Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Consumerization of Healthcare

Last year, the well-known VC, Vinod Khosla, made the controversial statement that 80% of what doctors do will soon be replaced with healthcare technology. He goes into more detail about why this is the case in his papers and presentations titled “20% doctor included,” which I recommend reading on the Khosla Ventures website here.

I’ve been fascinated about this idea of having consumers take charge of their health by performing their own routine physicals and checkups through precision diagnostics at home.  This is one of the easiest ways we can help reduce the cost of healthcare, improve early detection and preventative medicine, as well as keep everyone better informed about their own health.

It’s been pretty remarkable to see the latest devices that are becoming available which allow you to, in essence, become your own doctor. Devices like AliveCor allow you to take your own ECG and track your heart rate using your phone. You can get measured for eyeglasses at home using EyeNetra and check on ear infections using CellScope or track respiratory disorders and asthma with Adamand and RespiRight. Sano Intelligence is even developing a skin patch to monitor your blood chemistry data and connect it to an analytics platform.

In my opinion, one of the most impressive devices is the Scanadu Scout, which pretty much allows you to perform your own physical at home by collecting data on your pulse, heart rate, electrical heart activity, temperature, heart rate variability, and blood oxygenation.  Scanadu is even developing another product called Scanaflo, which will allow people to take their own urine tests at a fraction of the price it would cost to do at a lab.

It’s exciting to see the development of all of these health tech and quantified self devices. The next step will be to help consumers better analyze all the data they gather. I’m sure that these digital first-aid/general checkup kits and quantified self devices are only the beginning of much more to come.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Joining StartUp Health

I’m now going into my fifth week of working with the StartUp Health team reviewing applications for companies interested in joining the StartUp Health Academy. It’s been a really great experience so far going through the 800+ healthcare startups in the system to review and rate them and then providing recommendations for which startups to interview.

After going through roughly half of the applications in the system, I've noticed that there are a few big themes that new healthcare startups seem to be focusing on including ideas around patient engagement, telemedicine, physical rehabilitation, big data, wearable devices, etc. I've also realized that it's very important to have a clear idea of what I'm looking for when I rate and compare the startups. The main factors that I have tried to focus on as I've been going through the applications is the product differentiation, market size/opportunity, experience of the team, and customer traction.

When I’m reading about the product description, going through the company's website and watching the product demo video, the two key questions I like to think about is whether the product/service helps reduce costs in the healthcare system and whether it can make a big impact on improving the quality of healthcare. After thinking about whether the idea has the potential to greatly reduce costs or improve quality, I then consider the market size and business model. The main factors I use to rate the startups is how big the unmet need is and whether there is a significant ROI they can prove for their customers. The market opportunity is ideally greater than $50 to $100 million and the ROI should be a quantitative analysis demonstrating the value add of the product to customers. Also, since a lot of the startups that I review tend to be in the digital health space where there is less regulation and patents involved, it’s important to think about how the startup can create barriers to either prevent other competitors from entering the space or significantly differentiate itself from existing competitors. This is why another of the important factors to understand is customer traction and whether the idea has the potential for a large network effect. The other part of the business model that I like to learn about is how the startup reaches and acquires new customers. I want to understand the sales cycle and how much it takes to acquire new customers.

It's been exciting to see that there are a large number of new startups emerging in the healthcare space that have the potential to make a huge impact on both reducing the costs and improving the quality of the industry. This past week StartUp Health celebrated its 2nd birthday and I'm sure there will be many more years to come for the organization as it continues to help startups transform our healthcare industry by providing guidance, mentorship, connections and resources to grow these ideas into innovative companies.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Congrats to Augmedix and the new Rock Health Class

Earlier this week, Rock Health posted the list of startups that will be participating in their fifth class and I was excited to find out that I was familiar with one of the companies on the list, Augmedix, which is creating a Google Glass application for doctors.

