March 11, 2024
March 11, 2024

Six Takeaways on Healthcare Innovation from ViVE 2024

Building the future of healthcare is a team effort, which is why Redesign Health seeks out opportunities to engage with stakeholders across the industry. Each year, we look forward to the ViVE conference, as a chance to connect with other leaders and contribute to important conversations in our space. Our team came back from Los Angeles with six observations on what’s driving the industry forward:

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1. Generative AI enthusiasm persists—along with safety concerns and unproven ROI. Payers, providers and investors remain bullish on generative AI, particularly for the use cases of:

  • Data cleaning and normalization: Despite the vast amount of data generated each year in healthcare, at least 80% is unstructured and unusable. This creates an enormous opportunity to use AI to clean, normalize and de-identify data to create longitudinal patient data journeys and surface actionable insights from their historical care.

  • Automating high-volume administrative activities: Providers and payers continue to seek out solutions that solve for administrative burden, workforce shortages and workflow inefficiencies.

Still, many payers and providers are taking a “wait and see” approach to AI adoption until others prove out the ROI. Providers, in particular, are hesitant to adopt AI solutions that directly impact patient care or tools that aren’t core to their operations. They want to solve the fundamentals—like staffing and provider burnout—before investing in additional tech solutions.

The ongoing Change Healthcare cyberattack has kept cybersecurity, data privacy and regulation at the forefront of the discussion. We heard renewed calls for more oversight of AI technology, including the creation of Health AI Assurance Labs and additional scrutiny for tools that impact patients. For instance, providers using ambient listening technology during appointments should be mindful of informed consent.

AI also poses both challenges and opportunities for health equity. Without ample data, algorithms can produce unintended biases against underrepresented communities and amplify existing racial inequalities in medicine. We need solutions that increase the availability of reliable data on minority populations and reduce disparities in algorithms.

2. Workforce shortages are (still) top of mind.

At ViVE, there was a continued focus on leveraging nonclinical workers and technology to fill staffing gaps. Startups and health systems alike are investing in nonclinical staff such as social workers and doulas, recognizing their importance in holistic care. We were most excited by companies taking novel approaches to this workforce problem by reimagining the traditional structure of care teams and engaging medical professionals further upstream in their professional life cycles.

While these workers are part of the solution to patient engagement, employers should still invest significantly in building a reliable staffing pipeline. Redesign Health is focused on developing solutions in this space.

3. It’s time to tackle hard-to-reach populations

Providers and payers both recognize the need to engage underserved populations, with particular focus on Medicaid engagement and ensuring access to benefits. These programs have been shown to reduce unnecessary emergency department visits, provide culturally attuned care, and meet a patient’s social and economic needs. For example, MedArrive, a business built at Redesign Health, is partnering with Medicaid plans to bridge the virtual care gap through hands-on care at home.

Many startups in the space are focused on employing community health workers from the local communities that they serve in order to better connect with patients, acknowledging that innovation and adoption move at the speed of trust. While the benefits of a community-based model are clear, the operational challenges of building a sustainable business model were also top of mind for investors.

Both the mission and the margins matter when it comes to building a venture-backed business. The state-by-state regulatory environment, coupled with patient engagement challenges, are forcing start-up founders to be especially prudent when it comes to unit economics and business models.

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4. The industry is paying more attention to healthcare’s environmental impact.

Social determinants of health have been a major focus in recent years. Now the industry is expanding its aperture to include the environmental impacts of health, how climate change influences patient outcomes, and how these factors affect rural and urban populations differently.

Building off of the Biden–Harris Administration’s Health Sector Climate Pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, one innovative organization we saw addressing this issue at ViVE is the Climate Health Innovation & Learning Lab (CHILL). This hub of clinicians and technologists is tapping into emerging markets to create a resilient, sustainable healthcare system.

Redesign is excited about innovation at the intersection of climate and healthcare, which is critical to ensure our systems can handle the impending increased volume of natural disasters and the resulting rise in certain chronic conditions.

5. The “platform vs. point solutions” debate continues.

Again and again, we heard that health systems and payers alike are experiencing point solution fatigue, with preference skewing in favor of unified platforms. But realistically, one single platform solution is unlikely to dominate in the near-term. Point solutions and platforms will have to coexist for the foreseeable future, according to a panel of speakers including our Head of New Ventures, Neil Patel.

In the words of one health system presenter, the strategy is to focus on “fewer partnerships but deeper relationships” with existing vendors. To succeed, startups must fit into existing clinical workflows and minimize disruption. Similarly, another investor noted that founders need to find rivers of capital and jump in the middle—not create their own river or disrupt the flow.

6. It’s still early days for value-based care.

While we believe that the future of healthcare will be dominated by value-based care (VBC), panelists gave VBC’s progress a “D+ or C-” based upon adoption in the industry today. Only 7% of healthcare spending was in population-based payment models in 2021, largely driven by a lack of sustained investment in long-term care models and availability of data and analytics tools.

Two key challenges stakeholders are experiencing in implementing this model include high membership turnover in health plans (especially commercial plans), which disrupts the opportunity for providers to drive value on populations, and the limited access and usage of long-term patient data to inform care. Syntax, built at Redesign Health, is a SaaS-based enterprise tool that is helping solve this challenge by helping payers and providers model and optimize their value-based care contracts.

Final thoughts

ViVE 2024 may be over, but these industry themes are here to stay. We’re confident that our operating companies are building in areas of great opportunity. There’s never been a better time to create the future of healthcare.

Interested in joining us? Explore our partners page for more information.

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