Staying Relevant by Looking for Solutions in Well Care

How much sleep is being lost each night by health care innovation leaders and startup entrepreneurs who are collaborating on innovation projects?  My guess is a lot!

There have been several studies over the years in pharmaceuticals, medical devices and health IT saying it takes an average of 15 years for the health care industry to adopt a new technology, devices and other best practices.

Could you imagine not beginning to use a smartphone until 15 years after they came to the market?  So the question becomes, “how much longer will traditional health care systems be able to operate this way before becoming irrelevant much like Blockbuster or Kodak?  This is what’s keeping me up at night.

A Lesson From Kodak

For decades, Kodak was in the business of saving people’s memories through photographs printed on film. They possessed the intellectual property to make digital cameras, but they were so in love with their razor blade business model of making cameras that required you to buy film that they refused to take their digital camera prototype any further. They were eventually disrupted by digital camera manufacturers that pushed Kodak out of the photography business and led the company to file for bankruptcy in 2012.

It’s my thought that if the health care industry stays focused on caring only for the sick as opposed to disease prevention, we will become obsolete much like Kodak. Lately, the OSF Innovation Partnerships team has spent a significant amount of time sourcing and vetting solutions for what we refer to as “well care” or care that aims to keep people healthy longer.

We are looking for solutions, products and services that consumers wouldn’t traditionally expect their health care system to provide, solutions that prevent people from ever getting sick in the first place. Why? Because we know that if we want to “engage” people when they are sick, we need to “engage” them when they are well. It’s a major change in the OSF HealthCare business model, but it’s one that ensures better care for the communities we serve and the sustainability of our health care system.

Efforts in Well Care

OSF has taken steps to understand the different innovative practices that are preventing disease and keeping people healthy by networking and partnering with companies like AVIA, Matter, Plug & Play and Pulse Program at Mass Challenge. Our partnerships with these entities help us scan the ecosystem for innovative, digital and technology health care solutions. Here are a few that have sparked our interest:

  • Thryve is a company using microbiome sequencing to provide consumers monthly precision dosing for probiotics. This B to B (business to business) company is getting great traction and is a great example of what we mean when we talk about “well care” solutions. This type of science already can be applied to dozens of medications to determine precision dosing, but as I mentioned previously, it could be years before this is adopted as a best practice in health care.
  • A partnership between Providence St. Joseph Health and Kroger in southern California is in its third year of offering a program that aims to combat obesity and promote healthy eating. The “Shop With Your Doc” program allows patients to walk the aisles of the grocery store with physicians and other health experts to not only make healthy decisions but to ask questions about their conditions.
  • Rendever gives older adults a window to the parts of the world that they’re missing by using virtual reality to take residents anywhere in the world or share past significant family events with their fellow residents. Over 50% of assisted living residents will experience depression and isolation during their stay. Assisted living facilities with activity directors using Rendever are seeing a 40% increase in resident happiness. Providing happiness and health:  that sounds like “well care” to me.

Partner With Us

The solutions above are great examples of the ways OSF is looking to transform care. There are very few decisions consumers make that don’t impact their health. Can you imagine a health care system that is there when you are deciding what to fix for dinner, or better yet, while you are doing the grocery shopping? Or what about lifestyle and exercise decisions? Child rearing and financial planning? We talk about the connected self, why can’t we have connected health?

We need more entrepreneurs losing sleep at night over “well care.” Let’s disrupt sick care together. We are asking for more entrepreneurs to work with us to create a new market for solutions that provide “well care.” This effort will help OSF as it works to create healthier communities and serve as a new model for health care delivery.

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