More Startups Tackle the Health Care Tangle
American healthcare is in a transitional period. With the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and a growing consensus that current costs are unsustainable, it seems everybody is looking for the next great idea to slash through our nation’s ballooning costs.
A recent article in Wired tackles some of the most promising healthcare efforts coming out of Silicon Valley, that fabled redoubt of disruptive technologies. Healthcare has become an increasingly attractive area for investment dollars, particularly as many startups continue to struggle with the challenge of monetizing. (Twitter, anyone?)
What’s interesting about these innovations are the problems they are intended to solve. HealthTap provides a secure place where patients can ask doctors personal questions; Castlight lets patients shop for the best price on a medical procedure; Sherpaa streamlines diagnosis to cut out a costly visit to the doctor’s office. All of these notions attack inefficiencies in the current marketplace which will inevitably fall to better ideas.
As a practicing sinus surgeon, however, I must urge a small word of caution. The Internet can be a great place to communicate, collaborate and learn, but the process of medicine is still best conducted in a room, face to face. There are nuances to our personal histories and physical symptoms that electronic media cannot yet convey – someday they might, but not today. An in-person consultation with an expert physician remains the very best healthcare tool we’ve got.
But the times are surely changing.