Q&A With HiSum Speaker Leah Sparks

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

Leah Sparks is the co-Founder and CEO of Wildflower Health, building a mobile health engagement platform to improve healthcare quality and lower medical costs. She has more than a decade of experience in the healthcare industry, with a focus on creating new strategies and business models. Previously, she worked at McKesson Corporation and DNA Direct.

What are the three main issues with the current delivery of healthcare in America?
First, there is a lack of real-time, actionable data that can be used to make treatment decisions more intelligent. The second issue is the fee-for-service reimbursement model that is not tied to outcomes. The third problem is the failure to engage patients around healthcare decisions.

How is personalized medicine changing the healthcare landscape?
Today, healthcare often takes a one-size-fits-all approach to everything – how we deliver care, how we pay for it, how we communicate. This approach occurs because the system doesn’t take the time to understand the patient and doesn’t have the intelligence to personalize the patient’s experience based on any data collected. Many of the startups in the digital health landscape today are tackling this gap in one way or another to create better healthcare experiences and save money by focusing on the strategy most likely to work for an individual.

What are the challenges associated with scaling personalized medicine?
Scaling anything in healthcare requires a bold vision in a big area of spend. The challenge in healthcare is the slow pace of change. To overcome that, you may need to start with a pragmatic approach that gets you entrenched first, and then you can work towards scale and true disruption from there.

Why is maternity management an area of focus for you?
Maternity is a huge cost area – about a 100B of spend per year – and the U.S. has the highest rates of pregnancy complications in the developed world. Meanwhile, pregnant women are among the most engaged consumers in the healthcare ecosystem. We think this makes maternity a perfect beach head for a mobile healthcare solution that can ultimately transform the care delivery model.

Join us and hear more from Leah on her panel, Turning Lemons into Lemonade: How My Healthcare Experience Inspired My Company, at Health Innovation Summit.

Do you have any more questions for Leah? Share them below and hear the answer on August 9th.