Only Disruptors Survive

InTouch founder and chairman Yulun Wang’s keynote address at the recent Telehealth Innovation Forum emphasized that the 4th Industrial Revolution – the digital transformation of business – is being shaped almost entirely by innovative disruptors.

Dr. Wang cited many famous companies that failed to disrupt and ended up on the casualty list: Sears, Tower Records, Yellow Cab, and many more. He then showed how successful companies have gone both horizontal and vertical to disrupt their industries. For example, Netflix went vertical, moving from DVD distribution to streaming to content production. Airbnb went horizontal, augmenting its lodging services with digitally-enabled travel experiences and booking to become an end-to-end trip management company.

Dr. Wang’s advice for the healthcare industry was simple: be like the banking business. Healthcare companies should rapidly emulate what the big banks have done by adding a virtual delivery layer on top of the brick-and-mortar layer. Many disruptors on the fringes of healthcare are already doing this with gusto. Ten years ago, you had to visit an Apple store to purchase an iPhone. Today, you can download a personal health app to that same device – and it can be seamlessly integrated into the Electronic Health Record at your hospital.

Many Virtual “Front Doors”

Dr. Wang noted that the physical front doors of hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices are quickly getting virtualized. Nearly 80% of American healthcare consumers want this convenience and flexibility. A prime example would be the University of Utah, where many physician appointments are made from a smart device.

All of those entry points are expanding our healthcare networks, proving once again the wisdom of Metcalf’s Law: “A network’s value increases exponentially as the size of the network increases.” When large health systems like Providence and St. Joseph Health merge, what we’re actually seeing is the “1 + 1 = 4” effect.

The telehealth journey has been a remarkable evolution, as shown below:

 

Connectivity ˃ Analytics ˃ Intelligence
 

Patient gets care any time, anywhere

 

Made possible by sophisticated networks and evidence-based care

 

Applying AI and machine learning

 

 

We’re only scratching the surface of what AI and machine learning can offer. The latest voice-to-text programs can actually take a clinician’s spoken notes and turn them into an EHR record, automatically generating ICD-10 and consultation codes to eliminate drudgery for doctors and greatly simplify documentation.

Dr. Wang believes that healthcare will eventually become a “continuous self-learning system” that automatically improves efficiency, quality, and patient care beyond today’s wildest dreams. When we reach that moment, we’ll all owe a big debt to the disruptors who led the way.

Interested in hearing more about Dr. Wang’s perspective on disruption in healthcare? Watch his presentationat the 12th Telehealth Innovation Forum.