This post is part of our new Healthcare Influencer series in which we interview the world's leading experts to get their take on the state of the industry, the top trends to watch for, and what the future holds.
The following is an interview we recently had with Nick Desai, Co-Founder and CEO of Heal.
1. How has the Healthcare industry evolved in the past 5 years?
ND: The best thing to happen to healthcare over the last five years is that nearly 30 million more Americans have at least some form of health insurance. In addition to this would be the innovations in early testing for Alzheimer's, breast cancer, and other serious illnesses. The worst thing to happen is that people are waiting longer than ever, and paying more than ever, to see a doctor. This is because healthcare is broken for doctors who are forced to see too many patients, spend too much time on bureaucracy, and are not able to affect patient behavior towards avoiding costly chronic disease in the first place.
In that context, there are a number of “office alternatives” now ranging from telemedicine to AI, bots, and more. None of those – we think – replaces the importance of a family doctor who knows you and proactively engages you in a healthier, disease-free lifestyle in the first place. In fact, many of those alternatives further disintermediate doctors from patients, making care more fractured, more ineffective, and more expensive.
That is why Heal exists – to re-establish the doctor-patient relationship as the epicenter of low-cost healthcare that leads patients to happier, healthier lives.
✅ AI shouldn't aim to replace doctors. It should aim to enhance the quality and efficacy of care, combining the doctor's unique human insights with an infallible data-driven diagnosis.
2. What are the top Healthcare technology trends you're seeing?
ND: There are almost too many to mention. One would be health-tech innovation racing far ahead of actual healthcare. The adoption of new technologies remains low amongst doctors and the truly sick patients in the U.S. Far too much innovation is “thought up” in the rarified air of Silicon Valley, without understanding the context of sick people living around the country.
To me, the most important innovations are those that actually make it to the front lines – where doctors see patients.
3. How will AI change the Healthcare industry?
ND: AI shouldn't aim to replace doctors. It should aim to enhance the quality and efficacy of care, combining the doctor's unique human insights with an infallible data-driven diagnosis.
4. How will blockchain change the Healthcare industry?
ND: This is TBD – blockchain has a lot of promise, but a lot of hype as well.
5. What's the future of Healthcare?
About Nick Desai
Nick Desai is an accomplished and visionary entrepreneur who has started and led four venture funded startups over the last 18 years. Nick is the Co-Founder and CEO of Heal, an on-demand doctor house call app available in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco / Silicon Valley, San Diego, Washington D.C., and Northern Virginia.
For Nick, Heal is more than a company – it’s a mission to fix the broken $3 trillion healthcare system. Nick’s previous start-ups have been innovative leaders in technology-enabled fitness and weight loss, social media and mobile applications, and the web’s first self-updating address book. Nick earned his BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UC Irvine, where he is in the Engineering Hall of Fame, and an MS in Electrical Engineering from UCLA. Nick is on the board of the UC Irvine Alumni Association and the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Heart Association.