Our current short sighted national healthcare debate is all about partisan politics and little about actual solutions. While two parties have debated about whether subsidies are better than tax breaks, hundreds of startups have started to apply technology in healthcare. Unfortunately only few of these upstarts have been able to scale due to the complexity, regulation or lack of adoption. We at BetterDoctor are providing doctor data for hundreds of health startups, and have seen these challenges first hand.
Many health startups begin as features or simple apps trying to solve one specific problem. This focused model can work, but it’s hard to scale in a market where you need adoption at least from one of the 4 groups: payers, hospitals, pharma or the patients.
The real big problems are solved when people team up, challenge the conventional thinking and apply hard science.
Virta Health founder Sami Inkinen told me couple years ago about his idea to build a full-stack healthcare company that will help reverse type 2 diabetes. I was immediately excited because I knew Sami had the real passion to tackle this massively hard problem. He also had 20 years of experience measuring his own body, and had connected with the brightest researchers to convince himself that it’s actually possible to use diet to reverse type 2 diabetes. Sami had even rowed from California to Hawaii with his wife to convince the world of the risks of sugar and the exploding diabetes epidemic.
This week Virta Health launched publicly and released their first peer reviewed paper validating that their model works. I applaud the Virta Health team for their patience of spending couple years validating the results before publicly launching the company.
Virta Health example is exactly what we need in our healthcare debate. We need more peer reviewed research, validated pilots and transparency on impact of different digital tools.