On Location at Stanford: MedicineX

jupiter_stanford_medx_logo_400x300Last week I attended the first ever MedicineX workshop event on the Stanford campus.  It surpassed my expectations (which were frankly pretty high, given the source) regarding the content, the caliber of the speakers and the general attendees/networking.  I only wished that I had more time to meet people by the end of the day.

This event was born out of a panel discussion that was part of a larger event held at Stanford last year.  The focus on entrepreneurship and health innovation was so much in demand, they created a full day of thought-provoking talks and interactive workshops on the subject.

Dr. Robert Pearl, the CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, Kaiser Permanente, gave the opening keynote.  Here are some highlights of his talk, which revolved around what he feels are the biggest issues that need to be solved in healthcare:
–    He mentioned insurance exchanges – the complexity of buying health insurance today needs to be made easier, the way Orbitz and Travelocity have simplified shopping for travel.
–    He brought up big data, claiming that “a lack of data is not the problem”.  What we need instead, he said, are solutions derived from a smarter use of the data we gather.
–    He claimed that the main problem solved by FitBit and other like wearables is the “holiday problem” (what to get your relatives as gifts); he said they really are not solving substantive health problems at this point.

He summarized the main problems to solve as follows:
o    How can consumers get care less expensively? How can they negotiate, or get basic services like prescriptions without having them coupled to expensive visits?
o    How can we increase convenience for patients, providing them care whenever and however they need it?
o    How can we solve the issue of the electronic medical record: connecting all related systems more easily, and allowing patients to own their personal health info right on their electronic devices?
o    How do we provide a better solution that fits patients’ desire to design their own lifestyle choices and have more say as their “own primary physicians”?

Finally, when he was asked “How should startups connect with Kaiser Permanente to propose pilot programs?” his response was, in essence, “Don’t go for the big healthcare systems like Kaiser Permanente”, due to the complexity and time that it requires to do so.  He recommended that startups pursue pilots with smaller healthcare systems and, he said, “If you have the right solution, we’ll find you”.

Overall, it was a very impressive event, especially for a first-time-out.  I would put it on my calendar for next year if I were you.

Hilary Weber, founder, Opportu Startup Leadership.  http://opportu.com/

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