Where top VCs are investing in healthcare B2B and infrastructure

Rising healthcare costs, an aging population, stifling regulations and the complexity of present-day technological offerings make the trillion-dollar healthcare industry ripe for disruption.

Not only are we finding new and innovative ways to get medical help, this global pandemic has led to explosive growth in telemedicine, digital devices and health-tracking apps — much of which needs a digital overhaul for doctors’ offices, insurance and the cumbersome HIPAA compliance.

While an infrastructure focus might not seem exciting, it is necessary to fix a broken, profit-driven system of paperwork and delays while the sick and suffering are saddled with mountains of debt.

Our current climate is the perfect illustration of just how critical new and innovative investments in the space truly are. It’s also a lucrative opportunity. According to Deloitte, healthcare infrastructure is expected to continue growing above pace into 2023.

But finding those disruptive technologies is the tricky part. In a recent survey, we asked VCs to evaluate the digital health sector; for today, we reached out to active investors to find out what they are seeing within the healthcare infrastructure landscape, what they are most interested in right now and where they think the industry is headed.

In this survey, we hear from:

Carl Byers, F-Prime Capital

Data and automation are the most interesting themes to me right now. We are only beginning to see the efficiencies and new capabilities opened up by getting the data organized and applying modern techniques. I’m more excited about the practical impact of robotic process automation (RPA) than I am enamored with AI, though both are exciting. I’d point to Notable Health in San Mateo as a company that has a great use of both technologies. I think we are about to embark on a new era of open data in healthcare where we finally solve the longstanding quest for interoperability with privacy mediated by patients. This will require a new developer ecosystem to come about built on new protocols rather than tired, legacy models. The key is for there to be demand pull from new services like virtual primary care (e.g. Firefly) or at-home solutions (like Ro or LetsGetChecked), instead of just a regulatory push (though that also will be important).

I’m spending time on RPA and open data, which is the key to improving healthcare B2B/infrastructure (see above). I think all markets have been overheated from a valuation standpoint, but if you find the right company, the opportunity is vast. If healthcare today is roughly 2x too expensive, getting data flowing is key to eliminating most of that waste. RPA can attack the administrative bloat while data exchange will allow doctors and patients to finally shop for the best value without the worry that something will be lost clinically in the translation.