October 27, 2020
PUBLISHED BY Wildcat Venture Partners
COVID-19 has affected lives all around the globe and it’s no secret that it has dialed up digital adoption even in the complex, slower moving, highly regulated healthcare space. As one of their thesis areas, Wildcat has tracked and analyzed the dynamics of the healthcare industry and sees how the pandemic has accelerated their predicted outcomes. In this episode, Bill shares their perspective on the future of digital health – the trends, where there’s trapped value and understanding what’s hype.
Accelerating the Virtualization and Digitization of Healthcare
The pandemic has been a big bang event that has accelerated an existing trend towards the virtualization of healthcare processes.
It has forced everyone in the ecosystem – patients, employers, healthcare providers and payers, to all move online from a historically in person experience.
Not only are we seeing the virtual delivery of urgent and primary care, but also the delivery of mental health services and surgical processes. Virtual tools that assist in these processes are becoming increasingly ubiquitous as well. As a result, the Wildcat team believes these shifts will lead to long-term sustained growth in this area in addition to the continued digitization of healthcare.
One such example is digital diagnostics and therapeutics. The application of machine learning to areas such as imagery, radiology, and oncology can be incredibly powerful in improved diagnoses and medical care particularly, given the significant shortage of really high skilled health care providers in these fields.
Another field that is ripe with opportunity is healthcare administration such as billing insurance reimbursement. Wildcat forecasts continued evolution and disruption through robotic process automation tools which will drive greater efficiency and productivity where traditionally it’s been severely lacking.
Understanding the Complexity of the Ecosystem and the Power of Digital Exhaust
With healthcare being a very complex ecosystem, it’s not enough to simply understand where there’s an inefficiency or a problem. Given the number of stakeholders, it requires significant domain expertise around the processes and interdependencies to fully understand how to extract that trapped value.
Wildcat’s approach is to find instances where existing processes can be improved by identifying the data advantage.
With the information on a patient’s journey – what Bill calls digital exhaust – there are significant ways that data can be used to benefit all the stakeholders involved in a proactive and predictive way thereby minimizing future visits and procedures and long-term costs.
One such example is Carrum Health, a company that has provided a new way to deliver surgery by directly connecting progressive, self-insured employers to top-quality regional healthcare providers through the industry’s first comprehensive bundled payment solution.
This innovative platform re-imagines how health care is paid for and delivered; improving the value of health benefits for employers and their members.
The Hype but with Reality Behind It
New technology can be risky when it comes to investment opportunities, so it’s important to understand what’s hype and what has real substance behind it. Because in healthcare, the hype is often higher than other technology areas, the fall is often steeper and it always takes longer.
In healthcare, Bill reminds us that there’s a lot of reality behind everything that’s going on, scientifically and from a business perspective, however it just takes longer to prove that out. It’s hard to capitalize companies for these long-term journeys.
And while there are a lot of areas that are hyped, Bill shares that these innovations, such as gene editing for example, will deliver significant value in the end.
Traction and Trapped Value is produced by Flywheel Associates