Predictive Analytics: The Future of Personalized Health Care

| October 27, 2014|Tags:

Personalized medicine, a deterministic model that argues medical science, specifically molecular data, will be able to provide tailored, individual care, has yet to deliver on the promise of its powers. In the meantime, its precursor, predictive analytics, which has proven effective in many industries, is now tackling the healthcare industry.

Predictive analytics isn’t anything new (think Amazon, Netflix, and Google searches). It’s simply the process of learning from historical data to make predictions about the future or any unknown. And in healthcare, this is what physicians do every day—look at patient symptoms and apply training and experience to diagnose and predict the best treatment. Taking what physicians do and scaling it with technology enables calculated probabilities to deliver more personalized care. Digital health venture funding reflects the interest in finding the best treatment for each patient with $1.9B raised for companies utilizing predictive analytics. (Note: For the purpose of this report, the scope of predictive analytics only includes companies using algorithms to directly impact patient care. We’re focused on solutions such as clinical decision support, readmission prevention, adverse event avoidance, disease management, and patient matching.)


Rock Weekly: Can we use data to personalize health care?

| October 27, 2014|Tags:

Rock Weekly

October 27, 2014

Let’s take stock of our progress toward futuristic healthcare. DIY cyborgs? Check. On-demand flu shots? Check. Personalized pills? Eh, not yet. So how can we use new and existing sources of data to deliver better, personalized care? Check out our just-released Rock Report on Predictive Analytics to get the scoop.

Then you should join us for the webinar on Thursday at 1pm PT.


The 10 Most Beloved CEOs in Digital Health

| October 22, 2014


It’s no secret that a company’s vision and culture stem from the top. Without the right leader at the helm, even the best ideas fail to gain traction. Sometimes this leadership takes the form of a benevolent chieftain (Richard Branson); and other times s/he is a ruthless perfectionist (Steve Jobs).

So with the deluge of growing digital health companies, we wanted to know which CEOs had the most respect from their teams. According to Glassdoor, an online jobs and careers community where employees rate CEOs, Evolent Health’s Frank Williams took first place with a 98% approval rate, followed by Castlight’s Giovanni Colella (95%) and Fitbit’s James Park (94%).

The distinguishing characteristic apparent in employee testimonials is that good CEOs hire well: nearly all the positive testimonials pointed to smart, supportive co-workers as a “pro” (followed only by ping pong tables).

Rock Weekly: Digital health goes to mars

| October 20, 2014|Tags:

October 20, 2014

80M Americans suffer from mental health disorders, though only 10% seek professional care. So we’re excited to announce that our portfolio company Lantern just launched to bring powerful mental health tools straight to your digital devices. And we’re not the only ones over the moon about digital therapies for the mind—literally.

The best way to build a digital health company

| October 20, 2014|Tags:

Alejandro Foung, Co-founder and CEO, Lantern

Last week our team launched Lantern, an online and mobile tool that evaluates your mental health in minutes. Personally, this moment was one of great pride for what our team has been working on for over a year—but also one of anxiety and worry.  (Luckily, we now have an app for that). Will people actually buy our product?  Will anyone even notice?  If people buy it, will they continue to use it?

Founders in any industry ask themselves these questions every day, so these aren’t novel feelings.  But running a startup in healthcare adds an additional layer that’s even more important than the fundamentals of your business and market opportunity: will user health actually improve? And will it be significant enough to publish results (i.e. through a randomized controlled trial)? I believe most digital health companies fail to get off the ground trying to answer this. It’s much easier to get someone to buy something than it is to get them to buy something AND also prove to the scientific community that your product is effective.

Creative destruction: The future of healthcare entrepreneurship

| October 16, 2014

Dr. Richard Foster, a jack-of-all-trades in healthcare innovation and venture sat down with Rock Health to discuss industry trends and the future of entrepreneurship.  He is the author of two best-selling books: Innovation: The Attacker’s Advantage (1986) and Creative Destruction (2001). He was also named one of Harvard Business Review’s “Masters of Innovation” in the past century.