There has recently been a lot of debate and controversy about how Google Glasses will be used, since people have been raising concerns about privacy. It's difficult for people to know when someone who is wearing the glasses is capturing videos or pictures and even though the Glasses may have a good number of eager early adopters, in order to become more mainstream the look and feel of the device will need to improve to become more fashionable. For these reasons and more, it's hard to imagine Google Glasses being used by regular consumers in their day-to-day routines.

However, I can see how useful the glasses could be to certain niche markets and occupations such as doctors, who can use them while they diagnose a patient or update an EMR. It's great to see Augmedix working on a useful application for the Google Glasses and getting recognition by participating in Rock Health. Augmedix also seems to have a good chance of getting the attention of big name investors who are looking to fund more Google Glass applications. This past April, Kleiner Perkins, Google Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz, announced the formation of the "Glass Collective" to fund new Google Glasses startups. It'll be really interesting to see whether Augmedix becomes one of the early investments in this new Glass Collective after the startup completes the Rock Health program. Congrats to the Augmedix team and the other Rock Health startups!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Learning to Become a Successful "Giver" as an Entrepreneur

There is a new book that I have recently added to my reading list called Give and Take by Adam Grant, which is about how some of the most successful people in life are categorized as "Givers" or people who try to add value in others’ lives without expecting anything in return. The author, Adam Grant, is a professor at Wharton who has done research studies around motivation and has categorized people as Givers, Takers, and Matchers to determine what traits successful people have in common.

The surprising fact that I learned from a interview with the author and articles about the book is that it turns out that Givers are over-represented at both the top and the bottom of professional success.  What differentiates those Givers at the top versus at the bottom is that the Givers at the top learn how to set boundaries for themselves instead of helping everyone all of the time without taking their own interest into consideration, which helps keep them from burning out or becoming a doormat.

Most entrepreneurs view being a Matcher as the safest strategy when it comes to networking. When someone helps them or makes a connection for them, they will remember that favor and try to return the favor down the road. However, one way we can all learn to become more of a Giver without feeling like we need to help everyone all of the time is to think of what we can offer someone else that is valuable, but may only take us a few minutes, performing acts that have a high benefit to the other person at a low cost to ourselves. This way Givers will be less likely to run out of time, energy and resources when helping other people.

In order to learn more about applying these principles, I went ahead and took the free self-assessment online to learn what my own default style was on the book's website:

I found the assessment helpful in confirming how I viewed myself on the Give and Take spectrum, but it also helped me reflect more about what types of giving I enjoy. Both making introductions and mentoring not only give me a sense of helping others, but both of these acts also cost me very little and I know they can be valuable for the people I interact with.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Caremerge Selected for GE & StartUp Health Program

Three months ago GE and StartUp Health announced a partnership for a new three year program geared towards consumer health tech companies. This past Thursday, they announced the selection of 13 startups, which they narrowed down from 400 applicants from 22 countries.

The program is free and does not include funding, but in exchange for 2-10% equity ownership, startups will receive mentorship, training and access to plenty of VCs as well as the opportunity to work closely with GE’s Healthymagination Fund (venture arm of GE) and StartUp Health, an academy and network for digital health and wellness companies.

I’m very excited to share that Caremerge is one of the 13 startups selected to join the program! See below for some of the press coverage on Caremerge and the other startups selected:

Friday, March 29, 2013

Traveling Lens

One of the most memorable activities of my college experience was joining the photography staff for Duke's student newspaper. I first came to college my freshman year knowing only how to use a basic point-and-shoot camera, but my curiosity and drive to become involved on campus, led me to join the photo staff of The Chronicle. After attending all the training sessions and shadowing upperclassman on photo assignments to understand the various camera settings, I found myself covering everything from basketball games and art exhibits to student plays and musical performances, snapping and editing hundreds of pictures a week. For the following two years, I took on the role as the Photo Editor of the Arts & Entertainment section and had a really rewarding experience getting to know the whole staff and discovering a new appreciation for photography.

