The Digitization of Medicine

The US healthcare system needs change. There are two waves of change that are making this a reality. First, the government is pushing doctors to go digital, injecting over 19 billion dollars in incentives to doctors push doctors to go digital. Doctors will start receiving this government incentive money starting this Fall. The government is promising each doctor 44k+ in incentive money for using government meaningful use certified EMRs.

The second wave of change pushing doctors to go digital are the new agile age of mobile computing. Doctors are generally used to clipboards in exam rooms and waiting rooms, this will be changing. Apples new iPad is a game changer. Not only is it inexpensive but the battery life is somewhat amazing. The device can stay charged in sleep mode for almost a month! And once turned on can go for days. There are estimates that 4 out of 5 doctors will own iPads by the end of 2011. Doctors are actually early adaptors to iPad technology. They see iPads as a clipboard replacement.

The digitization of medicine is creating lots of opportunity for tech entrepreneurs. There are a new bread of company popping up, healthcare startups. Companies embracing new technologies. Companies not scare to take on the challenges of healthcare. A few examples of this are hardware companies like Halo Monitoring focusing on building new ways to help take care of our elderly. Companies who focus on building stethoscope and other devices that plug into iPhones for a new generation of tech doctors. Companies that focus on building amazing mobile healthcare solutions like Remedy Systems. Companies like Agile Diagnosis that are giving healthcare professionals accurate and efficient diagnosis. Mobile software focused companies like drchrono, whom focus on building a electronic health record platform with a focus on the iPad EHR. Michael and I the founders of drchrono think this is the right place and right time to be in HealthIT. Even the design team from the famous Firefox browser have decided to move into the HealthIT world focusing on a new startup called Massive Health.

Venture capitalist that have never ventured into the healthcare sector are starting to jump into the Health IT game investing large amounts of money. There are even a new bread of accelerator programs modeled somewhat like the Y Combinator program. Accelerator’s in healthcare are popping up across the Country, one example being Rock Health, there are others. Some of these accelerators are being created by Venture Capitalists and others by Insurance companies. The goal of these programs are to see what kinds of new technologies will come out of startup scene and be a part of it if it is successful. Generally Healthcare investments would take large amounts of capital to get off the ground, but the cost to start a healthcare company has drastically gone down.

There are new healthcare conferences and places for hackers to get together and build out great ideas. There are healthcare conferences like Health 2.0, talking about how we can focus more on the patient end and the power of the developer community. There is the new conference called Data 2.0 where people are asking about what do we do with data once we have it.

Some of the smartest minds are now doing healthcare hackathons that are brining together the smartest minds in Silicon Valley, Google even supports this movement hosting hackathons at the GooglePlex.

A story, that may or may not be true but worth mentioning, Steve Jobs when in a hospital saw how bad everything was and thought up the iPad. I heard this story from someone, it might not be true, but interesting!

The world is changing and massive health innovation is happening all around you.