Private Sector Leads Innovation in Health Care Information Technology

Dr. Don Berwick, who until last week served as administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has a handful of central tenets about changing health care for the better. Perhaps his two most interesting from a start-up perspective are:

    • “Start at scale. Pilots will not suffice;” and


    • “Act locally. Every community must mobilize.”


Coming from a person who was recently in charge of a half-billion-dollar budget and whose life’s work has been to promote efficiency in health care, these words should excite the growing “Smart Health” start-up community. “Smart Health” entrepreneurs are using the web, mobile apps, cloud computing and social networking technology to help educate people about health issues, give access to medical information and increase knowledge of individual behavior so that scientists and health experts can understand the “whys” and “hows.”

SegTerra utilizes blood biomarkers to help customers achieve their fitness and health goals. Customers have their blood tested 2-4 times a year to determine whether diet, exercise, or medical intervention would help them improve health outcomes.

Meanwhile, Anthurium Solutions, Inc. provides a software solution that helps patients with chronic health conditions match with healthcare professionals and service provider “coaches” that help them manage their conditions better. This outpatient management can lower healthcare costs by helping patients manage their symptoms proactively, reducing emergency and in-patient treatment expenses.

Many other companies (including Google) are considering means of storing data and helping individuals understand their medical choices. While the public sector’s ability to implement change has been called into question, there is reason to hope that private sector innovation may once again lead the way to efficiency.

This post on Health Care was authored by Caitlin Vaughn.

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