Wild West Digital Health

Healthcare’s Wild West

Stop and look around you, and you’ll see just how quickly society is running into the future. Over the past decade alone, we’ve seen monumental advancements in genetics, mobile computing, wearables and medical devices. Yet, there are a some sectors of the economy that have managed to stay stuck in the past. Specifically, healthcare. It is, for want of a better description, a bureaucratic and slow-moving industry that is riddled with inefficiency. Healthcare, for example, is one of the few remaining sectors that still — in 2015 — uses fax machines as a means of communication. And yet, it’s a $3.7 trillion industry in just the U.S. alone. Several digital health startups have made it into the exclusive Unicorn Club (companies valued at a billion dollars or more), including Oscar Health, Adaptive Biotechnologies, 23andMe, Proteus Digital Health and others. The opportunity in healthcare, as illuminated by these startups, is huge. Take a look at the top-10 pharmaceutical companies; their market caps are easily between $40 to $250 billion each. Venture capitalists invested 250 percent more money into health insurance in 2014 than they did the year prior. Moreover, in Q2 of 2015, funding for healthcare IT came in at $1.2 billion alone. If it’s such a golden opportunity, why hasn’t it been a huge focus for tech entrepreneurs? Firstly, it’s not for the faint of heart. Healthcare is heavily regulated. It’s also not like consumer tech, where you can decide to build a prototype of an app over the course of a month and then start beta-testing it in the wild. There are lots of obstacles to overcome in order for a tech company to penetrate the market. But, successful exits in healthcare do happen often. Done right, building a successful healthcare startup is extremely rewarding, and can have […]