MN Healthcare Innovation Leaders Share 2017 Predictions + Advice

MN Health Leaders Share 2017 Predictions + Advice


On Monday, February 6th, entrepreneurs, executives and everyone in between gathered at Worrell Design to hear healthcare industry leaders share their predictions driving change in 2017. The series of mini-talks was given before and throughout the startup pitches.

Read Our Summary of the 2017 Pitches


Leaders from the mature Minneapolis startup, Jennifer Ho, Director of Human Resources, and Jon Pearce, Founder/CEO, shared just how far the team has come. They are looking to add new talent to Zipnosis.


Pearce spoke about the powerful inflection point society is experiencing — the transition from a brick and mortar world to a digital one. He predicts the rate of change in telemedicine will slow, especially on the provider side. He also forecasts a bifurcation in virtual care and telemedicine. Telemedicine will become a feature and function of virtual care. Market adoption for telemedicine offered individually is waning due to its under-whelming unit economics. Systems will begin to force consolidation.

Pearce sees 2017 as a year of “gut checks” resulting in rounds with lower valuations. Investors will require, more so than 2016, demonstrated measures of ROI and sustainability from entrepreneurs. Rather than building fast, startups should look to grow with scalability in mind.


Minnesota Council of Health Plans

Jim Schowalter, President and CEO, and Julia Dreier, Director of Medical Policy and Care Delivery, focused on the need to form partnerships in spite of the current turmoil and anxiety in insurance markets. The Washington, D.C. and Minnesota climates remain under stress. Questions about financing and project orientation are top-of-mind, as is the core ask, “How can insurance companies support comfortable, happy lives for care consumers?”

Dreier helped stand up the marketplaces under the Obama administration. She saw firsthand the incredible nuance of each consumer’s situation — like the Alaskan fishermen who would be out to sea during the entire period of open enrollment. How would they register for coverage? What accommodations could be made?

This year the market and innovators must push to address the high costs of insurance coverage and medical bills. Dreier believes the industry must balance caring for broad populations and serving on a personal level. The systems must flex — able to deal naturally with the unexpected.


Boston Scientific

Julie Thompson, R&D Director for Boston Scientific, previewed how the industry must leverage large scale data to propel personalized medicine. She posed the question, “How can wearable devices augment implantable technologies?” Opportunity exists for wearables to serve new roles in the medical space, especially used to monitor aging populations.


Player’s Health

Last year Tyrre Burks, the Founder/CEO of Player’s Health, pitched at the Annual Overview. This year, he returned to offer advice to startups gaining ground: Have a solid sense of your value proposition.

Developing that story was a key step enabling Player’s Health to mature in 2016. For Player’s, the proposition centers around risk management. That pivot has transformed the presentation of Player’s Health from a nice-to-have into a must-have for leagues offering youth athletics.

Beyond brand, finding the right people assets was key. “Make sure you have the right team to stick through the difficult times with you,” offered Burks.


Timmaron Group

Barb Stinnett, CEO of Timmaron Group, shared how she leveraged her tech background to serve healthcare, motivated after a personal experience highlighting need within the industry. Stinnett has built and directed businesses for brands including Hewlett Packard, Oracle and Cisco.

She encourages health leaders and innovators to ask, “How do we actually help each other connect?”



Kunjorn “KC” Chambundabongse, VP Innovation for Optum, discussed how recent acquisitions by Optum will help drive down inefficiencies in healthcare. According to KC, 25% of healthcare spend is tied to administrative expenses. He also remains excited to AI, machine learning, cryptocurrencies and IOT devices applied to healthcare.

Though, he shared a caution: As technology advances, so do the risks.


Read a Recap of the 2017 Pitches

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