As we get our booth shipped and bags packed for Health 2.0 this year, I started thinking about when I first attended Health 2.0 five years ago. It was held at the Hilton in Union Square in San Francisco. I was in town for my startup’s interview at Rock Health, which at the time was just a stroll down Geary and a left on Grant through the Dragon Gate to the Rock Health offices in Chinatown. It was my first day ever in San Francisco; a place I would soon call home as I spent a chunk of 2012-2013 in the city for Rock Health.
I was a digital health neophyte at the time, which is to say I worked for companies that were much more Health 1.0 before that: Epic, Medseek, (stylized very Health 1.0ish as MEDSEEK) and Nordic. I was amazed to enter a room where digital health could be the future and where any innovation was possible. Crowdfunding, changes to incentives through the ACA, and the ubiquity of cell phones dominated conversations about the possibilities of wireless healthcare. Predictions abounded about who — told in Bay Area lingo — was going to be the Uber for healthcare. For someone who started his career in an era when doctors believed paper was the past, present, and future, it was invigorating to meet non-Epic employees who actually believed in a digital future for healthcare.
Times have changed. So has Health 2.0. Five years in startup time might as well feel like fifty. As a point of reference, you were likely a hipster making fun of Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in 2012 when I first attended the conference. While I was prepping for this year’s Health 2.0 I stumbled across the legacy website for Health 2.0 in 2012. I wondered where the many topics, predictions, and technologies from 2012 stood today. Which ideas were a hit? What predictions came to be true and what technologies faded into the “Our Incredible Journey” tumblr. Here’s an overview of the future as seen from 2012, now delivered in 2017.
Wearables and the Quantified Self
Then: Wearables couldn’t have been any bigger in 2012. Even though the Fitbit was, at the time, a clip, the possibilities of what could be done by tracking health information using now ubiquitous technologies like Bluetooth and Smartphones were endless. There were many sessions showing the potential of remote monitoring and smartphones, like “Demos in Context: A Live Environment Exploring Personal Trackers” (featuring now Propeller Health COO Chris Hogg) and “Off the Couch and Into Shape: Tools for Physical Fitness” (featuring Under Armour before buying MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness).
Now: The good news is that every modern iPhone has a pedometer in it and that Apple Watch sales are up 50% in 2017. The bad news is that everyone else didn’t do so hot. Pebble is gone. Jawbone is gone. Fitbit is at 1/50th of its value from when it IPO’d in 2015. Did we get some good clinical research from the wearables? Actually, yes. Are we healthier as a whole? Hard to say. The good news is you’re probably tracked everywhere now; the bad news is the wearables movement didn’t necessarily materialize into one great set of outcomes or businesses. While startups that focused on deliver programs alongside wearables, like Omada Health and Propeller, have kept growing, other startups didn’t necessarily make the leap. There’s still hope for some of the 2012 darlings, as exemplified by Jawbone who fail-pivoted into building a “Health Hub” to compete in the more regulated health tech space.
Non-invasive Diagnosis and Diagnostics
Then: There was a session on non-invasive diagnoses techniques, which had panelists from CellScope, Glooko (fresh off of a Series-A round of funding), Tawkon (tracking radiation exposure via cell phones), Transfuse Solutions, and First Derm. Ideas based on painful lab draws and general confusion around biometrics and results were beginning to gain traction at this time.
Now: How did Elizabeth Holmes from Theranos not get an invite to this session? Not kidding. It feels like they should have been rubbing shoulders with the Bay Area darlings and “innovators” in the non-invasive blood draw space before Holmes began her Icarian rise into fame. Turns out there is an answer to the question, per the man himself. Health 2.0 founder Matthew Holt—Theranos either ignored or eventually declined attendance at all events.
Then: While there were a few talks involving population health, the agenda for Health 2.0 mentions value-based care exactly zero times. There was one main stage session around ACOs and innovations in payment models. Conversation centered more around general cost reduction and consumer empowerment. Even the Twitter Health Team was getting in on the action, presenting how Twitter conceptualized its product being used to empower consumers in the post-ACA era.
Now: Everyone’s favorite digital health buzzword next to “Big Data” gets a variety of sessions and focus, though less so than maybe last year due to uncertainty driven by the government vis-a-vis the potential repeal of the ACA.
Then: Bitcoin was hovering around $11.00-$12.00 a bitcoin.
Now: The blockchain is the solution to all of our problems in health tech, not withstanding:
- Difficulties in patient matching
- The patient stigma/business cases of sharing data
- Challenges in semantic interoperability
- Any clinician’s willingness to take liability for receiving more data before treating a patient
Then: Launch! was the premier event at which to launch a digital health startup. The startups, their fields, and whether or not they are still seemingly in business were:
- TicTrac: Personalizable health and wellness platform.
- LifeVest Health (now Life.io): Insurance company technology platform.
- meQuilibrium: Digital resilience coaching platform
- Unfrazzled: Seemingly shut down. App for unpaid caregivers.
- First Stop Health: Telemedicine for employers.
- EveryMove: Wellness Platform
- Share the Visit: Seemingly shut down. Telemedicine, but for family members and caregivers for other patient visits.
- ShareMD: Pivoted to Datica :). “Pinterest for Doctors”
Now: There are now 12 startups pitching this year. Kind of amazing to see how many of the startups from Launch! 2012 survived and thrived given the vast changes in health tech and healthcare over the last five years. As for ShareMD, Travis Good and Mohan Balachandran realized how hard it was to get their platform for residents into the hands of clinicians due to the arduous and varying requirements imposed on their cloud platforms by academic medical centers. Realizing they weren’t the only vendors with this problem, Datica’s founders saw the real product wasn’t the social network but, rather, the platform that would make it easier for vendors and organizations to prove and ascertain application compliance. And, as such, Datica (née Catalyze) was born.
I hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane. If you enjoyed this blog post, come see us at any or all the events we’ll be participating in at Health 2.0:
- Come learn about the lessons Datica has learned over the last five years and compare them to other experiences veterans are seeing in the field at our Lunch and Learn panel at 12:30 on Monday. Christiana DelloRusso from Providence Ventures, Carolyn Jasik from Omada Health, and Kristi Ebong from Cedars-Sinai Accelerator will be joining Travis for a panel discussion about what success in digital health really looks like.
- Our VP of Product Ryan Rich will be demoing on stage how easy it can be to deploy code in a compliant environment at 11:20 on Tuesday.
- And, finally, we’ll be at Booth #204 to talk about how we can help you be successful in digital health through compliance, security and healthcare data integration. Stop by and take our 3-minute assessment based on the Digital Health Success Framework to find out how far you’ve come in your own digital health journey and how far you still have to go.