Q&A


6 Questions on the Future of Healthcare with First Light Asset Management’s Matt Arens

November 26, 2018 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Questions is a new interview series with Medical Alley leaders on the future of healthcare. Medical Alley Association’s membership includes leaders in healthcare delivery, payment, technology, and policy, which gives us – and in turn, you – access to diverse perspectives on how healthcare is changing and what lies ahead.

Medical Alley is the global epicenter of health innovation and care; 6 Questions, is meant to share insights and spark discussion. If you have a perspective on the future of healthcare, feel free to share it by reaching out to Frank Jaskulke, Vice President of Intelligence at fjaskulke@medicalalley.org

This interview with Matt Arens, CEO and Senior Portfolio Manager, has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

6 Questions Series

 

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Matt Arens has been fortunate to combine two distinct passions in his career: investments and life sciences. Since entering the investments field in 1997, Arens has followed small-cap stocks, with a particular focus on identifying companies with high growth potential in the health care sector.

Prior to founding First Light Asset Management in September 2013, Arens was president and senior portfolio manager at Kopp Investment Advisors. While at Kopp, he served as the sole portfolio manager for the firm’s health care-focused investment strategy.

Arens graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor of science degree in financial planning. He has been a keynote speaker at the PricewaterhouseCoopers CFO Forum, and has been featured in publications, such as BusinessWeekBarron’sPensions & InvestmentsInvestment NewsMinneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Will the future of healthcare be most significantly defined by reining in costs or accelerating outcomes?

With U.S. health care expenditures projected to exceed $5.5 trillion by the middle of the next decade,1 there is nothing that will define healthcare more than our ability to rein in costs while simultaneously providing excellent patient care. The benefit of any medical advancement must be evaluated within the context of its cost to the healthcare system. If the system is unable to support a costly healthcare solution that can improve people’s lives, its benefits are largely lost. Fortunately, there are brilliant entrepreneurs who recognize this tremendous need and are advancing some amazing solutions that I believe will bend the cost curve and dramatically change the way health care is practiced in the United States.

What is the definition of value in healthcare today and what should it be?

People often relate value to saving money in the short term. However, I believe one has to consider the benefits a solution provides and its total cost when defining value in healthcare. For example, a vaccine to prevent a disease or a therapy to cure a disease may be viewed as expensive in the short term, but, over the life of a patient, the ability to provide medical preventions or cures can represent tremendous value when compared to the costs of simply treating a chronic disease.

What’s the biggest blind spot in healthcare today?

I believe one of the biggest blind spots in health care today is the “hand-off” as patients move from private insurance to Medicare. There are some incredible solutions on the horizon that can effectively prevent or cure disease, but until these two systems are aligned, the complete burden of cost will fall on private insurers who will — out of necessity — prevent access to these potentially game-changing therapies. I believe the way to achieve this alignment is by moving away from the current model, which is based on a massive one-time payment for treatment, toward a system that more closely resembles an annuity model agreed upon by all constituents. Only then can we cost-effectively advance treatments — such as organ transplant and gene therapy — that in the short term look expensive, but over a patient’s life may actually provide tremendous value.

What’s your company’s or sector’s biggest blind spot?

Many people may assume that because First Light invests solely in healthcare companies, our staff is full of MDs and PhDs. That is not the case.

We do have multiple team members who have been investing in the healthcare industry for more than 20 years. During that time, I and the other individuals have developed domain expertise and identified key areas for evaluating healthcare companies from a business perspective, including workflows, reimbursement, and intellectual property. These areas are second nature to us and, historically, we’ve been successful in approaching healthcare investing from a business and finance standpoint.

One could argue we have a blind spot when it comes to understanding the deep science within healthcare. We work hard to avoid this issue by working extensively with outside resources — MDs, PhDs, and others who are world-renowned experts in their particular fields of study. Because healthcare is such a specialized and nuanced industry, we believe it is often critical to consult with experts in areas we are researching in order to be most effective in our work.

This approach allows us to combine our business insights with our expert network’s tremendous depth of knowledge around specific disease states and treatment approaches. We feel this collaborative model is critical in turning what could be a blind spot into an area of strength for First Light.

Why is a presence in Minnesota, known as the Medical Alley, critical to your company?

First Light’s presence in Minnesota is critical to our success. We benefit from the state’s tremendous healthcare ecosystem, composed of industry titans across the healthcare spectrum, incredible healthcare systems and innovative university programs. The ability to sit down in-person with people shaping the future of healthcare without having to get on a plane is invaluable and, we believe, a competitive advantage.

What is the one thing, other than time or money, you wish you had more of?

I believe the solutions to cure some of the biggest problems in healthcare exist today. Some may be in the very early stages of development in someone’s garage, some may be advancing through the regulatory process, and some are already being presented at scientific meetings.

