It’s official! mHealth in the ‘trough of disillusionment’

Gartner annually issues its Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies in the Dog Days of August, perhaps not to burst too many bubbles, derail too many fundings?

  • Lo and behold, ‘mobile health monitoring ‘ is heading towards the bottom of the Trough of Disillusionment. Moreover, its recovery is projected at 5-10 years to move out of the Trough, whip through the Slope of Enlightenment and enter the sunny uplands of the Plateau of Productivity. See Gartner chart below.

mHealth Summit 2013: Sunday Venture+ Forum

Lois Drapin, Founder & CEO of The Drapin Group, provides a recap of the Venture+ Forum held the day before the official start of the mHealth Summit 2013. This is the first of her dispatches, courtesy of HIT Consultant.

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /]Yes, it’s true. Sunday’s Venture+ Forum, one of the day-long events that takes place before the official start of the mHealth Summit 2013, was a lot like living Gartner’s Hype Cycle in one day. Before I tell you why, let me first offer my sincere apologies to Gartner Inc. (I’ll reference the Gartner methodology in underlined italics). Absolutely no offense is meant, but this borrowed framework could be the assist I need at 1 a.m. to offer up my POV.

Keynote Speaker: Jack Young, Director of Qualcomm Ventures

The day began with Jack Young, Director of Qualcomm Ventures and head of the Qualcomm Life Fund. He talked about trends that we should all know by now— the rising costs of healthcare (at $8K per human per capita, health is the most expensive subscription in our home); the aging population (a company in Japan reported that it had sold more adult diapers than baby diapers this past year). Qualcomm sees the Technology Trigger in the emergence of wearables or “mini working computers” and with big data in health such as claims data, EMR data, genomic data, consumer and social data. The wearables industry is emerging, having come into our lives connected to our smartphones. In this way, if you will, our social-ness is changing too. When you wear a wearable (watch, glasses, shoe, shirt, pin—whatever item(s) we choose), we are more likely to accept that “I’m on the journey” to health, wellness and well-being. We’re involving our friends, families and co-workers. The data that is, or will be coming from our use of wearables and other sources, will give us meaningful insights that can change behavior and health outcomes. It sounds a bit like ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’, yet who doesn’t love an investor with ‘California Dreamin’’ on his mind. I know I do.

But I already could feel the climb toward the Peak of Inflated Expectations. It really didn’t seem too far away or too high up. (more…)

3D bioprinting – you may already have benefited

In spite of 3D bioprinting being very far back on the 2013 Gartner Hype Cycle for emerging technologies (just in front of quantified self, and quantum computing), this excellent summary from On 3D Printing points out that 3D printing is already being used extensively to manufacture customised hearing aids, and dental items.  It seems there is much progress too in printing truly ‘bio’ materials too. Well worth a read.

Donna Cusano (aka ‘the Boss’) has kindly also suggested this article on Mashable and this on Inhabitat. She tells me there is a further, not-for-the-faint-hearted, video on Medcitynews although if you are in the UK access is blocked.

If you happen to be in the San Jose area in mid September, there’s also a prize draw on the home page for a ticket for the Inside 3D Printing conference.


Is Silicon Valley-style thinking right for healthcare?

The always thoughtful David Shaywitz writes about coming out on the other side of the Gartner hype curve (ever so familiar to this Editor) into the ‘plateau of productivity’.  He provides some anecdotal evidence from his Silicon Valley experience that you could possibly take the good parts of Hope and Hype and make them work for Health. His qualifiers lead this Editor to the following takeaways, with which Dr. Shaywitz might not necessarily agree:

  • You the entrepreneur may well be thinking about changing the world with your service or device, but you might be better off focusing on solving a specific problem (or in Clayton Christensen’s terms ‘a job to be done’) and then being gratified when you do, actually, find a way to change the world and yes, you make some money for your investors. The Epic EHR started quite modestly.
  • Silicon Valley observers are onto the hype cycle there– “the contrast between grandiose ambitions and disappointing delivery.” You should be too. If you’re in health tech, steer clear of the hypesters and the cocktail parties. In fact, be more like Dr. Shaywitz’s colleagues at MIT, understanding “the limitations of your work and the enormity of the unanswered questions remaining.”
  • Aim for more than tweaking something existing–the incessant efficiency innovations so attractive to VCs in this ‘stuck on stupid’ economy–and “learn how to develop profoundly improved therapies, that cure – or better yet, prevent – disease and disability. ” Break out of what Dr. Christensen’s ‘broken circle.’ [TTA 9 Nov 12]
  • Most startups fail, and to date there are far fewer successful exits in healthcare than in social media, which is why VCs like them ever so much more and they get the billion-dollar exits. More realistic is a modest return and a long development curve. So when seeking funding, be conservative and find alternate means.

Hope, Hype, And Health In Silicon Valley (Forbes)