We’ve seen rapid growth in this field in the past few years from startups, and now in the past couple months from larger companies such as Apple and Google. Do you see the industry controlled by a few hands in the future?

 I don’t—I do think that Apple, and particularly Google, have taken all the messages about why big companies can’t innovate to heart, and are working on solutions. Google has proven their willingness to shut things down that they’re experimenting with. The hardest part is not coming up with the creative idea, the hardest part is shutting down what you already have—your noble experiments that don’t work. The market doesn’t have any problem shutting things down. It’s called: “We’re not going to fund you for round B.” But corporations have traditionally had a harder time—Google has fixed that problem.

In healthcare IT, we have Epic, Cerner, athenaHealth, Allscripts, and five or six others that are important. Except if you actually look at the number of healthcare IT companies out there (I’m currently tracking 2,167 of them)—I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again—I think in fifteen years, 75% of the S&P 500 will be companies that we don’t know today. That’s not because we don’t know their names, but because they don’t exist. There’s no way with that amount of change, that we have to worry about monopolies.


Rock Weekly: These 58 companies have a message for the FDA

| October 13, 2014|Tags:

Rock Weekly

October 13, 2014

Last week, 58 companies spanning tech and health pushed Congress to finally codify some previously-recommended digital health regulations. Meanwhile, HealthKit gained its first EHR integration at a health system, even as the largest wearable maker announced it has no plans to mingle with Apple’s new health platform.


Digital health meets Wall Street: what it takes to IPO

| October 07, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 9.03.40 AM

I sat down with Peter van der Goes, Managing Director at Goldman Sachs and Head of HCIT.  The bank has led several healthcare IT companies to the public markets over the years, including Athenahealth, Allscripts, BenefitFocus and Castlight. I talked with Peter about growing public market interest in digital health and what that means for companies hoping to go public one day.

How do you think about digital health and the way it compares to other sectors, like traditional tech and healthcare companies?

Healthcare IT was historically pretty sleepy because the market was a sleepy part of the economy. With things like Obamacare and inevitable cost pressures in healthcare, we’re now finally starting to see real technology innovation, real data, real analytics, and real IT solutions inside the healthcare vertical. Although it’s early, it’s really exciting.

We’ve also seen a tremendous amount of VC investment inside the vertical over the last 12 months, in contrast to biotech, where we’ve seen only a bit of a resurgence. The impact that digital health innovation can make in healthcare can be even bigger than the great innovations that the biotech industry has brought and can bear. There’s tremendous potential for efficiency, outcomes, and satisfaction improvement that can all be brought into the healthcare economy at a lower cost than what we’ve seen in the past. Before the most recent digital health companies, there have been very few publicly traded health companies that get you to a better outcome while taking cost out of the system. That is what digital health businesses are all about.

Rock Weekly: The venture darling of digital health

| October 06, 2014|Tags:

Rock Weekly

October 6, 2014

Last week we released our latest funding update, reporting that venture funding in digital health has reached $3B in 2014—smashing the total for this time last year by 2X. Big data and analytics took home the gold for total dollars raised: so it’s no surprise that another data-hungry tech giant just revealed it’s plans for health. Get the scoop on the data behind the dollars. Read what digital health is (and isn’t).

Q3 funding update: Digital health rakes in $3B

| October 01, 2014|Tags:

Three quarters into 2014 and digital health funding has officially passed the $3B mark. Up from $2.3B since midyear, total 2014 dollars raised has steadily increased in Q3 with over 100% YoY growth. It’s worth noting that the growth slowed in the third quarter compared to Q2—and is more in line with Q1.

The average deal size for the year dropped $2.5M per deal to $13.1M since the midyear mark, though the average deal remains 31% larger than 2013. (Note: As always, our venture funding data only include deals above $2M).