About Lisa Suennen
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- From Russia With Love
- The Secret to Lower Healthcare Costs: Dying Faster
- You Say You Want a Healthcare Revolution
- We Are the 51%!
- Singing a New Tune: Redefining Innovation in the Medical Device World
- Rap Genius: Healthcare to a Hip Hop Beat?
- When “Cloud-based” Means Technology, Not Heaven: Report from AARP Health Innovation@50+
- A Tale of Two Doctor Visits
- Your CEO May Be A Man, But Your Healthcare Customer is a Woman
- Healthcare IT BINGO!
- I’m On A Boat! The Rising Fleet of Incubators
- Employers and Health Innovation: Will They Go Long or Advance One Yard at a Time?
- Give ‘Em That Old Razzle Dazzle
- Never Let Anyone Make You a Carrot
- What’s Done Cannot Be Undone
- The Star Thrower, or How Healthcare Looks to Consumers
- Medical Technology and Kubler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grief
- There Is No “I” in Team, But There Is In “Win”
- A Soda A Day Keeps Your Lifespan Away
- Investor Comedy Relief: The Missed Investment Opportunity
- Psilos Releases Annual Healthcare Outlook Report: A Golden Age in Healthcare Investing
- Discounts on Two Upcoming Conferences for Venture Valkyrie Readers
- Digital Health: The Cat’s Meow
- School Daze
- Showcase Your Start-up at the AARP Health Innovation@50+ Event-Viva Las Vegas
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Category Archives: Healthcare Venture Capital
This piece also appeared on November 6, 2012 in PE Hub.
In the world of medical devices, innovation has traditionally been defined as the invention of a new device or a new technology that can be packaged into a device, expanding the number of possible medical procedures or at least replacing old ones with those that are new, improved and lemon-scented. For the past several decades, a parade of medical device entrepreneurs has led a drumbeat of new product development, accompanied by a chorus of venture capitalists saying, “Hey look, a new thingamajig! You’re playing my song!”
In today’s healthcare economy, those same entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are spending far more time facing the music than dancing to it. We have reached the point where those that pay for healthcare are more than willing to turn down the volume on innovation that does anything other than reduce medical procedures and costs. The medical device industry has felt the repercussions of this changing tune in a big way.
One of my favorite things to do is see the companies in which Psilos invests “in action” and actually interacting with their customers. This is particularly engaging when it comes to medical devices, since the patient and provider experience are so tangible and visible. Last week I had the chance to attend the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Annual Meeting (glad I did not attend on Menopause Day–yikes!). As I walked to my destination, I passed so many transvaginal ultrasound set-ups that I thought for a minute I was at the Republican Convention. But ASRM it was and I was there to visit with Psilos portfolio company OmniGuide, a medical device company based in Cambridge, MA, that was exhibiting its new gynecological laparoscopic and robotic products.
OmniGuide has for several years sold a set of unique CO2 laser surgical tools that have been used in more than 50,000 surgeries in the fields of otolaryngology, neurology and head and neck surgery. The company has recently added the gynecological field to its focus, as it’s products are uniquely able to remove tissue safely while surgeons work near fine structures within … (read the rest)
This post also ran in Health Care IT News on October 1, 2012
I was hanging out with Tom Rodgers of Cambia Health the other day and we were discussing the seemingly unrelenting trend of the formation of new technology incubators and accelerators, designed to help catapult the weird and wonderful ideas of entrepreneurs into actionable companies. The idea is to take these entrepreneurs and the light bulbs that have formed over their heads, put them together with each other (often in a physical location with loft-like qualities), wrap them in a burrito of high quality resources and experienced mentors and cook for about three months until what comes out is one big yummy pile of companies ripe for gobbling up by venture capitalists.
This trend has been longer lived in pure technology and medical technology fields (YCombinator, Tech Stars, The Foundry) and more recently has come to the world of healthcare IT in a pretty big way with the formation of Rock Health, Blueprint Health, HealthBox, Janssen Labs, Start-Up Health and several others founded and in process. One can only imagine … (read the rest)
“Washington DC calls the needs of 100 million people an unaffordable cost, but for entrepreneurs, addressing the needs of 100 million people is called an opportunity.”
That’s a quote from Jody Holtzman, Senior Vice President of Innovation at the AARP, an organization making an all-out push to connect the innovators of the nation with the needs of people over 50 who make up AARP’s constituency. Those of the Twitter generation may not like to admit it, but these are the people who have your destiny in their slightly more veiny hands. Ignore the market power of the Boomer generation and those beyond at your peril.
On September 21, 2012 AARP held their annual convention in New Orleans and one of the key programs was called Health Innovation@50+ Live Pitch. The event was intended to bring together innovative start-ups that have set out to serve the needs of people 50 and over. Nearly 45% of American citizens are over age 50 and these people collectively spend 9-18% per year of their annual income on healthcare-related products and services every year. And yet the products and services that are … (read the rest)
Note: this post also ran 9/7/2012 in HealthcareIT News
I was hanging out with David Shaywitz of Forbes the other day and he told me about a piece he wrote some time back about the buzzwords associated with the “innovation” culture that has emerged by name in Silicon Valley and Beyond. In the story, which can be found HERE, David mentions that Genentech used to penalize its employees for relying on such trite terms, requiring them to self-report such transgressions on gBuzz Bingo cards.
