‘innovation’ Category

Ideas We’d Like To Fund

| March 10, 2014|Tags: ,

Rock Health exists to fund and support entrepreneurs working at the intersection of healthcare technology. We want to make healthcare massively better for every human being—driving down the cost to deliver improved services to more people. Simply, our mandate is impact. Massively better means incredible change—it’s improvement by an order of magnitude or more along every dimension. Healthcare that is incredibly functional, reliable, convenient, and yes, inexpensive. Ultimately, it looks like a system that we love.

The problems in healthcare are too numerous to enumerate; however, we developed a non-exhaustive list of some ideas we’d like to fund this year. If you want to make healthcare massively better, we want to hear from you, period. Submit your business plan by March 27th and hear back in April.


Why patients need to be treated like consumers

| January 28, 2014|Tags: , ,


We sat down for a little Q&A with Rock Health entrepreneur and Stride Health CEO and privacy expert Noah Lang.  You can catch Lang at Rock Health’s CEO Summit next week, where he’ll be diving into privacy issues on his panel, Privacy by Design.

What was your inspiration for Stride Health?

A year ago, I needed to select a health plan from my wife’s employer options.  There were only 4 choices, and we’re pretty healthy people, so it couldn’t be that hard, right? I searched for our favorite doctors, but had to do it in four different places. I tried to search for some preferred drugs to figure out what they would cost and found it nearly impossible to compare.  In search of an apples-to-apples comparison, I built an excel model to figure out what might happen if I tear my knee up skiing again or one of us needed emergency care, but very quickly realized it takes more data than a single person can wrangle with to find the answer to those questions. And that data is very hard to get.

Everybody told me there were already tools out there to help consumers with their coverage decisions. I tried all of them. None of the tools gave me confidence in my decision or helped me understand the product I was purchasing. In fact, none treated health insurance like a consumer product at all. The average consumer is willing to spend 9 minutes choosing a plan so often ends up taking an “educated guess.” It was clear to me that it was time for a new vocabulary: insurance in the context of the individual.  I set out to ensure consumers can make a logic-driven decision in that amount of time, or less—without picking up the phone, without confusion, and without resorting to educated guesses.

 Why must health transactions become more accessible to consumers?

 Nobody uses the word consumer in healthcare.  It’s a patient, an employee, an insured.  Healthcare companies are focused on the traditional “payers,” not the consumer.  Well, guess who pays the bills at the end of the day?  Us.  We are customers and deserve to be treated like we’re buying expensive, complex products.

Not only does health coverage come in just behind housing and transportation as one of the largest personal investments of the year, it’s the hub-of-the-wheel that impacts every downstream health transaction that a family makes. This is the reality in a world where only 14% of the employed population are able explain the four key concepts of insurance (deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance, and out-of-pocket maximums). When consumers don’t understand their own coverage, they’re not equipped to understand each subsequent transaction in their doctor’s office, the pharmacy, or the hospital.  As a result, we as Americans often under-use, overpay, and remain in a general state of confusion.

255M Americans see a doctor every year. Most have no idea how much they’ll pay.  150M Americans take a drug every month, but only 19% mail-order those drugs to save 30% of costs. Why? Because the matrix of plan “benefits” from our carriers and employers is pure cognitive overload for most of us. I believe in speaking the language of the consumer—not the insurance carriers—so I set out to simplify the experience, ensure product comprehension, and save consumers money.  At Stride Health, we translate coverage into a language everybody can understand.


Q&A With HiSum Speaker Dr. Kent Bradley

| July 09, 2013

This post is part of our ongoing series profiling speakers for our upcoming Health Innovation Summit.

Dr. Kent Bradley is the Chief Medical Officer at Safeway, leading the company’s wellness and healthcare efforts for their 180,000 employees. He came to Safeway in 2011 from Martin, Blanck & Associates, a healthcare services consulting firm. Dr. Bradley is a retired US Army Colonel, serving in Iraq as deputy commander over 4 hospitals and 2,500 staff.

How have you found the initiative to innovate inside a large company like Safeway?
Many people may not realize that the nature of the highly competitive retail grocery space fosters a willingness to try new things. We are constantly conducting small pilots in test markets. Our health initiative is born from a culture that values new ideas and, more importantly, the execution discipline that translates a good idea to true innovation.

How do you see health and wellness as being vital to a large company like Safeway?
There is definitely growing interest concerning how the worksite can be an overall contributor to the wellness of our nation through programs that support the effort towards a healthier lifestyle. Large companies are often self-insured and have a vested interest in reducing the healthcare cost burden through a healthier workforce, but they also understand the importance of optimal employee engagement by minimizing absenteeism and increasing presenteeism. (more…)

Can Silicon Valley Innovation Solve the Healthcare Crisis? Coverage of the Second Annual Great Silicon Valley Oxford Union Debate

| April 18, 2013

By Zim Ugochukwu

Last Thursday, a group of people, from inside healthcare and out debated this very question at Santa Clara University at The Second Annual Great Silicon Valley Oxford Union Debate.

