The GV Hot 7, especially the finally-acknowledged physician burnout. Google Ventures’ (GV) Dr. Krishna Yeshwant, a GV general partner leading the Life Sciences team, is interested in seven areas, according to his interview in Business Insider (UK):
- Physician burnout, which has become epidemic as doctors (and nurses) spend more and more time with their EHRs versus patients. This is Job #1 in this Editor’s opinion.
Dr. Yeshwant’s run-on question to be solved is: “Where are the places where we can intervene to continue getting the advantages of the electronic medical record while respecting the fact that there’s a human relationship that most people have gotten into this for that’s been eroded by the fact that there’s now a computer that’s a core part of the conversation.” (Your job–parse this sentence!–Ed.)
Let’s turn to Dr. Robert Wachter for a better statement of the problem. This Editor was present for his talk at the NYeC Digital Health Conference [TTA 19 Jan] and these are quoted from his slides: “Burnout is associated with computerized order entry use and perceived ‘clerical burden’ [of EHRs and other systems]”. He also cites the digital squeeze on physicians and the Productivity Paradox, noted by economist Robert Solow as “You can see the computer age everywhere except in the productivity statistics.” In other words, EHRs are a major thief of time. What needs to happen? “Improvements in the technology and reimagining the work itself.” Citing Mr. Solow again, the Productivity Paradox in healthcare will take 15-20 years to resolve. Dr. Wachter’s talk is here.
Can’t conceive this is a problem? Three leading Boston physicians, all from teaching hospitals that led in EHR adoption, call it ‘Death by a Thousand Clicks’. If we wait for the Productivity Paradox to naturally resolve, we may not have any doctors left! CommonHealth via WBUR
- Medication adherence. What’s not compelling to GV? Pill counters and electronic reminders
- Neurology, focusing on treatments to mitigate pain
- A learning healthcare system, which is not well described in the article, but this Editor will assume is machine learning and artificial intelligence.
- Inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis
- Infectious diseases
- Medical devices
But don’t think that GV is in any rush to invest even in these areas, and for just any solution. According to Dr. Yeshwant, GV has spent two to three years looking at companies. They’ve made a few investments, including in inflammatory disease companies and in a NYC-based behavioral health company, Quartet Health, another area on their initial bucket list, in April 2016. Quartet connects primary care to mental health providers and patients to a ‘goal-driven therapy program’, and had a stellar Series A in 2015 after only one year in existence. If Quartet is any model, your health tech will have to be proven and vetted by Other People’s Dollars in early stages.