The million-degree-sweltering warehouse space filled with people reminded me of my journey to the Motown Museum (@Motown_Museum) with colleague Kristin Juel (@kristinjuel) (See:“Photo Friday: Story of incredible innovation – at Hitsville, USA”).
I think all that was missing was the homecooked chili and Diana Ross, but the floors were almost the same, as was the feel. These are environments where innovation can really take off. Quite the contrast to the air conditioned manicured innovation centers I have been to around the US. Not better, just different, and complementary.
As the title of the post says, this level of health entrepreneurship did not exist that long ago. When I asked why this was the case, I was told the answer: “The HITECH Act.”
I went because Liz Rockett (@liz_rockett) got me an invite LAST year so I was determined to go this year with the goal being to help think about how Total Health might be supported in the future. I was fortunate to run into my other favorite New Yorkers, Emily Hackel (@emilyhackel) and recent transplant Jason Bhan, MD (@jmbhan) who oriented me a little bit to things.
The demo day consisted of 8 companies giving their pitch to the audience. What I could discern was that the approaches they are taking to innovation in health care are around tangible problems, with real revenue attached to them. Sadly, the reason that there’s revenue attached to some of these problems is because they are created by the failings of our current health care financing system.
I was talking with Liz about this – on the one hand it’s hard to ask an entrepreneur to build a company around a financing model of health care that’s more ideal, but relatively unavailable. On the other hand, we (actually Liz, I’m not that smart) theorized, there are entrepreneurs out there who want to build to an ideal state. For those entrepreneurs, would there be an opportunity to have access to experts in the field to understand the nuances and opportunities? Kind of like an ideal health care 101 teach in? Those entrepreneurs exist, Sidney Garfield, MD, who co-created Kaiser Permanente, was one of them.
Just a thought. All that aside though, it was a bit of a brain-reboot to be in that room, recognizing that as modern a health system as the one am in is like, it’s not like this. I think it’s the difference between low fidelity and high fidelity, and scale. Both are needed, because the definition of innovation is “a good idea executed well.”
Here are my photographs from the event. With great respect for the 8 companies who are thriving, working, and sharing their challenges with a broader audience. Well worth the trip.