Healthcare Startup | Josh Liu | [email protected]

so when I was growing up and I thought about health care I always imagined you know what could my doctor do for me what could my doctor do to treat me cure me care for me if I had a heart attack you know my doctor would cure me if I broke my hip my surgeon would fix me and so I grew up wanting to be a doctor so I could cure people and a year ago I got my medical degree and I officially became a doctor but thanks so it's funny that you guys clap because the next sentence I was going to say is but just as quickly I in some ways unbe came one so pretty much I can say anything in this room and I'll get an applause that's best so thank you um so the reason I kind of start shifting gears was because I started believing something new I started to believe that the future of healthcare wasn't going to look very much like the past and so I'm here today hoping to convince you that the future of healthcare won't just be about what your doctor or your nurse can do for you but it will be about three new things number one it will be about what can I do as a patient to manage my own health to be the quarterback of my own care number two that technology particularly the Internet and mobile will be the enablers that make this paradigm shift possible and number three and most importantly that this digital health revolution as we call it won't necessarily come from people inside the healthcare system but it will come from you patients innovators technologists from around the world who live outside the healthcare system but really really want to make it better but before we can talk about the future we need to talk about the past we need to understand how our healthcare system has developed and where it's going so over the last century our healthcare system has become really really good at treating people once they're sick so if you have an infection we have the antibiotic for you if you need your knee replaced your surgeon can fix it for you and so a lot of the healthcare that we've given has come in a hospital where we treat really sick people and so because we became very good at fixing people when they were sick that's how our governments and how our health insurance companies started paying for health care so you know we would pay doctors and nurses and hospitals for you know how long a patient stayed in hospital or how many tests were done or how many patients were seen and so on and so we would incentivize healthcare providers to do more based on by paying them for how much they did which made sense at the time you know the more sick people you treated the more you got paid but as our health care system got better people started to live longer and be healthier and we saw this rise of chronic disease so as this graph from the public health agency of Canada shows by the mid 20th century chronic disease such as diabetes and heart disease and so on became leading causes of death and because people started living longer we also started doing surgery on people when they were older and that makes them higher at higher risk of complications and so our healthcare system should have evolved to focus on preventing people from getting sick and keeping you healthy in the community but in many ways it didn't really and by the 21st century we were still mostly paying health care providers to treat people when they were sick and not really paying them to keep you healthy and this is a big problem because health care is really really expensive when someone gets sick and so because our funding models and health care didn't evolve our health care system didn't evolve with it and so even though the needs of patients like you and me have changed over the last 50 years we haven't really changed health care to fit those needs and so a recently that is you see we finally come to this really scary reality that health care isn't sustainable anymore and how do we know that so last year ten in the u.s. spent three trillion dollars on health care three trillion dollars I can't even imagine what that might look like in bills it must be a lot of briefcases it's really big and you know in 2012 Canada spent eleven or ten point nine percent of our GDP on healthcare the u.s. spent sixteen point nine percent that's the highest among developed countries and so these two countries even though we have higher than average spend on percent GDP on health care among developed countries we don't come anywhere close the top of key healthcare outcomes and so we know that we can and we must do better for our patients and so now there's the shift in healthcare going on where we want healthcare providers to care more about preventing you from getting sick and so we're starting to realize that maybe we start changing these incentive models how we pay hospitals and doctors and that might do something so in 2010 here in Ontario the government released the excellent care for all act and that made health care providers and hospital executives more accountable for how well you guys did at patients so for example they started tying Hospital executive payment to how well patients would do in the state's through the Affordable Care Act or as you guys might know Obamacare that came to effect also in 2010 and that brought even more dramatic changes in the way we pay for health care so over the past few years many hospitals of the states have been penalized millions of dollars for having too many patients unexpectedly come back to hospital within a month of leaving so we're seeing these major shifts in how health care is paid for from paying for quantity to paying for the quality of care that you're getting and so now for the first time in history health care providers and hospitals have to work together to keep patients healthy and out of hospital now that's not easy to do that's actually really hard I mean imagine you're a doctor who before you just had to care about how patients did inside the hospital and all of a sudden now you're being asked to care for people outside the hospital as well how do you manage that we're gonna get back to that but I want to shift gears a bit and talk a bit about something else happening all the well over the last few years in the technology world so every now and then a new technology comes into the existence that changes the way we live our lives in the 70s we had the home computers in the 90s we had the internet and most recently we've had this explosion of mobile technology so things like smartphones and tablets have changed the way we live our lives today more than a billion people in this world have access to a mobile device certainly by 2020 almost every single person on this planet will have access to the Internet be connected to each other through a mobile device and yeah I think it's awesome but for my point of view one of the most amazing things about this is that it creates this unprecedented opportunity to bring healthcare to people everywhere no matter where you are no matter where you live and you know when there's suddenly this new game-changing opportunity to be able to deliver something to you know billions of people around the world humanity finds a way to make it easy to do so so today it is now easier and cheaper than ever to build software to write an app they can reach millions if not billions of people around the world I mean back in 2004 Facebook was started in ten months they had a million users by 2012 they had a billion users Instagram was started 6 years after Facebook they reached their millionth user in less than two and a half months and so the rate at which you could reach people around the world now through mobile is just exponential and it's it's amazing so let's recap for a bit you know we've learned that the health care system has completely started changing the way it's paying for health care and now they're in urgent need of new solutions to keep people engaged in healthy in the community but in