US Healthcare: Why we have been spending much of our time thinking about the future of it

Mike Basch
Atento Capital
Published in
4 min readJun 9, 2023

A few weeks back, I experienced a health scare that led to a brief stay at my local hospital. While I am okay and on the road to recovery, this time at St. Francis has not only reminded me of the areas that require attention in our healthcare system but also deepened my appreciation for the incredible healthcare workers who dedicate their lives to providing care and support to patients.

Walking in, I was immediately struck by the incredibly overcrowded emergency room (barely an available seat and sick/injured people everywhere). The situation seemed exacerbated by general understaffing to handle the situation, with the staff there having a combined look of exhaustion and stress on their face. Upon being checked in, the nurse taking care of me apologized ahead of time as she had to care for double the number of patients she should have due to short staffing.

I quickly noticed that the hospital’s fall prevention measures are in need of revision, relying entirely on a simple sign to call a nurse already managing beyond max capacity. Accidents of this nature cost the US health system about $50 billion annually, and these falls, on average, increase hospital stays by 6 to 12 days (Read Fall Statistics Here).

The actual image from my hospital room as to how to prevent a fall. It is 2023, can we not do more?

In the face of these obstacles, these dedicated healthcare workers tirelessly navigated these challenges to provide high-quality patient care. I couldn’t help but think to myself how deep the need for technology to meet our healthcare system and where they are to improve the current situation–which is where startups, specifically venture-backed startups, can play a small role.

Today, healthcare has the tremendous opportunity to implement better organizational strategies, prioritize patient care, and leverage digital transformation to improve the experience, not just for the patients but for healthcare workers. Our recent investments in healthcare have allowed me to witness the potential for transformative change firsthand. Florence, a standout startup led by Aniq Rahman, is dedicated to revolutionizing the check-in and optimization process in emergency rooms through innovative technology. By streamlining administrative tasks and reducing the burden on nurses, Florence improves prioritization, reduces wait times, and ultimately enhances hospital and patient outcomes. .

A second company we have recently invested in (and moved to Tulsa from Barcelona) similarly improves the patient and healthcare worker experience. Robbie.Ai, founded by Karen Marquez and Dani Gonzalez, has created a bespoke fall prevention technology, reducing fall risks of hospital patients by 90%+. Using advanced algorithms and video cameras, Robbie.Ai identifies patients at high risk of falling and promptly alerts the nurse on duty, enabling timely intervention and significant cost savings for hospitals without additional nursing staff. Companies such as Florence and Robbie AI are making advancements in technology that hold the potential to improve patient safety and quality of care greatly.

It is essential that we recognize the scale of the healthcare industry, which accounts for nearly 20% of US US GDP (GDP Percentages) — roughly double other developed countries, and without better outcomes! Given the increasing shortage of nurses, doctors, and healthcare workers, focusing our efforts on digitizing healthcare and embracing innovative technologies, we can empower nurses and doctors, enabling the same number of nurses and doctors to serve more patients and achieve better outcomes while augmenting technology.

Healthcare represents a staggering % of US GDP, funding that could be going to education, infrastructure, etc.

We can build a healthcare system that provides efficient and compassionate care for all through collaboration and continuous improvement. My recent health scare has reminded me of the areas that require attention in our healthcare system and deepened my gratitude for all healthcare workers who dedicate their lives to providing care and support to patients–especially post-COVID: truly heroes within society, now more than ever. With this appreciation in mind, I believe startups+VC’s+health systems can and must work together to create a brighter future for US healthcare. We at Atento look to do our small part in being part of the solution of the current US healthcare crisis.