an indication that there is real value being created in our sector.
I don’t see this momentum slowing anytime soon. As we move into the ’20s, here are some of the catalysts and evolutions that I’ll be paying the most attention to and collaborating on with our current and future portfolio companies to help improve our health care system:
Consumer Expectations Strengthen
First, consumers will expect health providers and payors to offer holistic, personalized health services as the new standard of care. More than ever before, consumers are becoming empowered by access to information and a plethora of digital health platforms. They will want (and then expect) solutions that factor in biology and genomics, lifestyle and socioeconomic characteristics, and environmental influences to produce better health outcomes. By providing health consumers with the right tools and insights, we can effectively empower them to manage their health outside of the traditional health care system, a relatively new and powerful phenomenon driven by technology. (More on that later.)