health care we have limited resources we have limited people and so the question is how do you bring health care to people around the world in a way that's cost-effective and scalable number two you know we're in the midst of this digital health revolution with better access to mobile and the internet than ever before and number three you know now that anyone who can write software can reach people all over the world we can do amazing things so let's put that together you have this healthcare system that really really needs new solutions and we live in a world now where anyone so not just health care providers not just really big companies anyone who can write code and build a product can make a dramatic impact on the health of millions of people around the world how do I know that's possible because that's what we're doing today so when we started our digital health startup seamless MD we were just three guys is with a dream I was in my last year of med school my co-founders you see here Philip and Willie they were in their last year's of their first degree of university and before we even graduated we had convinced this hospital to use our platform and when we think about it we asked ourselves you know what business did three guys like us have actually believing that a hospital would say yes we were young we had no resources I'm sure I was in medical school but I wasn't even a real doctor yet and there were a million reasons why that hospital could have said though for sure at least a million and I'm so glad they didn't because if they had I wouldn't be standing here talking to you today so what does felis md do I think the best way to show you is for you to meet David so David is a journalist he's a PR specialist and entrepreneur a few months ago David was diagnosed with lung cancer and as David told me he said you know when you hear for the first time from your surgeon that you have a malignant tumor and you need surgery you just stop listening to the words your surgeon is saying you go home and your mind is just racing with questions and the thing about surgery is that until you actually have it something you might not realize is that the actual surgery itself is a really small part of an entire patient journey so everything you see in red here is everything a patient might have to do to prepare for surgery and to recover afterwards it's a lot and the scary thing is we live in the 21st century and despite how complicated this whole journey is through surgery we still rely on paper and verbal instructions to get a patient through this journey but David's story ends up being a bit different as it turns out David surgeon is an early adopter and pioneer in technology this is dr. Carmen Simone he's a lung cancer surgeon and the chief of surgery at Toronto East General Hospital and I'm so proud to say that he's been an early adopter and a champion of ours since the very very beginning and so when David learned that he would need surgery he also learned from dr. Simone he'd be getting seamless to help him through that journey so it was okay that David was stunned to learn he had lung cancer and that he couldn't remember what dr. Simone was saying with seamless everyday both David and his wife would get reminders leading up to the surgery telling him how to prepare what to bring the hospital when to stop starting medications and if he able ever felt unsure of what to do next he could access videos on our platform made personally by dr. Simone so two and a half weeks ago David had his actual surgery and he continued to use felis as he went through his recovery so every day David's been going on our application and he's been tracking how he's feeling any symptoms he's feeling and every day gives him personalized feedback about what to do if something's wrong so now patients like David actually know how to safely manage their recovery and when to get help from a doctor and how if they need to and so by empowering patients like David to be more engaged in their recovery we also help hospitals catch complications like infections earlier and prevent costly visits back to the hospital and this is really important especially for patients like David who often live you know hours and hours away from the actual hospital now we aren't the only ones working on problems like this there are hundreds of startups now trying to solve some of the most pressing problems in healthcare today in 2013 they're actually already over 40,000 health care apps in existence many of which were meant to help patients manage their own health but what's amazing isn't just the pure volume of innovation happening right now in the space what's even better is that we are starting to break down barriers to making digital health meaningful and connected in our actual healthcare system so earlier this year if you've been following Apple they release their health kit platform and health kit will now come on every new Apple device and it integrates with fitness trackers monitoring devices other applications and it brings all your healthcare information into one place whether it's your blood pressure your sugar levels through medical history it's now all in one place and Apple is now starting to integrate this platform with apps from the Mayo Clinic it's integrating with some of the leading electronic medical record systems in North America and really what the importance of that is over time we're going to see more and more integrations between third-party systems and the healthcare system itself making easier than ever for doctors and patients to connect I think what's most important is that these are signs that this digital health ecosystem is really expanding and that's going to become even easier for people like you and me to build solutions that can actually impact the lives of patients and doctors but let me be clear you know as easy as it's going to be to start building solutions in healthcare that doesn't mean it's easy to have a real important impact you know it's not about circumventing the healthcare system it's not about going rogue and trying to solve these really hard problems on your own without talking to patients doctors or hospitals that's not what seeing this MD is did and that's not what you guys should do either the reason we've been successful is because we realized early on that we all need to work together we realize that technology alone is not an effective solution and so you know whether you're a doctor or a nurse or a patient or coder or designer we have to come together and make sure whatever we build has real positive impact so you know we'll always need doctors and nurses to care for patients to prevent us from getting sick and to cure us when we do but these health care providers also need our expertise to help engage and empower patients to be managers of their own health and you know this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually build something that can really change how healthcare is done today so if you've ever in your life wanted to make the road healthier the time is now so come join the digital health revolution and build the solutions that will keep our patients and your family safe and connected and able to manage their own care from the comfort of your own home the future of healthcare depends on it and depends on you thank you


  1. Starting a healthcare start-up from a scratch could be a daunting task. Marketing of healthcare services in a well planned manner is the key to establish one's name in the healthcare sector.

  2. How much money can we get back for all the years of payment for all health care? Serious, give us our files back any way, we paid for them. You are not a doctor that a different oath!

  3. great and simple idea! looking forward to broader and deeper adoption. one of the ways to get there is to partner with health insurers to incentivize provider adoption

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