Friday, March 25, 2011

Twenty Health Care Innovations

Health care innovations intrigue me. I look upon innovations as the ideal way to lower costs, improve care, and enhance access. Besides ,I wrote a book on the subject, Innovation-Driven Health Care (Jones and Bartlett, 2007). Furthermore, I call this the Medinnovation blog for a reason.

Today a new book crossed my desk Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Healthcare Sector: from Idea to Funding to Launch (Greenbranch Publishing, Phoenix, Maryland, 461 pages, 2011. $249.00).

The book is pricey, but if you’re an innovator who wants to start a health care business, it is worth the price.

The author is Luis Pareras, MD, PhD, MBA, director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Barcelona Medical Association. He is a neurosurgeon who serves on the boards of several health care startups and venture capital firms. He seeks to help physicians launch new health care businesses in life sciences, medical devices, service and IT. He can reached at

His basic thesis is to start a new health care enterprise with any chance of success, you need: a) a good idea; b) a business plan; c) a team; and d) venture capital. I will not go into any further detail.

Here are 20 health care trends he sees on the horizon.

1. Hospitals Are No Longer Buildings. Instead he sees hospitals as a virtual networks, with innovations to lure patients away from the hospital, fill the space with relationships, and make the hospital more useful and convenient to consumers

2. Patient Safety Focus - He foresees a boom in innovative projects to prevent medical errors and improve safety at all levels of health care with medical centers promoting their safety records on the Internet.

3. Information Is Everywhere - Here he predicts mobile medical wireless devices will make information available everywhere anytime real-time.

4. Evidence-Based Management – He feels data will be essential to evaluate care, create benchmarks, and guide consumers to the best organizations.

5. Health Care Can’t Keep Up with the Rate of Scientific Discovery - In the future, health care providers will need IT tools directing and incorporating best practices into their practices.

6. “Not Being Sick” to “Being Well” – Here he is speaking of preventive tools that focus on early diagnosis and strategies to keep people functioning in peak condition until late in their lives.

7. Shortage Of Professionals
- Because of the shortage of professionals, efforts will focus on helping doctors and others more efficient, effective, and productive.

8. The Information Highway Gains More and More Influence - The Internet will transform medicine through telemedicine and electronic clinical histories.

9. Concepts Such As Peer-to-Peer (P2P)and Web 2.0 will arrive at the Health Sector - These tools will empower both professionals and patients and generate extra value through interactive participation.

10. Social Entrepreneurs Take the Lead - Social initiatives to deliver basic health care to their third world, underdeveloped countries, and uninsured citizens will blossom. Examples are Doctors without Borders, Eyes of the World, and Health Leads in the U/S.

11. Consumer-Driven Health Care - Patients will start to buy their own health care without third party intermediaries, based on quality and convenience and not offered by government and insurers.

12. Electronic Health Records – Transportable “e-records,” I phones; Ipads, and other mobile devices will offer unparalleled conveniences to doctors as well as patients.

13. Cost Containment Will Become More and More Critical in Health Care. Due to every increasing cost, policy makers will limit reimbursement rates for doctors and hospitals. “Do more with less” will become the mantra.

14. New Actors Will Appear in the Health Care Value Chain – New models such Minute Clinic, QuickHealth, IT-based medical practices, concierge medicine, and home care through telemedicine will emerge and grow.

15. Health Care Will Become More and More Vertical – Hospitals dedicated to only one specialty or only one illness or only one procedure will become commonplace. You already see this with eye centers, hernia centers, heart centers, hip and knee replacement centers, and diabetes centers.

16. Personalized Medicine Drives the Agenda
- Preventing and predicting disease through knowledge of personal genomic information and other intensively personal care will become the norm.

17. Bioinformatics Emerge - Sophisticated computer bases and elegant algorithms will correlate billions of measurement and further individualize care.

18. Bioconnectivity Is The Next Big Thing – New generations of highly intelligent medical devices will help wirelessly monitor and manage chronic disease.

19. Electronic Signature is Everywhere
- Everything done in the next ten years will bear an “electronic signature “ of senders and receivers in interoperative communicating and conversing systems.

20. The Triple Helix Is Becoming Real
- The triple helix consists of a supporting triad of organizational administrations, hospitals and universities, and venture capital.


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