Today on the blog we are featuring an interview with Junto Health's founder, Doug Hayes. Prior to working at Junto Health, Doug Hayes was an Executive Director at Blueprint Health where he helped accelerate start-ups. Feeling that there was a need to help companies navigate the at times over saturated innovation market Doug founded Junto Health in 2015. Today as CEO, Doug is focusing on helping alleviate the supply-push flow of technology in the healthcare market to make it easier for large companies and small startups to connect and collaborate.
To begin to put a face to the name, we wanted to focus on Doug's motivation for developing Junto Health and his vision of an ideal innovation ecosystem.
Junto Health (JH): What was the motivation behind developing Junto Health?
Doug Hayes (DH): Junto Health was created as a response to a few converging trends within health care. In my opinion, the rapidly shifting policy landscape, especially payment models, has forced large organizations to change their strategy and tactics within a short period of time, or risk losing market share. At the same time, startups have become easier to launch, which has flooded the market with early stage technology companies.
The problem with the current options for large organizations (bigs) to find young startups (smalls) is the fundamental direction of problem/solutions flow that currently exists. It is easy to launch a conference or an accelerator, and even easier to market new shiny technology, and this has made the ecosystem function with a supply-push flow of technology, rather than a demand-pull flow. The technology and solutions being pushed out into the world are not necessarily the ones that can help solve actual current problems that the bigs are facing, thereby creating unnecessary clutter.
JH: Why do you believe that this model of supply-push technology does not work for healthcare?
DH: To help the large organizations find and acquire the technology being developed a diverse array of “demand-access” vehicles have popped up across the country. These include accelerators, tech-focused conference circuit, hackathons & challenges, and public/nonprofit funding programs.
The big organizations are now inundated with various versions of similar technologies, most of which is are not fully baked or in line with their organizational constraints. This leads to these organizations then being forced to develop a new core competency of sourcing and vetting these early stage tech companies. This is NOT what a health system or insurance company was built for and it leads to lots of noise in the market, marketing-driven sales cycles, and fatigue within the bigs.
As Melvin Kranzberg said in his 1986 laws of technology, "Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.". Technology is not a savior, but an amplifier of people’s capacities in the direction of their intentions. The market needs to once again take this thought into account when considering how technology relates best to healthcare.
JH: How is Junto Health addressing these issues?
DH: Junto Health is not designed to change the root causes of these problems (the policy/tech/distribution channels), but instead is designed to alleviate the symptoms of them.
Specifically, Junto Health was built to offer the big organizations a more rational approach to knowing how they need to change their organization, identifying what type of technology would enable them to do this, and then using a demand-pull process to find and vet the best partners for each need.
Junto Health also recognizes the value in smart collaborations with complementary peer organizations. The zero-sum game of patient retention within health care has created a culture weak on knowledge sharing or “1+1=3” thinking. This is where Junto Health comes into play as we are a policy-informed, collaboration-oriented, demand-driven innovation ecosystem.
JH: If you were to describe Junto Health in three words, what would they be?
DH: I would say that the best three words to describe us are collaborative, problem-oriented, and turnkey.
The reason that I would choose collaborative is because in a period of healthcare convergence, we believe a growing percentage of challenges are faced by multiple types of healthcare stakeholders (payers, providers, pharmaceuticals). We believe these stakeholders will be successful (or not) based on their ability to find complementary partners to work on solutions together. This allows them to share the costs/risks associated with new technology, draw from a large pool of expertise/perspectives, and build long term relationships with a group of C-suites and budget owners who are thinking about similar issues.
Problem-oriented is an applicable description since we don’t push technology at our members, but instead use a problem-pull model. Before we even look at the technology ecosystem for products, we start with the member problem's and make sure that it’s clearly defined, confirm that the need is real, and identify an “ideal solution”. Only then do we look into the early stage ecosystem for solutions. This saves lots of time, resources, and leads to quicker launches between new partners.
Finally, turnkey greatly describes Junto Health as Junto membership provides all 3 aspects of an innovation strategy: process, opportunity flow, and a network of willing partners. We have developed a unique innovation process, derived from Shared Research Programs like TNO, and also have our own platform to help with this process. We also specialize in created validated opportunities for our members. These opportunities range from sourcing and vetting the top 2-3% of startups to identifying and catalyzing big-to-big partnerships. Finally, at Junto Health we have a community of 2 dozen name-brand healthcare stakeholders who have self-selected into our community and stand ready to collaborate when the right opportunity/partner comes along.