Why the U.S. Economy Needs the Power of Digital Health

February 11th, 2013
Posted by

As the new year slips into higher gear, and our national focus shifts from politics to policymaking, we need to take a fresh look at how innovation can give the economy a boost.
While President Obama’s second inauguration speech mentions the need for new technology (harnessing new ideas and technologies to remake, revamp, reform and empower various sectors of society), I find myself asking: what kind of innovation? How could digital health play a role?
Harvard professor and innovation pioneer Clayton Christensen calls for a better mix of the three main types of innovations: empowering, sustaining and efficiency. He observes that empowering innovations, which create jobs by transforming complex and expensive products into simpler, cheaper products, are in unusually short supply. Meanwhile, sustaining innovations, which replace old products with new models (that nonetheless operate the same way), and efficiency innovations, which reduce costs of existing products, are abundant, but don’t help jump-start an economy as much. Today, he says, efficiency innovations are just being reinvested back into more efficiency innovations.
Digital health entrepreneurs pursue all three innovation types. I believe, however, that the overall economic impact of digital health comes from empowering innovations. Christensen cites the Model T Ford, IBM personal computers, and cloud computing as such empowering innovations. In my opinion, the remote monitors and sensors, healthcare apps, and biomarker/companion diagnostic tests now being developed are likewise transforming complex and expensive care paradigms, but also are transforming an equally complex, costly healthcare industry. In fact, mobile devices (today’s “personal computers”) and cloud computing are significant contributors to today’s digital health revolution.
Nonetheless, despite the potential to drive significant process and efficiency improvements, many digital health innovators still face challenges in raising capital. Here at Popper and Co., we’re interested in helping you strengthen your business plan to make it attractive to prospective financial and strategic investors and to identify those that may be most receptive to hearing more about your business. Follow us on Twitter, sign up to receive our e-newsletter or reach out to me directly to learn more.

Like this content? Don’t miss an update.

About the Author:

Popper and Company takes a comprehensive approach to helping our clients leverage information to improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery. We’re a team of diverse professionals – physician entrepreneurs across multiple disciplines, engineers, scientists, and clinicians – each with a unique perspective and problem-solving capabilities.