Saturday, November 28, 2015

Health care tech savvy and sexy? Fast Company suggests as much

From start ups to IBM, health care gets another dose of tech savvy and cool.

Health care tech savvy and sexy? Fast Company suggests as much


The November issue of the business magazine Fast Company has a couple of interesting stories and items about new approaches to health care, especially where technology meets medicine. The link to the main page for that issue is here.

The encouraging thing for a nation (ours) that spends 17-plus percent of GDP on health care and gets mediocre results systematically compared to other nations in the OECD (Sunday's Inquirer story is here) is that smart, ambitious people are still gravitating to the space in hopes of slaying the beast. Or at least finding a lower co-pay on a drug.

Anyway, as an introduction, we'll borrow from the Fast Company online blurb:

Health care has long been ripe for disruption. Now, an emerging group of hot startups and savvy execs are going all-in on building bigger, smarter, and - yes - sexier health care technologies. Is change finally coming? The space’s rock stars explain. is a web site designed to help you search for prescription drugs at lower prices and it was created by two former Facebookers. The link to that story is here.

One of the founders, Scott Marlette, said something that might apply to a lot of the re-examination of how health care is delivered. We don't mean delicate operations or formulations of drugs where precision presumably matter when human life is involved, but there is plenty of stuff that can be fixed as we go.

"There’s a saying in Silicon Valley: If you’re not embarrassed about your product, you’ve spent too much time on it," Marlette said. "You build, test the product a little, launch, then figure out what people want. At GoodRx, we’ve taken a development approach of “Let’s do a good job and just get it out there.” We don’t need to perfect so much behind the scenes."

Meanwhile, non-obvious big companies have also been involved in trying to fix (and profit in) health care. IBM is deploying its Watson computers to try to help (and profit) in health care. Late last year, IBM collaborated with several big drug companies and the National Institutes of Health to provide a database of compounds for further study. Inquirer story on that is here. The Fast Company story on Watson is here.


Inquirer Staff Writer
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About this blog
David Sell blogs about the region's pharmaceutical industry. Follow him on Facebook.

Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

Reach David at or 215-854-4506.

David Sell Inquirer Staff Writer
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