Telehealth Forces an Unbundling and Reimagining of Care Coordination
This is part 5 of our eight-part series on the future of digital health. Check out our full white paper here if you want to see our complete vision for healthcare in the 2020s.
Telehealth’s success and increased popularity will be particularly important for specialty practices, where care is often less-longitudinal than the relationship a patient develops with a PCP, and incentives to find a very specific, highly-trained expert are higher. Consumers will be able to select the “best of breed” for every specialty, lab, procedure, and imaging modality, optimizing across price, reviews, quality, brand and whatever other criteria they might value.
To this end, we are looking to invest in platforms that use telemedicine to unbundle the parts of specialty care that are largely cognitive in nature, or that can be performed using telemedicine platforms. For example, behavioral health stands out as a huge growth area in this space, and we believe that the unaddressed burden of psychiatric illness globally represents a huge opportunity to improve morbidity and mortality, as well as build great businesses. However, we would love to see additional problem spaces being addressed by innovative technologies and business models.
Furthermore, as consumers begin to discriminate and become more studied consumers of healthcare with increased transparency and unbundling, technologies that assist them in understanding and deciding on what care they might need and what is important to them will become even more important.
As a result of care becoming more fragmented and less institution-bound, new coordination mechanisms will also have to emerge. The idea of “your doctor” will increasingly turn into your “health manager” which could be a doctor or nurse that will help coordinate care via live interactions or televisits, and will help interpret data and answer questions, almost always remotely. This “health manager” may become an AI enabled “bot” in later years. Patients will have the ability to build their own virtual care teams, complete with the providers that they choose, from any region or facility.
We are, as a result, also looking for companies that are able to move beyond the integration systems of the past generation and look across both structured and unstructured data, finding novel ways to synthesize and, most importantly, help consumers and providers act on this data to improve their health and care. Unified consumer-side portals that help patients manage their and their family’s portfolios of care are needed, and we would like to learn about how others are thinking about their implementation. Companies that are reimagining primary care to fit into this new paradigm are particularly interesting to us, as we believe PCPs will be an important part of this transformation.
If you found this interesting, check out the full white paper, Eight Drivers of Digital Health in the 2020s, a comprehensive look at how LionBird views the future of digital health.