A year after graduating I decided to purchase my first DSLR camera, a Canon Rebel T2i. At first, I was a bit disappointed that I had forgotten so much of what I had learned about photography from college since I had been out of practice for so long, but after skimming through the manual and a few online tutorials, I started taking my camera with my everywhere in New York on the weekends and snapping a few pictures. Since then, I've also made it a goal to travel to at least one new country a year and I've made sure to take my DSLR camera with me to all the places I've gone. This year I finally got around to putting up a website with some of my better photos from all my trips. "Capture the world through your lens" and check it out here.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Quantified Self Research Study

Last week I agreed to participate in a Quantified Self Research Study that was being done by IIT design students. The research study involved a lot of self reflection about why and how I started getting involved in the Quantified Self movement and what I've learned. Here were a few of the major questions that I had to think through and reflect on:

What do you track and why?
I started off using the health & wellness QS gadgets that track steps and sleep, like the FitBit, but I got into other forms of self-tracking because I was going through the business school application process and I wanted to start keeping track of my goals, tasks and productivity, since it was a busy time for me balancing projects at work with community activities and still finding time to hang out with friends and work on my applications. At the same time, I also wanted to track how I was spending my time and the activities that I enjoyed doing because one piece of advice that I kept hearing from others who had been through the process was to spend a lot of self-reflection time because it would help make it easier to write the essays which included topics like "What matters most to you and why?" This led me to start looking into ways I could track mood and happiness, so I started searching for other types of Quantified Self applications that I found either on the QS website or through word of mouth.

I also started using applications like RescueTime, which would give me a productivity score each week based on how much time I spent on applications like Excel, Word and Powerpoint vs. reading the news on the web or checking email. I needed some way to keep myself accountable and on task for getting my work done and I found it helpful to see a breakdown of the time and applications I was using to get my work done. 

What have you discovered?
Most of what I discovered in terms of my productivity ended up being common sense and I already knew the answer, but it was good to see the data to back it up. For example, I had an idea of how many hours a week I would spend working, but with RescueTime I discovered that my productivity averaged in the 80% range vs. 50-60% for other RescueTime users and I spent significantly more of my time in Excel and Outlook vs. other users.

From, I learned that I’m almost equally balanced between how happy I am when I’m focused on work vs. when I’m interacting with other people. That helped me realize that I’m more balanced between introversion and extroversion than I would have thought.  The data also showed that I tended to be happiest when I was either catching up with friends in person or on the phone or on Saturdays while I was volunteering for the mentoring program I'm involved in.  I actually used this last insight to help me write my business school essay on the fact that what mattered most to me was mentorship in the form of both being a mentor for others and appreciating the mentors that I had.  

Have you changed anything as a result of your tracking?
Even though I’m now finished with the business school application process, I’ve continued the process of tracking and still try to write and self-reflect each day, since I still find it helpful to review what I’ve done and what I want to accomplish the next day.  

Also, since I’ve learned that I’m more productive in the mornings than at night, I’ve shifted my schedule to wake up an hour earlier at 6am because I find it easier to focus and make sure that certain tasks get done first thing in the mornings rather than getting put off until the afternoon or evening.

In addition to mentoring on Saturdays through Minds Matter, I’ve now also taken on an additional mentee through the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and have been more involved in advising local Chicago startups because I’ve realized that’s how I most enjoy spending my time outside of work.

I would also say I’m now more aware of things that have a large effect on my mood and energy level. I’ve been more consistent about fitting in a workout every morning no matter how short it is because otherwise I’ve seen my energy level decline earlier in the day and have I’ve needed more than one cup of coffee to keep me going.

Overall, the self-tracking data has helped me become more aware of what’s important to me, what I enjoy doing, and how balanced the time I spend is between aspects such as work, friends & family, community and health & fitness.

Did you start out of pure curiosity, or with a goal in mind?
It was a combination of both. I started out in order to keep myself accountable for the goals I had set for myself, both in terms of health & wellness and productivity. I wanted to keep track of what I was working on, get into the habit of regularly writing and self-reflecting as well as just remember the things I had done or the places I had been that I enjoyed the most.