Partnering with startups can help systems find their entrepreneurial side
We’re living in a unique moment in the history of healthcare. It’s never been more important for leading organizations to start making bold changes that will help them nimbly adapt to the diverse needs of patients and better integrate new technologies that improve the quality of care.
It’s often said that healthcare is years behind the digital revolution curve. With the growing “consumerization” of the healthcare economy, this lag does a disservice to the growing number of patients who are now shopping for high-quality, affordable care.
There are also growing pressures on the industry, including escalating costs, an aging population and adapting to requirements under the Affordable Care Act.
Large hospitals and systems are consolidating and expanding, and while some of these networks have been successful, organizations that hesitate to reinvent themselves by embracing a culture of transformation will struggle long term.
Too many executives at large, established institutions are still making the same mistake: They’re not looking outside their own walls for new ideas and approaches. They’re entrenched in a “stagnation mindset,” not collaborating in the development of solutions with entrepreneurs working to accommodate the care of the future.
But by adopting a “healthcare transformer mindset,” thinking like an entrepreneur and looking to external partnerships, these executives can encourage disruption within their own organizations.
Aurora Health Care, a large not-forprofit healthcare system based in Milwaukee, recently decided to take a lead investing role in StartUp Health, an organization leading a global movement to transform health by organizing the world’s largest community of health and wellness entrepreneurs and stakeholders. This collaboration is consistent with Aurora’s emphasis on transforming care processes and reflects a continued commitment to internal disruption.
Collaborating with StartUp Health
gives Aurora access to hundreds of vetted startups from all over the world that are looking for opportunities to deploy their solutions. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship that makes a big difference to the patients covered under Aurora’s network.
One of StartUp Health’s 135 portfolio companies, BabyScripts, uses digital sensor technology to transform the way prenatal care is delivered. Typically, an expectant mother would need to visit her care center for 15 checkups during the course of a normal pregnancy. These frequent visits can be taxing and unrealistic, and each appointment provides only a snapshot of her health on any given day.
An increasing number of soon-to-be moms in the Aurora network have access to a BabyScripts care package, which includes a wireless blood pressure cuff and scale for daily home use. Studies show that encouraging patients to participate in their own self-monitoring at home leads to better health outcomes. A mobile app sends push alerts for prenatal vitamins, and also alerts physicians if there are any abnormal biometric changes.
Another common care challenge is patients who are “lost to follow-up.” This means the patient has stopped visiting the doctor, transferred to a different network or has been lost to administrators.
With that in mind, another StartUp Health company, Caremerge, offers a software platform that acts as a coordinated-care network between the system and care teams outside of that system. The information stored is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and allows caregivers, physicians, family members and patients to all be on the same page.
Patients expect and deserve the best care at the lowest possible price. We’re now living in a digital world, and many of the solutions in healthcare will require a re-imagination of the status quo. It’s a limited approach to assume that all the answers can be found only internally. Instead, healthcare systems should be open to the best ideas from the startup ecosystem and provide a fertile testing ground for new approaches to flourish.
Now is the most important time to collaborate and embrace startups. Together we can speed up the cycles of innovation and help patients live well.
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Dr. Nick Turkal, left, is president and CEO of Aurora Health Care, Milwaukee. Steven Krein is CEO of StartUp Health.