Digital health: It's on

Digital health has waited - for a very long time - to be taken seriously by investors; I suspect the moment has finally arrived.

To get a sense of why, consider the strategy associated with the just-announced hire by Aberdare Ventures of Dr. Mohit Kaushal, an appointment discussed intelligently both by my colleague Zina Moukheiber here, and by Brian Dolan of MobiHealthNews here.

"Mo's joining is sort of a capstone of a recent aggressive period of strategic evolution for us," Aberdere's founding partner, Paul Kligenstein told Dolan, who continues,

"Klingenstein explained that Aberdare's investment strategy has changed markedly in recent years, and it's not a simple shift away from traditional life sciences companies or medical device companies in favor of digital health ones. Klingenstein explains it as a shift away from investments in companies that lead to more expensive, incrementally better healthcare to companies that provide ‘transformational technology' that ‘tie together to drive efficiency in care for the system, for the individual, and for payers.'

‘If you look at our portfolio today it's clear these types of companies cover the gamut: information tools to help people take their drugs, information tools to gather data in doctor's office, sensors that communicate with systems to perform analytics, and information tools to help people do clinical trials to discover drugs better,' he said.

Klingenstein said their latest investments stand in contrast to the way Aberdare and others investing in healthcare have been doing it for years."

My sense is that Kaushal at Aberdare and Dr. Bob Kocher at Venrockrepresent the next incarnation of healthcare venture capitalists - joining a select group of investors including Lisa Suennen of Psilos , Dr. Bijan Salehizadeh of NaviMedSteven Kraus of BessemerTodd Pietri of Milestone, and Jack Young of Qualcomm, who arguably have all been ahead of the curve here (disclosure: I know both Lisa and Bijan), in the same way that Eric Topoland Paul Sonnier have been out in front on the adoption and dissemination side.

Further evidence for digital health's emergence may be found in today's announcement - at the high-profile "D-Dive Into Mobile" Conference - of a new digital health company, called Better, founded by Geoff Clapp (who I also know - though I only learned today what he's been up to).

Better - which apparently seeks to help patients access health information, and potentially services, through a relationship with the Mayo Clinic - is significant not so much because of the vision (perhaps promising, though it's far too early to get a sense of whether or not the approach will succeed), but because of its founder - Clapp - and its funder - "Social+Capital Partnership" (S+C).

Clapp, the former CTO of HealthHero, has been what might be described as the unofficial "operations" partner at Rock Health, providing vital mentorship to the many companies associated with this digital health incubator.  He obviously has been immersed in the space for quite a while, and his decision to jump into the mix as a founder suggests the opportunity he's identified cleared a sophisticated critical bar.

Meanwhile, S+C  - the fund started by former Facebook VP Chamath Palihapitiya - seems to be the Valley VC of the moment, enjoying the sort of buzz most recently experienced by the likes of Andreessen-Horowitz and  Founders Fund.  It has not shied away from healthcare technology and services, investing in AsthmapolisSyapseGlooko, and Flatiron Health.

Notably, S+C recently raised their second fund, and the Mayo Clinic was reported by TechCrunch to be one of their LPs.    Palihapitiya's stated investment goal is to create social as well as financial returns, and it's encouraging to see that digital health is now recognized as an area where both may be possible.

It will be even more encouraging when (not "if") the results - measured by both health and dollars - validate this bold, optimistic thesis.

 

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

David
Shaywitz

What's new on AEI

AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters
image A nation divided by marriage
image Teaching reform
image Socialist party pushing $20 minimum wage defends $13-an-hour job listing
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 27
    MON
  • 28
    TUE
  • 29
    WED
  • 30
    THU
  • 31
    FRI
Monday, October 27, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
State income taxes and the Supreme Court: Maryland Comptroller v. Wynne

Please join AEI for a panel discussion exploring these and other questions about this crucial case.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 9:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
For richer, for poorer: How family structures economic success in America

Join Lerman, Wilcox, and a group of distinguished scholars and commentators for the release of Lerman and Wilcox’s report, which examines the relationships among and policy implications of marriage, family structure, and economic success in America.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The 7 deadly virtues: 18 conservative writers on why the virtuous life is funny as hell

Please join AEI for a book forum moderated by Last and featuring five of these leading conservative voices. By the time the forum is over, attendees may be on their way to discovering an entirely different — and better — moral universe.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
A nuclear deal with Iran? Weighing the possibilities

Join us, as experts discuss their predictions for whether the United States will strike a nuclear deal with Iran ahead of the November 24 deadline, and the repercussions of the possible outcomes.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
The forgotten depression — 1921: The crash that cured itself

Please join Author James Grant and AEI senior economists for a discussion about Grant's book, "The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself" (Simon & Schuster, 2014).

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.