David and I were joking about how easy it is to fall into this buzzword trap, where real thought is diluted and disguised by words that lose their meaning through overuse. Every industry has its jargon, but healthcare and technology are particularly major offenders and the combination thereof could make both Merriam’s and Webster’s heads explode.
My discussion with David, amplified by my constant frustration with this very topic, inspired me to develop an homage to David’s article (and Genentech’s ideal) in the form of a Healthcare IT Bingo board. And thus I plopped myself down on the couch and set out to make myself … (read the rest)
Entitled “The 7 iPhone Apps I’d Like To See,” Sack’s app ideas range from one which sends a phony page and thus helps doctors get the hell away from annoying patients who monopolize their time, to one that translates ePocrates-described drug side effects into patient speak, to my personal favorite, one that helps doctors connect with each other by phone in perfect unison without having to play the game of “who gets on the call first,” thus rendering each equally important in their own minds.
It occurs to me that there are a number of equally compelling apps that should be created for patients who must deal with that 50% of doctors who are, by definition, worse than average at patient engagement. In the same tongue-in-cheek spirit as Dr. Sack, and in a never-ending quest to foster better-functioning healthcare consumers, I offer you my list of the 8 iPhone apps I’d like to see someone develop … (read the rest)
To all the healthcare entrepreneurs who will read this, I am encouraging you to give serious thought to applying for and attending AARP’s Health Innovation@50+ LivePitch, taking place Friday, September 21 at the New Orleans Convention Center. Here’s why:
You may be under 50, but if you are looking to build a big company in the healthcare marketplace, you had better get yourself a fake ID. I don’t mean the kind that makes people think you’re 21, but the kind that makes people think you understand the over-50 crowd. Here’s what that crowd has to say to you, “Hell yes, you’ll still need me when I’m 64. Do you have any idea what kind of market force I wield?” In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey, 65% of the aggregate net worth of all U.S. households is owned by adults 50 and older.
While I am getting dangerously close to the 29th anniversary of my 21st birthday myself, twenty-five years in the healthcare industry has made it pretty clear to me where our collective bread is buttered. If you are unprepared for and or closed-minded about serving … (read the rest)
“You say you want a revolution,
Well, you know,
We all want to change the world”—The Beatles
I had the pleasure of attending a “salon” type dinner hosted by Xconomy and its chief correspondent and San Francisco editor Wade Roush last week (and graciously sponsored by Silicon Valley Bank and Alexandria Real Estate Equities). The dinner included about 24 people, all of whom in some way had a connection to the emerging field of digital health. In addition to the sponsors, the group featured many CEOs of newly minted companies, some highly experienced and at their second or third rodeo, and some very new to the big desk in the corner. Also present were a few industry thought leader and advisor types, including representatives of Rock Health and Singularity University, as well as a few venture investors, just to be sure all the air would get sucked out of the room. Because the dinner was meant to be “off the record,” I have not attributed points below to specific individuals.
The theme of the dinner was “The Quest to Disrupt Healthcare,” and at the beginning of dinner we started around … (read the rest)
“The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.” –Paul Cezanne
A couple of years ago my sister told me a story about how she came home from work to find her husband and then 5-year-old daughter playing “house” with her dolls and dollhouse. They were deep into the imaginary play and her daughter was visibly annoyed to be interrupted by my sister’s arrival on the scene. My sister asked if she could play with them and the daughter looked at her skeptically.
“I could be the mommy,” offered my sister.
“No, I’m the mommy,” said the kid.
“How about if I am the baby then?” says my sister, wanting in on the action.
“No,” says the kid, “I’m also the baby. And Daddy is the daddy.”
Kid pauses, thinks for a minute, then says, “OK mommy, you can be a carrot growing in the garden.”
I love that story. First of all, it’s damn funny (although my sister wasn’t amused at the time). Second of all, it so reminds me of how I feel sometimes when I walk into the … (read the rest)
Shakespeare’s play MacBeth opens with two witches uttering these words:
“When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
“When the hurlyburly’s done, When the battle’s lost and won.”
The quote refers to the impending reunion of three sister witches intent on evil, but it struck me as a great metaphor for what the outcome of current efforts to reform healthcare must accomplish: the re-connection of incentives, both clinical and financial, among the three most critical constituents of our healthcare system: patients, payers and providers. If these incentives do not align, or meet again soon, as a result of seismic shifts underway, the U.S. economy is probably doomed to collapse under the financial weight of our current healthcare system dysfunction.
In fact, MacBeth felt like a completely appropriate metaphor to me as I contemplated what is going on within the medical device industry while I attended last weeks’ IBF MedTech Investing conference. The conference took place in Minneapolis, considered by many to be the ancestral homeland of much of today’s medical device industry. Minneapolis is not exactly Scotland (witness complete lack of hills), but it … (read the rest)