When Mark Bakken formed the healthcare technology investment firm HealthX Ventures nearly five years ago, he says hospitals, insurers, and other potential buyers of digital health products were less open to conversations with the kinds of early-stage healthtech startups Bakken’s firm wanted to back.
At the time, healthcare organizations’ top priority was installing electronic medical records systems and getting the most out of the technology, Bakken says. That’s still important to them today, but “that’s been kind of stabilized,” he says.
“They’re realizing [electronic health records software] doesn’t solve all their problems, so they’re looking to augment that” with additional technologies, Bakken (pictured) says. “In general, I would say the customer is more open to taking meetings or exploring digital health solutions.”
Another sign that the digital health market is maturing? Many hospital networks, insurers, and self-insured employers have created a digital innovation officer role in their organizations, Bakken says. That person has “basically become the champion” of digital health tools in many healthcare-related businesses and organizations, he says, whether they’re looking for products that can streamline or automate a process, improve patient care, or help them better understand the health data they’re working with “so they can make better and smarter business decisions.”