How Inflect Looks at the Startup Space
By Dr. Dave Feldman
Tech investors have a method for evaluating startups. Does it fit our investment thesis? Will it create shareholder value? Is the company scalable, and will it be able to operate at scale in a large market (measured in dollars) that it has the potential to reach?
When it comes to healthcare startups, we at Inflect Health are on the front lines. We’re MDs, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Subject Matter Experts and other qualified medical professionals who live patient care daily at bedside. We all work in medicine every week. As a result, we see this space through a different lens.
When we look at healthcare startups, we organize the market for healthcare into two major categories: stakeholders and shareholders. Stakeholders are the patients and their families, the physicians, nurses, clinicians and advanced providers, and the communities to which these people belong. Shareholders are the stockholders of for-profit healthcare enterprises, insurance companies and the startups themselves.
From this viewpoint, we group healthcare startups into three categories:
These companies create ways to provide the right care at the right time and place, both for individuals and their families. In medicine we focus on outcomes — how does the care we provide make a measurable, obvious difference in how people feel every day?
Personalized care startups leverage advances in data and analytics to select for each individual patient the exact care ideal for their genetic and physiologic makeup, delivering personally optimized treatment at the right time.
Sparta Science, one of our portfolio companies, is an excellent example. They have developed a device the patient stands on that looks like a small mat, but it’s a force plate that senses thousands of points of pressure from which Sparta’s software does motion data analysis. By analyzing patients’ movement, we can not only track recovery from injuries but prevent them, for example by recognizing changes in an older patient’s gait that signal changes in their body that could make them prone to a fall. Preventive therapies can minimize that risk.
Remote care and monitoring
We don’t think of it as remote, but as meeting people where they are. Our patients can’t and shouldn’t need to come to a hospital or clinic for everything. We look to leverage technology to bring medical care to their homes, jobs and lives in ways not possible before.
Remote care and monitoring companies are largely infrastructure plays to solve challenges such as:
- How do we monitor your blood pressure from a distance?
- How do we connect you to a doctor from a distance?
- How do we enable a physician to perform, say, an ear or abdominal exam from a distance if an in-person exam isn’t possible?
Curve Health, for example, develops solutions that allow physicians to care for nursing home patients remotely. A doctor can track their blood pressure and vital signs, and confidentially keep up with their patient records. Curve’s tech can enable a physician to diagnose a patient’s high blood pressure without requiring they be taken by ambulance to a hospital for examination. A change in medication may be all they need.
Reducing costs isn’t about scrimping on care. Better technology can remove huge overhead expenses by bringing more timely care to the patient, by increasing the availability of specialists, and through flexible and efficient just-in-time delivery of care. As medical professionals, we measure cost savings not only in dollars, but also in saved time, decreased pain and suffering, lowered anxiety, and the removal of unnecessary worry and stress over health issues.
Healthcare efficiency companies look to RPA (remote process automation or robotic process automation) to automate the drudgery of data entry, forms processing, and other repetitive tasks that take caregivers’ time and focus away from their patients. Do you hate it when your doctor or nurse spends as much time facing a computer screen and keyboard as they do facing you? We do, too.
Abridge has developed an app that records the audio of a physician’s conversation with a patient, then creates the necessary structured clinical documents to log the right information from the conversation into the right electronic medical records.
Our goal is better health outcomes
Of course we want our investments to make money so they can grow and thrive, but our primary goal is improving healthcare for all. Simply put, our culture is built on a mission to improve lives. A successful healthcare organization makes people’s lives better daily. It enables them to live longer in better health. A healthcare startup that can scale rapidly and operate successfully at that scale can bring better health outcomes to millions, maybe even billions around the world.
Every week, sometimes every day, my team at Inflect Health observes firsthand how new technologies might improve healthcare for all involved. From preventing problems before they happen to streamlining the paperwork, we seek scalable innovations in personalized care, remote care and monitoring, and healthcare efficiency. We look for solutions that both stakeholders and shareholders will embrace. Healthcare is changing rapidly, and its pace of change will only increase. We welcome the chance to look at any way to be a part of that.
Dr. David Feldman is Head of Strategic Technology Partnerships at Vituity, where he oversees the formation of partnerships between Inflect Health and cutting-edge Health Tech startups. In addition to being the Head of Strategic Technology Partnerships he also serves as a Vituity Senior Partner and serves as the Medical Director at a hospital within his local community. In addition, he has experience as a startup CEO, Angel Investor and Venture Advisor over the last 15 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from UC Irvine, an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Medicine, his MD from UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine and is a graduate of Harvard Medical School’s Massachusetts General Hospital.