Ties to the AMA 'solve the mission problem' for Health2047, a digital health catalyst

As the number of new digital health startups continues to skyrocket, so does that of the health systems, established venture capital firms, Silicon Valley billionaires, university-based accelerator programs and any other party with money to spare who wants to buy in.

While it is undoubtedly a boon for fledgling companies to receive funding from any of these parties, it can also be difficult for well-meaning startups to discern which are offering investments to further a mission of improving health outcomes and which simply want to put their money in a booming industry and watch it grow.

Not so for Health2047, which, as the innovation arm of the American Medical Association, is able to weed out investors and partners whose goals and priorities do not align with the very clear mission statement of the AMA, making it much easier to pursue those goals, according to Jack Stockert, MD, Health2047's managing director of strategy and business development.

Health2047 teams up with leaders in technology and healthcare to develop and commercialize digital solutions to improve the healthcare industry, focused on four core areas: facilitating data liquidity, improving chronic care, harnessing emerging technologies to serve the patient-physician interface and optimizing the value of healthcare. Since its founding in 2015, the Silicon Valley-based entity has helped launch Akiri, a data liquidity solution, and First Mile Care, a platform providing personalized support and resources to help reverse chronic diseases such as prediabetes.

Here, Dr. Stockert discusses how Health2047, with the AMA acting as something of a North Star, is continuing to pursue this goal of transforming the U.S. healthcare system to improve patient outcomes and the physician experience.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What is the mission of Health2047? How does it differ from a digital health incubator or accelerator?

Dr. Jack Stockert: We were founded by the American Medical Association and formally launched in 2016 with the intent to focus on bringing about innovation centered on the doctor and the patient. We collaborate with large existing stakeholders in healthcare: investors, academic institutions and entrepreneurs, and we start and found businesses that are collaborations, joint ventures or new starts.

We also align with the direction the AMA is moving but, as an independent, for-profit entity, we have the ability to focus on leveraging capital, alongside the right ideas, to create scale and solutions in order to transform how the relationship between healthcare providers and patients operates.

Essentially, we find the fundamental problems that affect the doctor and the patient, build the businesses that will solve them and then scale out. Since we're founding the businesses themselves and focused on solving the scale problem, we're more of a "catalyst" than an incubator or accelerator.

Q: What are the primary issues that Health2047 is trying to solve?

JS: On the care delivery side, from a clinician's point of view, the way that Health2047 is focused is on understanding how digital can scale and leverage technology within our care system to optimize interchanges that typically happen in face-to-face situations or never actually happen at all.

On the business side, 30 percent of what we spend on healthcare has nothing to do with what we actually want in healthcare, which are the improved outcomes. There's a host of different things that layer into why we spend 30 cents on the dollar on administrative needs, and we're really interested in finding businesses that can eliminate those things and help us spend the majority of the money we spend on healthcare on health and on care that produces the outcomes that we want.

To do that, we're focusing on root drivers: what we can do about, for example, why we process claims the way we do or why prior authorization works the way it does. We're looking at understanding fundamentally what those systems do, whether we can cut some of those things out and what we can be spending that money on instead. We're realizing these things don't have to be done that way, and creating the innovation and pushing for new ways to do those tasks, scale them out and achieve the better outcomes we're all looking for.

Q: How does your relationship with the AMA differentiate Health2047 from other digital health catalysts?

JS: The AMA has no other interests but the proper progression of our system, of our health, of our overall ability to deliver that health to a better place. They're not focused on the business itself: It's all about what I believe is the noblest of causes, which makes it easy to align with — it's why we wake up and do this work, why we team up with partners who want to do the work they're doing. It's allowed us to be centered on shared problems rather than on things that drive other businesses — growing the business, keeping shareholders happy. It solves this mission problem and offers something of a clean lens for looking at where to invest and who to partner with.

At Health2047, we are leveraging capital and ideas from the market to create scale, and partnering with the AMA, with its mission of furthering the art and science of medicine. It gives us a unique angle or niche with partners, and it has also been fascinating to witness this transformation of what seemed to me, having left clinical practice, as a frustrating system, and doing so in what is a really thoughtful and unique way.

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