To continue deeper into the intersection of health, wellness, and technology theme - we’re going to discuss opportunities around the cost-conscious patient. Much like eBay and Amazon brought efficiency to the traditional goods marketplace, we’re going to see a great push to make healthcare products and services cheaper through better efficiency and visibility into pricing and options.
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation report found that 30 percent of Americans have had trouble paying medical bills in the past 12 months. Even worse, the same survey reports that 52 percent of those surveyed reported that the amount they paid for their families healthcare and coverage has increased over the last year. Just under 25 percent reported that their healthcare costs had “gone up a lot.”
Beyond public outcry for help, this has driven a large portion of Americans to healthcare self-rationing: with 40 percent of people in fair or poor health did not fill a prescription in the past year due to cost.
This same sentiment was echoed in a March 2010 Harris Interactive Healthday study in which 71 percent of Americans said were worried about rising healthcare costs. However, even more telling may be people’s perception of who’s to blame for rising healthcare costs, with over 60 percent of Americans blaming healthcare costs on the profits of insurance and prescription drug companies and 50 percent of Americans blaming hospital costs. Only 18 percent of Americans point to their own use of medical services as a prime cost of their healthcare bill.
This data points to a system where health stakeholders need to get more patient-centric, working to truly focus on designing services and products around health citizens’ demands and requirements, and enabling consumers to take charge of their healthcare decisions.
For the first of the deep dive verticals in the Technology and Wellness theme, I wanted to write about the opportunities in increasing medication adherence in patient. Surprising to most – patients not taking or missing is a widespread and costly issue for the United States and Globally.
Specifically, according to the Center for Technology and Aging, of the 3 billion medication prescriptions issued annually in the U.S., 12 percent are never picked up by the patient and 40 percent are not taken correctly. More startling, non-adherence is responsible for up to 69 percent of medication-related hospital admissions and 23 percent of all nursing home admissions annually, emphasizing just how important it is for consumers to follow their medication guidelines.
Since joining True Ventures earlier this June, I’ve been drinking from the proverbial firehose – learning tons about the venture capital business, meeting with amazing entrepreneurs, and simply learning from the great team around me. Since joining, we’ve completed a great number of follow-on financings, I’ve spent some time working within our portfolio on marketing, and even sourced a new deal with Kiip.
Moving forward, I’m going to be spending more time researching markets for outbound deal sourcing. With Twitter and About.me previously resulting in some interesting leads – most recently 60Mo & eBerri - I figured the best to start this would be to post my thoughts publicly on my blog for feedback, criticism, and recommendations of where to dig further.
The first of these themes is: Customer Experience at the Intersection of Health, Wellness, and Technology.
While at the University of Florida, I worked on a class assignment that focused on marketing for a new healthcare startup, Voalte, based in Sarasota, FL. Voalte is an awesome new company focused on redefining point of care communication at hospitals – by proving a robust and easy-to-use workflow App for Doctors and Nurses – on top of everyday mobile platforms.
When the team first started Voalte, they talked to the CIOs at major hospitals across the United States as part of their customer development process and asked all of them the same question: “If you thought about all the vendors that you deal with, who would you say ‘gets it right?’”
The most common answer taken directly from the team on the Voalte Blog:
Over and over the response was a blank stare and the occasional “What do you mean?” (expressed in a tone of “you mean there’s an alternative?”) or the usual “They all suck.” The most telling response came from an IT director who told us that he deals with over 600 vendors and not a single one stands out above the rest. This came as a shock to us. For me personally, it was especially disappointing that there was no healthcare equivalent to the “Starbucks experience,” so to speak.
In most cases, this experience extends beyond the hospital enterprise and directly to consumers. From my own personal experiences, my father was recently diagnosed with diabetes and has begun a daily regimen to track his blood sugar and food he eats. For lack of better options, he does this using pen and paper 5 times a day – no way to search, analyze data on the backend, or upload it to his medical records easily.