Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Venture capital -Health Innovations and Venture Capital

Innovation and Venture Capital

Health care is the fastest growing sector of the nation’s economy. This has not gone unnoticed in the venture capital community. Last year venture capitalists poured $9 billion into health care projects.

The emphasis has shifted from speculative biotechnology ventures to more predictable ventures, many of which already have a track record and some capital already successfully invested.

These include:

• Wireless devices for monitoring cardiac arrhythmias. Wireless monitoring of patients with chronic disease – congestive failure, diabetes, and other disorders in which vital signs are important are good bets.

• New cardiac stress tests requiring minimal stress, simultaneous measure of cardiac and pulmonary functions, and software predicating chances of hospitalization or death. Traditional treadmill-based cardiac stress tests entail risk, the presence of a cardiologist, and do not integrate cardiac and pulmonary information.

• Hospital staffing companies that supply and recruit specialists for hospitals experiencing doctor shortfalls due to the physician shortage. This industry is a sure bet as young physicians and older physicians suffering burnout flock to hospitals for security, payments of malpractice premiums and education debts, and balanced life-styles, and as hospitals seek internal and external specialist coverage.

• Occupational health centers and worksite clinics offering convenient evaluation and treatment for industries. Employers are desperate to cut their health costs, please their workers, and recruit talent with new health benefits.

• New tests for cancer. Cancer remains the most dreaded disease, and new genetic developments may make it possible to prevent malignancy or to catch it when it is treatable.

• Specialized centers for treating patients with special problems – e.g. centers for accelerating wound healing. For years Regina Herzlinger has spoken of “focus factories,” where doctors focus on special diseases to special needs. This have been slow to develop because of payment quirks and regulations, but may be coming into their own.


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