November 24, 2014
So HHS flubbed the math on health exchange enrollment, erroneously inflating it with 380K dental plans. Real score? 6.7M enrollees. Tired of the kerfuffle? Here’s your open enrollment tip: use Stride Health, an insurance-shopping-entrepreneur’s BFF.
Heads up: your Fitbit data can and will be used against you in court, and so may your rapid DNA test.
Happy Thanksgiving! Want to show your thanks this week? Pass along the Rock Weekly to a friend to subscribe.
Charu Raghu | November 19, 2014
Dr. Nirav R. Shah serves as Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s senior vice president and chief operating officer for Clinical Operations. He previously served as the New York State Health Commissioner, where he oversaw the implementation of a statewide healthcare technology initiative, the creation of a successful health insurance exchange, and the redesign of the Medicaid program. He is a board-certified Internist, an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and formerly served on the faculty of NYU School of Medicine.
1. During your time as NY State Health Commissioner, New York set up a great model for data sharing—what was the biggest win?
One of our most notable achievements was creating a statewide network for health information exchange. What does that mean? It means that if you got into a car accident in Buffalo, the doctor could pull up your electronic medical records from Brooklyn. This network for nearly 20 million New Yorkers is funded by the state—which means it’s each and every citizen’s data—not the insurance company’s data or the hospital’s data. As a New Yorker, you will have full access to your records through a patient portal (or can download the data using the blue button standard) and you can decide who has access to your data or even decide to opt out.
Calling all founders! Only three more days to submit your business plan to receive funding and support starting in January. To give you an inside scoop of what it means to be part of the Rock Health family, we checked in with Kinsights, one of Rock Health’s very first portfolio companies. Kinsights is an advice-sharing network for parents that integrates your child’s health record to further personalize your experience and connect you to parents who are dealing with similar issues. We’re lucky enough to work in the same office as this stellar team; here’s what they have to say about Rock Health, what’s new, and what snacks get them through the day.
What are you working on? Any new projects or focus areas?
We’ve put a lot of our focus on rare pediatric conditions, helping thousands of parents connect with each other, access resources, and share health information with their care team. Seeing parents, at different stages in their journey, share insights and advice with each other has been incredibly rewarding. We have 30+ groups for rare pediatric conditions, and for many of these parents, their child’s condition is so rare that they have never met another parent who is dealing with the same issues and concerns.
November 17, 2014
We’re thrilled to announce our latest investment, Iodine, which gives people insight into their health—starting with the medicine cabinet. Speaking of badass startups, you should join us too—submit your deck by this Thursday, November 20th.
“Pharmacists are the most underutilized healthcare provider.”
Roby Miller, founder of Rock Health portfolio company TelePharm weighed in on the future of telemedicine and how virtual pharmacists, are fitting into the health tech conversation today.
Like many of us, Roby knows that the word “telemedicine” is becoming the word in the health tech industry. But what does telemedicine mean to most people? It has been Roby’s experience that “when people hear the term, they think of a video chat between a provider and a patient.” And when most people hear the word ‘provider’, they think of the doctor, not the pharmacist. Why? Most of us think of pharmacists as the dispenser of medication—that’s all. But what happens if pharmacists start spending more time counseling patients virtually? “We’ll see a shift in how pharmacists are reimbursed because their value will be realized shortly from a payers’ standpoint,” says Roby.
Our experience funding companies at the intersection of healthcare and technology for over three years has been humbling—we are continuously surprised (both pleasantly and unpleasantly) by the problems that plague our healthcare system and the ingenuity of the solutions we see.
Entrepreneurs in our portfolio spotted—and are now tackling—problems in emergency kit processing, continuous monitoring, and diabetes prevention, in addition to many, many others. As early stage investors, we seek to invest in these types of relentless problem solvers, not underlying technologies.
While entrepreneurs enlighten us to most of the problems, a few are top of mind for us as well. The below list is clearly not comprehensive (in fact, you should read our last post on this topic for even more—all of which remain of high interest), but hopefully this helps jog some ideas.
Today, we’re excited to announce that we have raised our third and largest seed fund. Funding was led by Bessemer Venture Partners and Kaiser Permanente Ventures, with participation from KPCB, Montreux Equity Partners, and Great Oaks Ventures.
Our core mission is unchanged—we support and fund the entrepreneurs who are working tirelessly to transform healthcare—and this new fund is part of that mission. Seed funding is a service for entrepreneurs, sitting alongside hands-on support from our team, deep access to a network of industry leaders, and membership in a burgeoning community of digital health entrepreneurs. With this fund, we set out to make the seed funding component of our full-service model even better, with two broad goals: (1) To make it easier for our companies to raise money now, in completing their seed round and (2) to make it easier in the future, on their next round.
On (1), effective immediately, we are significantly increasing our investment to up to $250,000 per company. With our confidence comes a belief that we should be putting more money into each company, and we know that increasing our check size (and selectivity) will be a stronger signal to seed co-investors. On (2), the lead investors in this fund represent the most active venture firms in digital health, with category-leading portfolios and a full commitment to investing in companies over the next decade. Every single one of the investors involved in our third fund shares our mission to make a massive impact in healthcare, and is committed to finding the companies that will deeply transform the industry.
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.)
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.
Halle Tecco | 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).