Posts in Junto Insight
Three Lessons that Digital Health Can Learn From Biotech

In 2019, we can expect to hear a lot from two of the investment community’s favorite industries: digital health and biotechnology. Both industries experienced record-breaking years in 2018. Globally, over $11 billion was invested in biotechnology companies in 2018 despite a challenging Q4, shattering the previous record set in 2015. On the digital health side, $3.49 billion was invested in digital health startups in the US, equivalent to the annual National Healthcare Expenditure. 

 However, while these two industries are similar in their sustained growth and promise, they sit at very different stages in their maturity. Since the introduction of recombinant DNA in 1976, the biotech industry has seen enormous growth, and its innovations have become an integral component of our daily lives. In modern society, we are wholly dependent on genetically-engineered innovations and pharmaceuticals that biotech brought forth. Biotech has become ubiquitous, and often governs our lives in ways we can’t easily identify. From the medications we take, to the food we eat, to the detergent we clean with, and the plastics and fabrics we use, biotechnology innovation touches many facets of our daily routines.

Conversely, digital health just recently (<10 years) emerged as a profitable venture following the most recent tech boom that has led to rapid  mobile app development, increased prevalence of data analytics, and the commercialization of personal IoT devices. Unlike biotech, we have yet to see digital health bee universally adopted. While companies such as Apple are pushing for the commercialization of digital health with moves such as integrating ECG capabilities into their newest Apple Watch, many hospitals and clinics are just beginning to implement digital health products into their workflows. Digital health is still an infant industry, but is full of potential. 

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Patient Protection in the Era of the Doctorpreneur

The term “doctorpreneur” has been coined by the media to refer to the ambitious group of doctors who are disrupting the healthcare industry with innovation solutions to pervasive problems. Over the years, the medical community has earned its place in the startup world, proving that it’s not just computer scientists and engineers who can innovate in the 21st century. In the past 20 years, the number of joint MD-MBA programs in the United States has grown from just 6 programs to more than 70. Even those without an MBA degree are finding the allure of the business and tech world intriguing and have sidelined their professional medical practices to pursue healthcare business ventures.

The concept of having doctors design health tech solutions for fellow clinicians makes perfect sense on many levels. No one has better insight into the needs of clinicians and patients than medical professionals themselves, as they are the individuals who regularly experience the challenges these solutions seek to overcome. The perspective that doctors hold in regards to the inner workings of the healthcare system is one which even an experienced business professional is unlikely to ever gain.

While the success of the physician-founded startup is promising, it also introduces new challenges to patient protection. This new frontier introduces greater complexity to questions surrounding physicians involvement with business endeavors, and specifically, how doctors balance corporate financial and advisory roles alongside their role as unbiased care providers.

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Addiction in Crisis: What Impact Can Technology Have On The Opioid Epidemic?

For the past three years, I have been living as a transplant from New York City in Somerville, Massachusetts while attending Tufts University. This past Spring, I was once again reminded that one does not always know what happens behind the closed doors of a small town as I sat in one of public health courses watching Runnin', a new documentary about the devastating impact of the opioid crisis. Directed by Alex Hogan, a journalist at STAT, this film explores how the opioid crisis has affected and tore apart Hogan’s hometown community of Somerville. While he was covering the opioid beat for STAT News, Hogan began to contemplate about how he could illustrate how widespread the crisis was and the impact it was having on friends and family members of those who were addicted.

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3 Health Tech Companies to Watch in 2018

Heading out of 2017 and into the New Year, the health tech battlefield is littered with countless startups who garnered investments but soon fell to the unique pressures felt in the healthcare space. At Junto, we have been able to have a sidelines view of these trials and tribulations as we have guided our larger providers and pharmaceutical members through different phases of digital innovation. 

While plenty of companies have impressed us with their tenacity and drive, a few stood out for their unique vision and solutions to the healthcare ecosystem's struggles on both the clinician and patient side. Here is our roundup of 3 startups that thoroughly impressed us this year and that you should be sure to keep an eye on as we head into 2018, because they are most definitely positioned for even more success.

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Applying Psychology to the Challenge of Internal Health Tech Adoption

Adoption of technology in the healthcare field has been happening at an incredibly slow pace. This is a fact that new would disagree with. The market is saturated with health tech companies that are vying to be the next big unicorn in the field, but long sales cycles and simple underestimations of what is needed for HIPAA and FDA approval has led to the demise of many of these projects. The ones that do receive enough series funding to produce finessed products for health systems and pharmaceutical companies however soon realize that the battle against time is not over.

Simply getting into a health system is not enough. Once a contract is finally ironed out and software is exchanged, the next uphill battle against the slow-pace of internal adoption is mounted. 

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Why A Silicon Valley Approach Can't Work for Health Tech

Imagine if I told you that there was a pool of close to 600,000 individuals in New York City who were ripe for innovative health technology integration. You probably wouldn’t believe me and say that it sounded too good to be true. This said pool does in fact exist and can be found concentrated within the city’s public housing.

While entrepreneurs, governmental leaders, and healthcare officials constantly speak of innovation and disruption, there seems to be a major disconnect between these words and actual creativity. This large, untapped pool of individuals who fall under the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) umbrella is one example of the lack of creative and truly disruptive practices I see in today’s early stage ecosystem.

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The Complex Relationship Between Health Tech & Medicaid

That is the number of individuals who received their health insurance coverage via either Medicaid or Medicare programs in 2015 according to the data compiled by the CDC and Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Let’s just repeat that number again- 105,692,900 Americans.

It was estimated that in 2015, there were 289,902,600 individuals with health insurance coverage. Approximately 39% of those individuals were receiving their coverage under public programs. This amounts to a significant percentage of the American population who are not being privately insured.  

Why is it then that many of today’s trending health tech companies are ignoring this 39% of covered Americans when developing their innovations?

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Prenatal Care Innovation for Both Mom and Baby

Designing digital health products can, at times, be much more complicated than developing regular technology. Not only are you dealing with the human body which can react and respond in numerous variable and unexpected ways, but you are on the front lines fighting against another force - time.

Whether it is growth or deterioration, the passing of time leads to massive changes on both a biological and a physical level. Digital health products are up against everything from microscopic cell growth and division to physically apparent weight increases and decreases. There is perhaps no stage of life where these changes are more fast-paced and important than during pregnancy.

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Advice for Startups from A Venture Director

Initially launching your first startup can be a major struggle, especially in the digital health realm. It can be hard to find a straight answer as to what you should do if you are a healthcare startup that is looking to make a big splash and gain investors. To help cut through some of the noise we decided to ask a director of ventures at a major New York hospital for his top tips for startups.

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