2022 JP Morgan Healthcare Investor Conference — Digital Health Panel Synopsis

Define Ventures
Define Ventures
Published in
5 min readJan 18, 2022

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A panel of digital health power players convenes at the 40th Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Investor Conference discussing opportunities in digital health

Lynne Chou O’Keefe, Founder & Managing Partner of Define Ventures, leads a fresh and cutting-edge discussion of digital health power players at the 40th Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Investor Conference

“You can’t talk about women’s health without talking about the role women play in the digital health ecosystem. When we think about women’s health, typically it’s centered around fertility or pregnancy, but in fact 50% of women’s mortality is attributable to cancer or cardiovascular issues. Additionally, women are the CMOs — the Chief Medical Officers — of our society. More than 80% of healthcare decisions are made by women: women hold the power in the US healthcare market.” — Lynne Chou O’Keefe

As we redefine the healthcare system, have a listen here to the specific points of interest below:

  1. (16:20) Women as patients: widening the aperture of how we widen the way we think about women’s health. Dr. Williams has published over 500 studies in this space, including an Apple Health study
  2. (20:21) Women as gatekeepers: who make healthcare decisions for the family, the household, the aging community. Dr. Desai discusses how consumer technology can be designed to empower women as decision-makers to optimize their health and the health of their families and communities.
    (28:36) Ms. Witte goes beyond the moral and economic imperative of investing for women and discusses how the healthcare system has a loyalty crisis with their most valuable customer: women
  3. (23:39) Women as consumers: a new breed of consumer-focused business models paired with best-in-class consumer technology empowers behavior change that leads to meaningful outcomes. Ms. Simmer explores how technology and consumer-focused models allow us to meaningfully shift cultural narratives and achieve lasting outcomes
  4. (33:52) Women as community leaders: community health predicts 60% of your healthcare outcomes. Dr. Gillispie-Bell explains how women uniquely influence driving community health, with a particular emphasis on how the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH)
    (37:34) Dr. Williams explores how we use technology to improve health literacy that then improves wellness that expands out into the community and how this partnership is predicated on trust.

Notable perspectives from this group of digital health power players:

Sarah Jones Simmer, CEO of Found

Found is a modern weight care platform that brings together the best of modern medicine and the best of behavior change and consumer technology in order to power a sustainable and lasting weight loss. I joined Found as CEO in late 2021. Prior to that, I was at Bumble, the dating app that puts women in the driver’s seat. I think Bumble was an interesting experience [for me] to launch into health because of what we did around women. It was arguably a crowded and competitive landscape, but no one had been building a product with women in mind — the reality is that the entire ecosystem would benefit if women had a better experience and we bring a lot of that same mentality to what we’re building at Found.

Sarah Jones Simmer, CEO of Found, formerly COO/CSO at Bumble, taking Bumble to IPO while fighting stage III breast cancer

Dr. Michelle A. Williams, Dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Epidemiologist

Dr. Michelle Williams, Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Renown Epidemiologist

Public health is the bedrock of civil society: both financial/economic security and social security. At the root of public health is women’s health because of that power that women hold, not only on behalf of their own health but because they are the decision-makers of their families’ health and those of the community. Women make up 70–80% of the healthcare workforce. They are the biggest partners and players in a $4.2T healthcare enterprise. Women make up 66% of the caregivers for an aging population: work valued in the order of $188B annually.

Dr. Michelle A. Williams, Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Angelopoulos Professor in Public Health and International Development, a joint faculty appointment at the Harvard Chan School and Harvard Kennedy School

Dr. Sumbul Desai, VP Health at Apple

Dr. Sumbul Desai, VP Health at Apple discusses the Apple Watch and cardiovascular health studies

“When you’re designing features & products, you need to really understand your user. This requires [representation] in leadership and engineering/ product positions who can use their expertise as both designers and also as individuals so their voices are heard throughout the product development process. In addition to amazing design, it’s critical to loop in research and science that is grounded in evidence to understand things we all deal with as part of women’s health.

Dr. Sumbul Desai, VP Health, Apple

Dr. Veronica Gillispie-Bell, OBGYN & Professor at Ochsner Healthcare

[As a physician for women], one thing that I’ve appreciated is we built a health care system around a healthcare system: not around the patient. The health outcomes of women are actually indicative of those in broader society. We need to make sure that we are listening to the voices of women and centering women. [We can serve women better] by meeting patients where they are with [innovative technologies].

Dr. Veronica Gillispie-Bell, OBGYN, Associate Professor at Ochsner Health, and Medical Director of Quality for Women’s Services

Carolyn Witte, Co-Founder & CEO, Tia

It’s clear that women have spending power. We are the most powerful consumer in healthcare. What determines where women spend their dollar? We know that nearly 50% of women don’t trust the US healthcare system. [Incumbents] have a loyalty crisis with their most important customer. [The future] is about cultivating a relationship with the most viable customer in healthcare. [We at Tia aim to] be the gatekeeper that they trust.

Carolyn Witte, Co-Founder & CEO, Tia

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