The road to improving healthcare over the past several years has most certainly had a focus on implementing ‘upgrade’ technologies such as EMRs and tablets, but also creating new technologies like 3D printers and Watson-like doctors.
However, in my opinion as both a practicing doctor and technology entrepreneur, the focus is all wrong. EMRs, 3D printers, and Watson-like brains are not fixing the real problems that plague the broken healthcare system that I am experiencing everyday. Perhaps that is because the current technology ‘innovators’ do not experience the healthcare system everyday as patients and doctors do. And, the current ecosystem for healthcare technology startups does not support doctors and patients as founders. If necessity is the mother of all great inventions, there will be no ‘real’ problem-solving in healthcare by new technologies until doctors and patients are REALLY involved.
Why not have a bigger focus on getting doctors and patients REALLY involved? Asking beyond 'Why...does the image of a successful startup founder always have to be 20-something nerdy hipster with a beard and a hoody?’ the following why questions must be addressed:
- Why…are there not very many patient or doctor initiated startups being funded by VCs?
- Why...does a healthcare startup doctor have to quit being a doctor that they worked so hard to become and love?
- Why…do healthcare accelerators occur only in a few select cities?
- Why...would a doctor with both school loans and 'skin in the game' debt as well as bills and a family move to a city's accelerator for 3 months without any salary or paid shelter?
- Why…would a patient who is receiving life-saving care leave their treatment team to be a part of an accelerator in another city?