Digital health investments climbing
Investors poured nearly $8.1 billion into digital health startups in 2018, setting a record for yearly digital health investment, according to Rock Health. A total of $5.7 billion was invested in digital health in 2017.
Rock Health said half of all 2018 deals were seed and Series A rounds, “suggesting investors continue to believe in new entrants as they double-down on maturing, later-stage companies.”
Mr. Bream, who has been a speaker at two Top of Mind summits, also talked about his background in health IT and where he sees the industry heading in a separate interview with the Center for Connected Medicine (CCM). The CCM, which is jointly operated by GE Healthcare, Nokia, and UPMC, connects and inspires digital health leaders through original research and industry analysis, virtual events, and on-site experiences.
Read the interview with Mr. Bream below
Question: What is your focus at Nokia?
Answer: Nokia is currently focused on two big areas. The first is 5G and the second is the Internet of Things. As consumers it might be hard to believe, but 5G network rollouts are starting in 2018 in North America, China, South Korea, and the Nordics. It seems like it wasn’t too long ago we moved to 4G/LTE. Health care IT can benefit from the faster speeds, the lower latency, and security and reliability of 5G that can be tailored to the specific needs of each health care business.
The second area, the Internet of Things, will be transformative to health care IT as well. The impact will be felt in care delivery, efficient health system operations, and digital infrastructure. In care delivery, personalized medicine and improved adherence will improve patient outcomes. Efficient operations and digital infrastructure enable those outcomes while reducing health care costs. For example, new private LTE networks and automation platforms outperform today’s WiFi networks to enable asset intelligence with greater coverage, stronger uplinks, better avoidance of interference, and more precise location and asset positioning both indoors and outdoors. Health systems and hospitals that are using the capabilities are reporting better performance with an improved total cost of ownership.
Top of Mind 2019 survey
Read more findings from the Top of Mind 2019 research by downloading the full report. The free report provides insights from health system leaders on three top IT priorities in health care: Cybersecurity, Telehealth, and Interoperability.
Q: Talk about your career trajectory. What was the path to your current role in health care IT?
A: Digital technology and networking have been critical in driving massive changes to many industries. Music, books, videos, shopping and commerce digitized early and drove an explosion in data and connectivity. As this transformation came to health care, with its unique opportunities and challenges, I saw it as an opportunity to provide both economic and social value through networking technology and that was exciting. At that point I shifted focus to really understand the value that technologies like 5G, private networking, and automation platforms could bring to providers, payers, and patients.
Q: What was a challenge you had to overcome? What helped you succeed?
A: The main challenge was shifting my focus to a new industry when I started working in health care. While many industries have similar digital needs such as asset management, predictive maintenance, improved customer experience, high performance connectivity, etc., health care needs are unique, and the language is different. Regulation and liability are probably the two biggest challenges to understand.
To overcome those challenges, I immersed myself with Nokia’s customers like UPMC, with others who went through similar experiences, with industry associations and events like the Center for Connected Medicine, from good old fashion books, and of course the Internet. It didn’t hurt that several of my family and friends are health care providers and were able to help.
Q: What makes the health care IT industry unique in comparison to the overall IT industry?
A: The challenge in health care delivery versus other industries is in the type of regulation and liabilities that apply. Many industries have specific regulations for consumer and infrastructure safety, and health care is no different. Health IT companies need to make sure that they adhere to those regulations and that their networks and systems are compliant and secure. This can be both a challenge and an opportunity. Adherence to regulation can be a hurdle to mass deployment, but regulatory decisions can also become accelerators to health IT (e.g. electronic medical record mandates).
See more videos from the Top of Mind 2019 Summit
Cloud cybersecurity: Why health systems should work together to manage risk
Vivian Lee says Verily wants to help patients make health data more useful
Don Rucker addresses health care prices, APIs, and White House support for interoperability
Consumerism: Health systems are the taxi industry in an Uber world
Cybersecurity is the biggest priority and challenge for health systems, leaders say
Q: During your career what is the biggest change in business practice that you’ve seen, and what has been the impact of that change?