Andre of Health FurtherMost people in the U.S. acknowledge that their richest country in the world has a broken healthcare system, especially when it comes to costs. A handful of think tanks and lawmakers offer fixes for American healthcare. Now there’s a new problem-solver in healthcare town, Health:Further, and they aim to move U.S. health forward by building bridges between stakeholders in the U.S. health ecosystem. My longtime colleague and friend, Andre Blackman of Pulse+Signal, has joined the organization as “Producer.” Here, we’ll learn more from my (JSK) interview with Andre (AB) about the organization, their mission, and plans to go beyond “disruption” to re-making American healthcare.

JSK: You’ve recently become the Producer for Health:Further. Can you give us an overview of what it’s about?

AB: Absolutely! So Health:Further began as an event in Nashville, TN, to bring together key stakeholders in healthcare to highlight the forward movement of the industry through innovation. After a sold out success of over 600+ attendees and dynamic speakers, the team at Jumpstart Foundry – the healthcare innovation fund behind Health:Further – decided to take it up a notch. This year we have evolved Health:Further to become a series of events (3 smaller Quarterly events and 1 large event in the summer) as well as a learning platform for healthcare innovation. We’re giving an opportunity to those who want better guidance on the trends in healthcare that impact their work, to get plugged in directly with experts and innovators.

HF logoJSK: You mention the importance of creating inclusive environments for legacy healthcare organizations which have largely been left out of digital health developments. Why do you feel that is an important concept to embrace for health innovation?

AB: Here’s the thing: there are a number of leaders and forward-thinking healthcare organizations who want to get up to speed on what matters for the future of their business. Oftentimes however, they may not know exactly where to start, what to focus on and who they can specifically learn from in order to be successful. That is what we’ve created through Health:Further – a safe, inclusive environment for these groups to get involved with meaningful innovation. The reason this is important is simple: we need as many smart people as possible to get an understanding of how they can create something better in healthcare. The organizations that have been around for decades serving their populations are deeply rooted in our country’s history and community-based health systems- making sure that they can easily connect with innovations that can help them improve their processes and empower patients is a vital aspect of our mission.

JSK: What stakeholder groups do you plan to reach with the Health:Further platform?

AB: Through Health:Further we are looking at connecting with healthcare executives, entrepreneurs interested in or already innovating around healthcare, as well as investors wanting to get deeper insight into what’s coming around the corner. These are the people who are making important decisions for the future and we’ve realized that they want to know four key things: what important trends in healthcare do we need to know; how is this going to impact our business; who is doing it well; and, how do we get involved. We want to make sure those stakeholders and those questions get connected and answered with our platform.

JSK: As someone who has always kept an eye on the next important innovations and concepts in public health/healthcare through your Pulse + Signal work, what should we expect in the next 5 years?

AB: There are three fundamental dynamics going on that will help shape the future for smarter, more effective health innovation. First, the aspect of co-creation and design thinking going hand in hand is powerful. Years ago when the aspect of co-creation was first introduced, it was more of a marketing angle. Working alongside customers to create a product in a process that ensured success — making it well-received by users — was brilliant. I remember a Chevy campaign that solidified the concept in my head during my PR days. Mix that together with how we’re learning about design thinking efficiency being baked into healthcare and the interaction of patients to be part of the process will become a game changer. The recent insights from a Texas hospital sheds great light on this.

Secondly, consider the aspect of consumer technology not only continuing to mainstream but also being accessible to a growing population – regardless of socioeconomic status. We’re seeing programs like Dr. Lisa Gualtieri’s RecyleHealth initiative for recycling used digital activity trackers gaining steam. The program is not only being used for research but also for improving the digital literacy of consumers who otherwise aren’t exposed to the digital health landscape. It’s not just about people using the technology but how and why they are using it that will solidify its usefulness. This is an important step in expanding the impact of the innovations we are seeing coming in the future and one that we’re excited to dig deeper with upcoming Health:Further activities.

Lastly, I believe that policies are finally leaning toward creating an environment where innovation in healthcare can be rolled into smart business models for health systems across the country. Reimbursement has historically been a speed bump in how much these new concepts can get adopted by healthcare providers in order to reach the population. Now that we’re seeing some progress, underpinned by value-based payment — especially around issues like telehealth. I feel the stage is being set for more great things to come.

JSK: Beyond the March 1st event focusing on telehealth, what “further” events can we expect from Health:Further later this year?

AB: We created the Health:Further Quarterly (HFQ) events as a half-day deep dive into a specific subject that is having a profound effect on healthcare’s evolution. The March 1st 2016 event will explore how telehealth is enabling access and creating new business models in the industry. We’re excited to be bringing notable telehealth experts like Dr. Pramod Gaur and innovative Doctor on Demand to demo their platform and speak on the evolution of care delivery. We’re excited to be thinking about additional topics to highlight during our next two HFQ events — they will be taking place on May 10th and November 1st of this year. Since HFQ is all about taking a specific aspect of healthcare innovation, we’re looking at a number of themes: aging in place, the role of the patient, interoperability, consumer health hardware & privacy.

In addition to the Quarterly events, we are excited to be hosting our second annual Health:Further meeting towards the end of August. Health Populi readers interested in getting notified of our events and opportunities to speak and showcase their companies can contact me anytime or sign up for our email list on the Health:Further homepage.

Follow Health:Further on Twitter (@HealthFurther) as well as on Facebook for more curated resources and information on taking healthcare to new and better heights.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  There is a growing proliferation of healthcare tech incubators and start-up programs around the world, and throughout the U.S. in metropolitan cities and mid-size towns. Health:Further is a new-new thing in this space, a hybrid of innovation inspiration, smart market content, and networking opportunities. The focus on business models will help the organization indeed take Health, Further.