Friday, June 29, 2012

Boston: The HUB of Patient-Centered Healthcare?

This is the first post in a series on patient-centered health and wellness 
Correspondents + Co-Authors:  
Bill Fleming/extrovertic (Cambridge, MA) and
Patrick Rafter/Valuecasters (Wellesley, MA)

A cross-section of 50 of the “who’s who” of Boston-area healthcare gathered on June 25 for a spirited discussion around a rallying call to “Make Boston the Nexus of Patient Centered Healthcare.”  The evening provided an exciting perspective on how patients are managing their health outside of the formal healthcare system.

Extrovertic co-sponsored the event with North Bridge Growth Equity Ventures. Organized by Future Forward, the evening centered on a panel moderated by Scott Kirsner, Innovation Economist of The Boston Globe, comprised of entrepreneurs and policy-makers leading the trend in self-directed health and wellness:

David Dickinson, Zeo, an online sleep management company
Jason Jacobs, FitnessKeeper, focused on tracking, measuring and improving fitness
Joe Kvedar, Partners Healthcare's Center for Connected Healthcare, research in technology-enabled healthcare delivery  
Frank Moss, MIT Media Lab, new media medicine
David Rose, Entrepreneur and founder of Vitality, devices to improve medication adherence
Sonny Vu, AgaMatrix, the first iPhone blood glucose monitor

Ctr. For Connected Healthcare’s Joe Kevedar (l) catches up with David Rose (r)

The audience included representatives of the major players in patient-centric health:
  • Digital and mobile health startups and later stage companies, such as OhmUniverse, PrescribableApps, Healthrageous, Humedica
  • Payers and employers, including BC/BS of MA and AthenaHealth
  • Academic medicine and policy, such as BU and MIT Media Lab’s New Media Medicine group
  • Pharma, including Biogen-Idec and extrovertic
  • Investors, including Rock Health and North Bridge Venture Partners
  • Many others who deserve to be mentioned (but aren’t here/now)
The discussion focused on the opportunity to make Boston the hub of patient-centered healthcare, just as Silicon Valley is the nexus of technology-based innovation. Boston’s advantages in supporting this trend include:
  • A strong digital technology community, including entrepreneurs and developers.
  • World-class medical expertise and data, such as researchers, practitioners and Big Data from research and clinical trials.
  • An active venture finance presence that has a strong track record in funding therapeutic, device and diagnostic companies.

Scott Kirsner/Boston Globe (l) and Bill Fleming/extrovertic (r) compare notes 

Participants also pointed out some barriers to continued growth for the Boston area, including limited access to medical researchers, clinicians and data; a shortage of technical talent; and a lack of experience in funding digital startups.

A sense of the eco-system that has developed in the Boston-area over the last several years emerged from the conversation, and was depicted in this graphic, drawn during the event: 

Graphical representation of the dialog. Scribing courtesy of Marsha Dunn of Collective Next   

For a sense of “Who Said What” we invite those who were present at the event to weigh-in with your comments:

  • Which themes stood out for you?
  • What/Who was most interesting and inspiring?
  • What concerns were voiced or now come to mind?
  • What take-away ideas do you have?

Let’s keep the conversation going.

We plan to do our part by publishing some related upcoming posts on The Extrovertic Blog which will focus on the substance and implications of patient-centered health:
  1. What’s Goin’ On?   Who is managing their own health?
  2. Rage Against The Machine:  Giving consumers healthcare control + independence
  3. Love the One You’re With:   Opportunities for providers, payers and pharma

Editors' Note 
If you’re interested:
Feel free to volunteer to write a “Guest Blog” post on some aspect of the event.