Health Innovation Summit Begs the Question - Is Digital Health at a Tipping Point?

Fenwick & West Life Sciences Group

[author: Michael Esquivel]

From the minute you stepped off the elevator at Rock Health’s annual Health Innovation Summit on Tuesday, there was an undeniable energy. The sold out event was jam-packed with entrepreneurs, investors and health and technology innovators. An all-star line up of speakers consistently delivered useful insights throughout the day. But first, Rock Health CEO Halle Tecco, led off the day with some big news.

Tecco announced a partnership that provides each startup joining Rock Health with a $100,000 investment from four high profile venture investors: Aberdare Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mayo Clinic, and Mohr Davidow Ventures. Leading off on a high note, the day continued as Intel founder Andy Grove delivered his keynote.

Grove set the stage for why Job 1 in digital health innovation must be to “Free the Data!” Ending his discussion with that proclamation met with enthusiastic applause from the audience. He also introduced the concept of M(ed)SRP or medical suggested retail price, making an analogy to the auto industry. Historically new car pricing moved from a system with markups and discounts varying significantly to one in which standardized pricing was established and openly disclosed. Grove sees that historical precedent as a path forward for medical services, creating greater price consistency and upfront disclosure.

Over the course of the day, two camps appeared to emerge – those who believe the time is right for massive, paradigm shifting innovation that comes from working outside of the existing healthcare infrastructure. As Vinod Khosla stated – innovation comes from the fringes - start there. Another camp, already established in healthcare, advocated for incremental changes that can be made from within the system and current regulatory framework. Though a dichotomy exists, I don't view these two paths forward as being at odds. Rather, both avenues can and should be explored in parallel.

Stay posted as I’ll be writing more on the specific panels and themes that emerged from the conference in the days to come.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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