Knowledge around, and awareness of, these opportunities is the lifeblood of investing in the healthcare space. While incredible innovations are introduced to us each week — from gene editing and genomic profiling technologies to ground-breaking new surgical robots and solutions for detecting cancer through a blood draw — the desire to learn more, see more, and understand more is always present.

 

1Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, (n.d.) National Health Expenditure Projections 2017-2026. Retrieved from http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/index.html

 

Want to learn more about First Light Asset Management?

Visit https://firstlightam.com/


6 Questions on the Future of Healthcare with Lemhi Ventures’ Jodi Hubler

November 12, 2018 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Questions is a new interview series with Medical Alley leaders on the future of healthcare. Medical Alley Association’s membership includes leaders in healthcare delivery, payment, technology, and policy, which gives us – and in turn, you – access to diverse perspectives on how healthcare is changing and what lies ahead.

Medical Alley is the global epicenter of health innovation and care; 6 Questions, is meant to share insights and spark discussion. If you have a perspective on the future of healthcare, feel free to share it by reaching out to Frank Jaskulke, Vice President of Intelligence at fjaskulke@medicalalley.org

This interview with Jodi Hubler has been lightly edited for clarity and length. To see more, click the button below.

6 Questions Series

 

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Jodi Hubler is widely recognized for her keen insight, direct style of communication, and skillful stewardship of organizations from incubated startups to multibillion dollar corporations. She delivers a unique combination of executive leadership and venture capital investing expertise with direct experience in operations, governance, human capital, strategic planning and execution, culture change, and negotiations. As a strategic advisor and mentor to entrepreneurs and CEOs, she is especially adept at leading and governing in industries facing transformative change.

Jodi currently serves on the boards of Lemhi Ventures’ portfolio companies Bind, Digital Reasoning, PokitDok, and PlanSource, and serves as board chair of Recondo Technology. She previously served as a member or chair of seven additional Lemhi portfolio company boards. She also currently serves on the boards of CaringBridge, Central Logic, DHIT Global, and Medical Alley Association. Jodi is a frequent conference panelist and is a member of the Healthcare Executives Leadership Network and Women Business Leaders in Health Care Foundation.

Will the future of healthcare be most significantly defined by reigning in costs or accelerating outcomes?

Yes. That’s the interesting imperative of our time: It is no longer an “or” question, it’s an “and” imperative. For startups, the paradox is that the measure externally needs to be about achieving the triple aim of cost, quality and outcome all the while generating revenue, reducing risk, and increasing organizational resilience.

What is the definition of value in healthcare today and what should it be? 

The definition of value is like beauty – it’s all in the eye of the beholder, and it is significantly dependent on where one sits within the value-stream map of healthcare. In our current system, it’s all too often defined by reimbursement which, on one hand, limits the rate of change and, on the other, has more recently accelerated the rate of change as consumers have been more willing to pay and insert themselves, actively demanding change in line with their view of value: cost and convenience. A consumer centric definition will increasingly become the norm.

What’s the biggest “blind spot” in healthcare today?

We still see a fair amount of denial in the system as to the rate of change– think Blockbuster vs. Netflix.

What’s the venture capital sector’s biggest “blind spot?” 

We have a math problem building. Massive amounts of funding having gone into a significant number of companies with disproportionately fewer number of exits. The system is at risk of having propagated our own hype curve.

Why is a presence in Minnesota, known as the Medical Alley, critical to your company?

Minnesta is in our roots as founders of Definity Health, and the ecosystem continues to prove to be a very strong market to start companies, particularly as it relates to talent.

What is the one thing, other than time or money, you wish you had more of? 

Wisdom.

 

To learn more about Lemhi Ventures visit https://lemhiventures.com/  


6 Questions with Mark Walinske of Revo Health

October 1, 2018 | Tags: , , , , ,

6 Questions is a new interview series with Medical Alley leaders on the future of healthcare. Medical Alley Association’s membership includes leaders in healthcare delivery, payment, technology, and policy, which gives us – and in turn, you – access to diverse perspectives on how healthcare is changing and what lies ahead.

Medical Alley is the global epicenter of health innovation and care; 6 Questions, is meant to share insights and spark discussion. If you have a perspective on the future of healthcare, feel free to share it by reaching out to Frank Jaskulke, Vice President of Intelligence at fjaskulke@medicalalley.org

This interview with Mark Walinske of Revo Health, has been lightly edited for clarity and length. Mr. Walinske’s interview is the first interview in the series. To see more, click the button below.

6 Questions Series

 

Revo Health is a new business from Twin Cities Orthopedics and their Chief Growth Officer, Healthcare entrepreneur and executive, Mark Walinske, will participate in a panel on value-based care with Dr. Michael Tarnoff of Medtronic, during the November 6th Leading the Conversation: Value Based Care event from Medical Alley Association.

