Get doctors and patients involved in health startups

The road to improving health care over the past several years has most certainly had a focus on implementing upgrade technologies such as EMRs and tablets, but also creating new technologies like 3-D printers and Watson-like doctors.

However, in my opinion as both a practicing doctor and technology entrepreneur, the focus is all wrong. EMRs, 3-D printers, and Watson-like brains are not fixing the real problems that plague the broken health care system that I am experiencing everyday. Perhaps that is because the current technology innovators do not experience the health care system everyday as patients and doctors do.

And, the current ecosystem for health care technology startups does not support doctors and patients as founders. If necessity is the mother of all great inventions, there will be no real problem solving in health care by new technologies until doctors and patients are really involved.

Why not have a bigger focus on getting doctors and patients really involved? Asking beyond ,”Why does the image of a successful startup founder always have to be 20-something nerdy hipster with a beard and a hoodie?” the following why questions must be addressed:

  • Why are there not very many patient or doctor initiated startups being funded by VCs?
  • Why does a health care startup doctor have to quit being a doctor that they worked so hard to become and love?
  • Why do health care accelerators occur only in a few select cities?
  • Why would a doctor with both school loans and “skin in the game” debt as well as bills and a family move to a city’s accelerator for 3 months without any salary or paid shelter?
  • Why would a patient who is receiving lifesaving care leave their treatment team to be a part of an accelerator in another city?

Jennifer Shine Dyer is a pediatric endrocrinologist, chief medical advisor, Duet Health and founder, EndoGoddess LLC.  She can be reached on Twitter @EndoGoddess.

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