Mayfield, an early-stage investor in HealthIT and genomics hosted a special dinner at this year’s Health Evolution Summit around predictions and insights for the future of healthcare. We co-hosted with our friends from Oliver Wyman and Fenwick West. We believe we’re at a particularly interesting point in healthcare innovation with the development of technologies such as CRISPR and the application of AI to healthcare problems. We are witnessing some of the most amazing advancements in technology and genomics that will dramatically impact the overall healthcare industry. We’ve been at this a long time, with 500 more investments over 50 years of investing. Some of our investments include 3Com, Amgen, Concur, Genentech, Intuitive Surgical, Lyft, Poshmark, SolarCity, plus some more recent HealthIT investments include Mission Bio, Qventus, Nebula Genomics, Zipongo, Mammoth Biosciences, HealthTap, and many others.
During the dinner the guests, CXOs from major providers, payers and entrepreneurs debated the most important healthcare industry predictions for 2019, based on Oliver Wyman’s yearly report. Here are the top picks:
- Big tech will make a big play. After years of rumbling, and partnership announcements that seem more like public relations than product, this will be the year a household name like Apple, Google, or Amazon lays its claim in healthcare. This year, we’ll see an innovative, breakthrough product come onto the market, shaking up the status quo.
- Cost takeout will be the “no regrets” move. Conventional wisdom says a recession is no more than a few years away. Organizations that survive the next downturn will be robust enough to lose a point or two of margin in the down years and still pursue their strategies. Smart healthcare players are already cutting costs in the face of reimbursement pressure, and we’ll see more of this in 2019.
- The pharmacy benefit manager shakeout will begin in earnest. Consumers are more exposed to pharmaceutical prices than other healthcare costs, employers are concerned with skyrocketing specialty drug costs, Cigna is buying Express Scripts, and CMS has its eye on drug rebates. In this environment, how will pharmacy benefit managers demonstrate their value? We’ll either see their role redefined as they reintegrate with health insurers and develop new value propositions, or the beginning of the end of the middle man.
- The “new front door” will mean more than convenient primary care. With Optum now the largest US physician employer, CVS now a health insurer, and Humana a major home health investor, we’ll see the “new front door” care offerings from retail clinics to telemedicine to home care scale in earnest. But these won’t just be about consumer convenience. Instead, payers will use them up to build attachment to consumers, help them manage their care, and direct them as needed to low-cost providers. Network design starts being replaced by referral management – with payers playing a new game, and providers no longer counting on patient volume simply because they’re “in network.”