Medical Alley Association conducted a short interview with Mr. Walinske to get his perspectives on value-based care. You can register for the upcoming event to hear more from Mark, as well as share your perspective the future of healthcare.

Mark Walinske has over 34 years of early-stage entrepreneurial experience with 15 years being in healthcare.  Mr. Walinske has always had a deep passion for advancing organizations and technologies to reverse the rising costs in healthcare.  Prior to joining Revo Health, an organization focused on enabling value-based care, he was an executive at Optum in the Innovation R&D organization.  In addition to having been the CEO of three organizations, and co-founder of a successful healthcare non-profit, he has consulted to or been on the board of over two dozen Twin Cities-based healthcare start-up companies.  Mark’s interest in tackling complex healthcare problems is matched only by his passion for fly fishing.

To learn more about Revo Health visit their website at http://www.revohealth.com/

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Would you describe Revo’s business? 

Enabling medical specialties, specifically independent practices, to deliver value-based care solutions to their stakeholders.

Will the future of healthcare be most significantly defined by reigning in costs or accelerating outcomes? 

Costs and outcomes are inseparable (symbiotic) – mandatory transparency around both is an imperative.

What is the definition of value in healthcare today and what should it be?  

Value in healthcare today, is at best, vague.  Value in healthcare should be “individual outcomes achieved per dollar spent”.

What’s the biggest “blind spot” in healthcare today? 

The belief that cost-avoidance is synonymous with cost-reduction.

What’s your company’s or sector’s biggest “blind spot?” 

The belief that value-based care will be sufficiently defined by someone else.

Why is a presence in Medical Alley critical to your company?

Medical Alley is an effective venue to catalyze industry/stakeholder dialog around imperative topics that need to move beyond rhetoric.

What is the one thing, other than time or money, you wish you had more of? 

Brave employees willing to be the “verb” in healthcare reform.

 

See Mark Walinske and more leaders in health care by registering for Leading the Conversation: Value Based Care.


6 Questions with Philips Sleep and Respiratory Care, Dr. Jim Ehlen

September 26, 2018 | Tags: , , , , ,

6 Questions is a new interview series with Medical Alley leaders on the future of healthcare. Medical Alley Association’s membership includes leaders in healthcare delivery, payment, technology, and policy, which gives us – and in turn, you – access to diverse perspectives on how healthcare is changing and what lies ahead.

Medical Alley is the global epicenter of health innovation and care; 6 Questions, is meant to share insights and spark discussion. If you have a perspective on the future of healthcare, feel free to share it by reaching out to Frank Jaskulke, Vice President of Intelligence at fjaskulke@medicalalley.org

This interview with Dr. Jim Ehlen of Philips Sleep and Respiratory Care, has been lightly edited for clarity and length. Dr. Ehlen’s interview is the second interview in the series. To see more, click the button below.

6 Questions Series

 

Dr. Ehlen is a healthcare leader, executive and physician with deep experience in medical technology and healthcare system management. Dr. Ehlen has spent more than a decade leading medical device organizations including Halleland Health Consulting and RespirTech, which was acquired by Philips in 2017.  In 2018, Dr. Ehlen transitioned to an advisory role with Philips Healthcare’s Sleep and Respiratory Group. He is a strong advocate for patient education, value-based healthcare and is an expert in change management.  Dr. Ehlen also has extensive knowledge and practice in integrated healthcare organizations leading and improving operations, quality, and community and physician involvement.

 

This interview with Dr. Jim Ehlen, Medical Liaison, Philips Sleep and Respiratory Care Medical Office, has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Will the future of healthcare be most significantly defined by reigning in costs or accelerating outcomes?

Both! The healthcare market is increasingly, and more effectively, demanding evidence of value creation in the delivery of healthcare services and technology. The most impactful data will include evidence of better healthcare outcomes at a lower price. We’re part of an evolving industry trend of delivering value-based care that strives to deliver, and ultimately improve both clinical and economic outcomes. This strategy is one of the key drivers that will enable us to reach our vision of improving the lives of 3 billion people worldwide by 2025.

What is the definition of value in healthcare today and what should it be?

We have been exposed to the notion of value-based purchasing (VBP) for some years now and the healthcare industry is beginning to deliver on this concept. However, “value” in healthcare is more than just smart purchasing – it is delivering the best possible clinical outcomes at the lowest cost. To do this, we must think creatively. By providing patients with therapies and services that support their continuous health and wellness versus treating episodically, we can reduce complications and reduce costs like expensive hospital stays. Not only does this philosophy decrease expenditures, it also leads to healthier, happier patients.

What’s the biggest “blind spot” in healthcare today?

