Health

Healthcare Innovation: The Tortoise and The Hare

by: | April 17, 2017

Recently, I had the pleasure of participating in the Telus Ventures Summit. The discussions that took place over the course of the two-day event were insightful bringing together an intersection of health policymakers, business leaders and amazing tech innovators. A key theme throughout the event was the need for healthcare innovation, and the struggle for real change to make its way to consumers. 

This rang true on the panel I participated in, “Health Tech Entrepreneurs – Gluttons for Punishment?”

Alongside some exceptional tech entrepreneurs, we discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the overall system and the role both public and private investments and partnerships will play in creating change.

We concurred that innovation in healthcare is happening, albeit slowly. As difficult as it may be, the pace of change in healthcare is tough to compare to the speed of change we see in many other industries. The health system is heavily regulated, increasingly complex and with the increasing prevalence of both chronic and acute illnesses, people’s lives depend on it. In the race to the future state, we need to be both the tortoise and the hare.

As the panel called out, two of the best opportunities to influence risk and manage health outcomes lie outside the traditional medical system, in health promotion initiatives and broader access to health services.

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At League, we see significant value in supporting employers and the role they play in the day-to-day health management of employees. Employers have the opportunity to leverage the workplace as a vehicle to drive better outcomes. Here, there is a captive audience that can benefit from health promotion tools, screening and early identification opportunities, incentives to drive behavioural change, and targeted condition management programs. All of which will benefit both the private and public health burden.

We’ve seen the nature of work changing. Employees are expecting more from their employers –  they see health resources as an important part of the employment proposition. In turn, employers are learning the benefits of maintaining a healthy workforce to their business and the economy overall.

But we find ourselves at a crossroads. Currently, the economics of health benefits are not structured to drive utilization in a proactive, preventative manner for the end consumer, the employee. However, employers indicate in increasing numbers that they offer benefits to promote better health within their population. The reality is that there is very little in the current experience that is actually about health promotion or encouraging utilization in a consumer-centric manner.

If we are going to truly innovate in a system that is of vital importance to our society, we need to look from the outside in. Consumers will drive this change. And they are starting to demand better. A better experience. Better access. Better integration.

This is what League stands for. A new model that connects the consumer, the employer and the provider to improve access to and understanding of their benefits plans. We’re making the experience of health insurance digital, personalized and consumer focused to drive improved outcomes.

As entrepreneurs, we see a future that is not bound by legacy systems, historical workflows or paper-based programs. We have an innate desire to move quickly and drive change. I am confident that we are not alone – traditional providers want this evolution as well. Working together, finding ways to combine our valued assets, we will do more to deliver on our shared objective – improved health.