Last week I attended the FutureMed 2013 Conference in San Diego. There I was, seated in a very Silicon Valley kind of way (see my picture of the gorgeous comfy white seating, bean bags included), enjoying a mind-expanding experience that I have still not had the time to fully process since my return home.
The top 5 themes that emerged, with implications for all you physician entrepreneurs who are bent on stirring your forward-thinking creative juices, are:
- The future is exponential:
Technology and its accompanying knowledge have exploded exponentially and the costs of technology are decreasing exponentially (sequencing the Human Genome cost about $2.7 billion and one decade later, you can get a reasonably detailed analysis for $99 from 23andme.) It is time to stop your linear strategic planning, and aim instead for the exponential extrapolation of your business. What will that look like?
- It's all about Genomics and Personalised Medicine:
We understand increasingly how our genomes predispose us to certain diseases, and how epigenetics influence gene expression. With our individual genomic profiles readily available at decreasing costs, we can imagine early on what the potential impact is of environment (internal and external) on our genetic expression -- and make necessary modifications to limit the development of diseases we may be predisposed to.
There are at least 4 companies now doing highly accurate prenatal genomic testing that can replace amniocentesis. And after a baby is born, its DNA can be fully sequenced, helping identify disorders like phenylketonuria much earlier than existing tests can. It's just a matter of time before this is the standard of (affordable) care.
- The Quantified Self
Sensors are now ubiquitous (got a smart phone? Use a Fitbit?) and are generating streams of data that have huge potential to help manage wellbeing and disease. The big challenge is figuring out how to derive real meaning from all the data -- your next business opportunity??
Many startups exist in this space - two of my favorites were PatientsLike Me and Scanadu with its soon-to-be release Scout.
- Disruption is the next big thing in healthcare.
Technology and innovation are creating great upheaval in medicine - think of a 3-D printed trachea, the democratization of health information via the Internet and now on your smartphone, DIY biotechnology, and Citizen Scientists. Expect that the next big breakthroughs will disrupt the status quo.
- Care will be truly patient-centered and proactive.
... as opposed to reactive and disease-centric. The health systems of the future will encourage and provide resources for patients to be the "CEOs of their own health care teams".
According to Fogg’s Behavior Model (B=MAT), behavior is a function of motivation, ability, and trigger at the same time. Technologies can improve both "ability" and "trigger". The biggest prize will go to those who can come up with useful and reproducible ways to motivate and engage patients, or simply people, long before they need to become patients!
Time to put on your clever and creative thinking caps, my physician entrepreneur friends!
(photo below courtesy of FutureMed 2013 - our group, appropriately "scrubbed")