Digital Health Solutions Cannot Come Fast Enough

by Andrew Wegrzyn

Cancer centers can be emotional and complex places for patients, family members and medical teams alike. If you were to sit in the front lobby you would see a flurry of activity related to treating disease and improving the health of patients. Seeing a physician for a consult, undergoing an MRI scan, administration of chemotherapy, speaking with a surgeon, or loved ones consoling one another — all of these patient centric activities exist to treat and cure disease. When it comes to treating disease, the US health system, with all of its complexities, is generally quite effective.

During my time leading innovative research teams at the Washington University School of Medicine, it was my privilege to witness some of the most skilled physician and nursing teams in the world caring for the complex needs of patients and healing the body.

However, what struck me then and even more so now was how much of the patient journey was not related to the disease itself but more to overall human health and wellness.

How am I getting to my appointment today? What is the financial impact of my disease and can I use my retirement savings to pay bills? How are my health and life insurance plans impacted by my health conditions? Is my genetic data they collected secure — and what else can be done with it? How can I pay for expenses if my employment is impacted by my journey as a patient? Can anyone help me keep track of my medication schedule and ordering? What is the cost of all this? All of these are common questions asked by nearly every patient over time. All of these “non-clinical” questions can have profound impact on the overall health and wellness of patients and families.

As life expectancy increases, our health, wealth, and security decision making will converge — like many streams that lead to the same river.

Funding and supporting the growth of digital health companies at these disciplinary intersection points is vital for improving health and wellness overall. Take SixThirty portfolio company Zirtue, for example:

Every year, Americans borrow nearly $200 billion from friends and family. Most often, these loans are going toward things like rent, utilities, and medical bills. These loans are typically never formalized, which can result in painful misunderstandings and strained relationships. Zirtue is an app that takes the guesswork and awkwardness out of repaying a friend or family member by digitizing those loans on a simple online platform. By making it easier to borrow money for things like medical bills, Zirtue helps these Americans get the funds they need to meet their needs and work toward their goals without resorting to payday loans, credit card advances, or bank overdrafts.

In an increasingly digital, cloud-first, interconnected ecosystem, healthcare’s connection points via data, infrastructure, operating models and beyond will speed new value to patients and the whole health ecosystem at faster rates.

Digital health solutions cannot come fast enough. The consumer pain points are well known to anyone who has visited the doctor. Overall spending on healthcare in the US is nearing $4T per year — and according to the JAMA, 25% of this spending is waste. 43 million Americans have medical debt. Out of pocket spending alone is projected to reach half a trillion dollars before 2030. Plus, 80% of modifiable contributors to improved health outcomes are social determinants.

At SixThirty, we have a unique confluence of established subject matter expertise — a network of partners and stakeholders who have helped transform companies and go to market in diverse sectors and settings. With our existing partners in areas including InsurTech, FinTech, banking, data, cyber security, and insurance we are perfectly situated to provide value in digital health for companies transforming the health ecosystem.

We are investing directly at the confluence of these disciplines — driving value across the span of the entire healthcare ecosystem for all stakeholders in one of the most vital sectors of the US economy.



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