I see two major areas where we, as an industry, can improve:

The first is through improved education. We expect our physicians to know an awful lot about a huge spectrum of conditions and we must be vigilant about ensuring that our providers have the data they need to make the best possible treatment recommendations. This extends to patients as well. Too often, we see patients deteriorate because they are not keeping up with their prescribed therapies. It is critical that we improve patient adherence. We must support our patients, enable them to take ownership in their healthcare and ensure they remain engaged.

The second is an enhanced focus on personalized medicine. We tend to categorize patients into diagnostic categories or codes, but in reality, each patient is nuanced and unique. We need to update our care processes and technologies to allow providers to deliver more individualized care instead of being immediately bound by fixed categories.

We need to invest upfront in supportive services that keep patients healthy. Spending dollars initially on preventative measures will lower long-term healthcare costs and its what’s best for our patients.  Ensuring patient accountability with home-care monitoring is an important way to do this and will help maintain superior patient health.

What’s your company’s or sector’s biggest “blind spot?”

Providers have a remarkable amount of resources at their disposal. The challenge is understanding and implementing the best possible combination of products and services to ensure patients receive optimal care. We, as a medical technology industry, have an obligation to provide vast and reliable clinical data that enables providers to do this. I’d like to note: I do not think we are blind here, rather we see a clear challenge to meet.

As a manufacturer, Philips is investing more in holistic solutions that can help to maintain population wellness and shifting resource allocation to preventative care and reduction of complications and readmissions. We’re focusing on continuous care and finding new ways to connect information across the care ecosystem to enable more appropriate, timely clinical intervention and decision making. Ultimately, this should equate to more cost efficient and more clinically effective care.

Why is a presence in the Medical Alley Association critical to your company?

Medical Alley Association demonstrates its contribution in several highly impactful ways:

What is the one thing, other than time or money, you wish you had more of?

Clinical evidence. Among the critical success factors for our organization, I see the need for more and better evidence around how to improve care processes, assure cost mitigation and enhance patient engagement.

 

See Dr. Ehlan at Leading the Conversation: Value-Based Care this November

To learn more about Value Based Care and share your thoughts make sure to attend Leading the Conversation: Value Based Care on November 6th

Leading the Conversation

6 Questions with Sunrise Health’s Shrenik Jain of gBETA Medtech

September 10, 2018 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

gener8tor, a nationally ranked accelerator program, has partnered with Boston Scientific to launch a healthcare-focused program in Medical Alley with additional support from the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic. Their first cohort wrapped up in June and the second cohort was announced in July.

Over the next few weeks, we will profile the second cohort of companies.

What does Sunrise Health do?

Sunrise Health allows patients with substance use and mental health conditions to receive stigma-free support through small text-based peer support groups. These groups can be integrated with clinical care thanks to our novel AI tools that detect clinically relevant content (e.g., intent to relapse), allowing care managers to triage their outreach based off the sentiment in peer messages.

What difference does this make for patients?

Behavioral healthcare only works when patients feel comfortable enough to share what’s truly on their mind. Coupled with stigma and accessibility of care issues, this means only a minority of patients in need receive treatment. We give patients 24/7 access to a space of peers they can relate to, which dramatically improves the patient experience, but also gives care managers the bandwidth to handle 7-10x greater patient capacities as peers generate so much engagement on their own.

What motivated you to take on this issue?

I worked as a first responder in multiple fire departments & rescue squads. At every station, I’d run countless suicide attempts and overdoses. Everyone on our team (perhaps everyone in the world) had seen these conditions in family and friends. We noticed patients gravitated towards support groups both face-to-face (e.g., 12 steps) and online (e.g., Reddit), even though these groups had little oversight or integration with clinical care.

What did you do before starting this company?

I was an undergrad at Johns Hopkins University, which I left to found Sunrise. While in Baltimore I worked in sales at another health IT startup and worked within a nonprofit engaging underserved Baltimore high schoolers. Ravi, my co-founder, was at Hopkins for his master’s, having prior built products leading to two exits. Satya, our chief data scientist and first employee, had finished his master’s at Hopkins and was planning for a Ph.D.

How can the Medical Alley community best support your work?

We just closed our seed round and are excited to work with great investors. We are currently seeking innovative behavioral health, substance use, or wraparound service providers to partner with as early adopters of our platform.

And finally, why participate in gBETA?

Minneapolis has a world we want to know better, a concentration of payors.

 

About gBETA Medtech

gBETA Medtech is a free, seven-week accelerator that works with medical device, healthcare-related software, biotech and diagnostics startups. Part of gener8tor, a nationally ranked accelerator program, gBETA Medtech is in partnership with Boston Scientific and supported by the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota. For more information visit https://www.gbetamedtech.com/

 

To learn more about Sunrise Health visit http://www.sunrisehealth.co/

Want to see all the gBETA cohort 2 companies’ demo? LiveBETA is October 10th – details here: https://livebetamedtechsummer2018.splashthat.com/


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