AMA Seeks 'Purposeful Disruption,' Invests in New Healthcare Startup

The American Medical Association is the founding investor in a new Caliornia startup that will leverage the insight of physicians to bring products into the healthcare marketplace.

January 11, 2016

4 Min Read
AMA Seeks 'Purposeful Disruption,' Invests in New Healthcare Startup

Arundhati Parmar

Silicon Valley has been out to disrupt healthcare through technology, sometimes in fits and starts.

The American Medical Association aims to help by making the disruption more purposeful.

On Monday, Dr. James Madara, the chief executive officer of the country's largest physician association, announced the launch of Health2047, a new startup that will leverage the expertise of the physician community and marry it to expertise of designers, and interdisciplinary scientists and engineers to transform healthcare. The American Medical Association has invested $15 million in Health2047 and will have equity in the startup though it won't endorse any products or ideas that emerge from it. 

San Francisco-based Health2047, led by Dr. Douglass Given, will function as a design studio/incubator that aims to rapidly evaluate ideas — within 90 days — for commercial success and transformative value and also offer a way to rapidly prototype such ideas. Commercialization of novel products and solutions can happen through partnerships with established healthcare companies; with venture backed startups; or by spinning out standalone companies with promising solutions aimed at a complex, healthcare system. 

In all of the above, Health2047 will have access to physician insight thereby creating a first-of-its kind organization where doctors will have input and voice in very early stage product development.

"We created Health2047 because the American healthcare system has a serious need for purposeful disruption that yields system-level innovation as quickly as possible,” said Given in a news release."

Later, in a conference call with media, Madara implied that the for-profit startup is a bridge between the technological prowess of Silicon Valley and a healthcare system such that new product development includes an understanding of what physicians need.

"One of the aspects that is critical in thinking about this as a bridge is to recognize that it's a system you are dealing with," Madara explained noting that system engineering principles must be brought to bear on the effort to transform healthcare.

The disruption and innovation needs to go beyond just "products being dropped down to the system" Madara said, without any consideration for what impact it can have in the healthcare ecosystem.

Given explained that Health2047 — the name seeks to imagine what healthcare will look in 200 years after the AMA was founded in 1847 — will endeavor to create products in four broad areas. According to Given they are:

  • System-level solutions to chronic disease (e.g. new solutions that create behavioral change around overall disease management, bringing data and actionable knowledge around the entire doctor-patient relationship)

  • Connected health solutions (e.g. private "social networks" that connect—in a way that ensures privacy—physicians, patients and their caregivers so that you can recognize and share what makes a successful care team); 

  • Value-based health care (e.g., a  toolkit to help physicians and practices navigate the shift from volume-based to value-based reimbursement, ideally one that can easily incorporate policy changes over time just as tax software accounts for changes in tax policy over time) 

  • Collaboration models for physicians, providers, payers and patients (e.g. creating a networked physician platform that promotes active collaboration and community building to enable physicians to participate in all major innovation cycles)

What will healthcare in 2047 will not look like if Health2047 is successful? It's what Madara experienced this holiday season — a chronically ill family member in Chicago whose physician moved from one academic health center to another but couldn't move the patient data housed in the former and had to rely on memory to treat the patient.

"Both academic centers had the same IT platform and yet absolutely zero information could be transferred from one institution to the other," Madara said. "These are just fundamental problems that need to be addressed ...."

If Health2047 succeeds in addressing such challenges, more than just physicians will be cheering.

Arundhati Parmar is senior editor at MD+DI. Reach her at [email protected] and on Twitter @aparmarbb

Learn more about the medtech industry trends at MD&M West, Feb. 9-11, at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California.

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