The Churchill Club took the nearly 200 year old Oxford Union Debate and transformed it with a Silicon Valley twist to discuss and debate the merits of technology innovation in healthcare. The event featured an all-star lineup of business, design, life sciences and medical professionals. (more…)

Innovating in Sexual Health: An Interview with Jessica Ladd

| January 24, 2013

Jessica Ladd is an up-and-coming public health protege with an affinity for technology. She founded Sexual Health Innovations, an organization dedicated to filling in the gaps in reproductive health, including So They Can Know, a free web service that aims to increase STD partner notification. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

How and why did you start Sexual Health Innovations?
Jessica Ladd: I started Sexual Health Innovations because I wanted a home for So They Can Know—I needed an organization through which I could raise funds to support the project. Since then, Sexual Health Innovations has become much more than one project, and the reason I want to continue it is because I see such poor-quality tools and resources online for sexual health, and I realize how easy and cheap it is to create high-quality ones. As for how, I did it with a ton of help from fantastic friends, family, and colleagues who donated their time and money to get this initiative off the ground. (more…)

Apple Store San Francisco Recap

| December 07, 2012

Rock Health and the Apple Store San Francisco came together to showcase how to leverage powerful health applications on iPad, iPhone, and Mac. Representatives from Rock Health and up-and-coming digital health startups demoed exciting new products all available in the App store now.

Six digital health companies demoed products all available to download in the Apple App store! These products ranged from a wearable sensor devices to to interactive video games iPad Apps. Read the recaps below.


Vinod Khosla on Health Innovation [Video]

| September 10, 2012

We held our 2nd ever Health Innovation Summit to bring together over 300 innovators, academics, clinicians, and investors to inspire dialogue and action around innovation in healthcare.   And since health is truly a universal concern, we wanted the conversation to include diverse, and dissenting, voices.  It was unsurprising then that at least one speaker’s comments from the Summit sparked a heated debate regarding just how technology, in particular machine learning and artificial intelligence, will transform healthcare as we know it.

Vinod Khosla’s keynote was the subject of much (healthy) debate last week, invoking impassioned responses from all sides, particularly high-profile physicians. You can watch Vinod Khosla’s interview with Thomas Goetz from Health Innovation Summit below:

Some of the most cited responses to Khosla’s keynote:

Dr. Davis Liu on The Healthcare Blog:
Perhaps Khosla’s call to action was simply an entrepreneurial mindset, but simply ignoring those who have chosen a field to improve and save lives and who meet humanity everyday on the front-lines is problematic and dangerous. There are some things that may never be codified or driven into algorthims. Call it a doctor’s experience, intuition, and therapeutic touch and listening. If start-ups can clear the obstacles and restore the timeless doctor-patient relationship and human connection, then perhaps the future of health care is bright after all.

Matt Marshall of Venture Beat:
…the criticism of Khosla’s most recent comments last week is largely knee-jerk in character.  For the most part, the reactions failed to refute Khosla’s main point about the promise of big-data for healthcare… Khosla is simply using hyperbole to get his point across. With the angry reaction, he got the stirring debate he was probably hoping for.

So if there’s any real standoff, it’s hard not to side with Khosla on this one. You’ve got to be an idiot not to see that the system needs serious change.

David Shaywitz on the Forbes Blog:
Like other physicians in the valley (e.g.), I disagree with Khosla’s perspective, or more accurately, I bring a different set of experiences and biases.  Trained as a physician, and working in the medical products industry, it’s perhaps not surprising I view deep experience in healthcare and the complexity of the healthcare system as enormously enabling.  

Eric Topol responded in an email to MedCity News:
We [Topol and Khosla] are completely aligned on the need for radical transformation of medicine via technology–including digital, genomics, imaging… But we differ on whether this will lead to a massive 80% [replacement] of the physician work force. I believe we have no shortage looming, as so many have projected–because of the great innovations that empower consumers with their own precious data, and the new model of patient-physician partnership will evolve.


What do you think? Share your thoughts and reactions below.

Rock Weekly

| May 21, 2012


May 21, 2012

With all the buzz in digital health, it was hard to whittle down our favorite headlines this week. The highlights: Simplee raised $6M, Proteus raised $17.5M, and Dr. Oz’s startup raised $1.6M.  There were two digital health acquisitions and one big merger.  We also found out that physician adoption of tablets (namely iPads) doubled this last year, while doctor-only social networks stayed flat.

Click below for good reads:


Designing a Better Primary Care Experience: An Interview with One Medical’s Founder & CEO, Tom Lee, MD

| April 19, 2012|Tags: , , , , , , ,

What does personalized healthcare mean to One Medical? 

Tom Lee: The premise of One Medical is to treat individuals like individuals again.  The healthcare system, for the most part, treats the masses like the masses.  Instead what we try to do is understand that each person has a different health philosophy and motivations, and incorporate those directly into their care.  We provide information that is critical to patients while being open-minded to allow them to direct their treatment and care based on their own preferences and what works best for them as individuals.

Improving patient experience is at the heart of what One Medical does.  What are the critical components to creating a positive patient experience?

TL: There are many components to making a great patient experience but, at the end of the day, it’s about hiring people who truly want to make a difference.  And a leadership team that works to support those people.

What would you consider to be an equivalent ideal consumer experience to the ideal in healthcare, but in another industry?


Square Peg, Round Hole: a visit from Dr. Walter Bortz

| April 02, 2012

So what’s next for medicine? Dr. Walter M. Bortz, past co-chairman of the AMA’s Task Force on Aging and former President of The American Geriatric Society, and a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Stanford, stopped by to Rock Health to share his perspective on the current approach toward aging and disease. Dr. Walter believes that we can not accept the current inequity; we have to do something. Now is the time for a revolution in health, we just have to find the right replacement paradigm.