Toward Smarter Healthcare

Jenny Regan (Key Tech) and I met for coffee to discuss the state of the world and prepare for AACC 2019. Not sure we solved all the issues ... but we certainly have similar ideas about what’s driving our part of this industry. Very interested in your thoughts and ideas and I would love to continue the conversation.  

Healthcare delivery, worldwide, can no longer absorb incremental improvement at increased overall cost.  Therefore now and henceforth, in our view, preeminence in our industry must acknowledge and incorporate three interrelated elements: these are (i) integration of emerging biology insights that allow new understanding of disease; (ii) adoption of new technologies and connected technology platforms to both generate and utilize the new biological insights; and (iii)the ability to leverage technology and biology at scale cost-effectively and responsive to the rise of the consumer in the healthcare marketplace. 

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Emerging biology insights are enabled by new technologies facilitating research, and ultimately enabling a truly new generation of clinical diagnostics.  “Next Gen” is an over-used descriptor: here however we stand on the threshold of knowing so much more that a radical redefinition of disease is possible and even necessary. New understandings allow providers to tailor therapy based upon evidence, and to streamline and target drug discovery and clinical trial work. 

Winning solutions will meet patients as collaborators in their own health management, and will allow effective (more customized, more personalized and more precise) therapies without adding cost to the system.  These solutions will rely on technologies that provide exquisitely personal results often enabled by crowd-sourced information from enormous data sets.  Patients will increasingly be involved in directing or making choices about their own care, benefiting from newfound familiarity with consumer electronics and widespread access to information, as well as product design that is finally driven by usability and by delighting the patient.  Proprietary technology platforms will need to be developed, refined and protected with these factors in mind in order to maximize both performance and ease of use. 

“Radical” is in our view a reasonable descriptor for the transformation we are experiencing in the healthcare marketplace….driven in significant part by the patient-as-consumer. Even in the regulated healthcare markets in which we work, we are seeing the lead decision maker (buyer of diagnostics and therapies) evolve from the provider to the payer and further to the consumer.  For developers of new solutions, uncertainties in regulatory approval pathways are actually being eclipsed by uncertainty about who will pay for the solution and what price their market(s) will bear.  Competitors are producing solutions that please the consumer and cost less. Discussions of “value-based care” should not lose sight of consideration of “value” to whom.

 From our perspective, this is definitely the ”walk and chew gum” era of healthcare: maximize performance AND ease of use: improve quality and outcome AND reduce overall cost.  Stay tuned for more details about each of these interrelated influencers of smart healthcare.  We will publish on biology, technology and the new consumers' market over the next several weeks.


 Caroline Popper, CEO Popper & Co.

Jenny Regan, CEO Key Tech