The American healthcare industry has been debated on for quite some time now. The reasons being the government’s healthcare spending per person—$9,237—and the continued increase in spending year after year that have not translated to the superior quality of life for Americans. America has a life expectancy of less than 80. Japan’s modest healthcare spending per capita—less than $4 thousand—translating to a life expectancy of over 80 puts America’s problem in perspective.
Mike Townsend, a contributor to TechCrunch, argues that the difference between Japan and the U.S lies in the number of smart entrepreneurs cajoled to work in the respective healthcare sectors. Forward-thinking healthcare entrepreneurs join the Japanese healthcare industry in droves; however, the same cannot be said for America’s healthcare industry, which suffers from a shortage of entrepreneurs.
Townsend uses John Crowley’s case to demonstrate that majority of entrepreneurs in the American healthcare sector stumbled into the industry. Were it not for Pompe disease afflicting his two children, Crowley would not have left his job in management to find a cure for the neuromuscular disorder. Crowley’s biotech startup, Novazyme Pharmaceuticals, became successful in treating his children. Townsend, however, is convinced that it is worrying that innovations have to be as a result of frustration with the status quo. He believes that the American healthcare sector, valued at over $3 trillion in 2015, should be enticing to entrepreneurs to build billion dollar companies while tangibly improving the quality of life for Americans.
There is enough reason to believe that things are changing for the better. The first CTO of America, Aneesh Chopra, is among visionary leaders hell-bent on reversing worrying trends on the American healthcare industry. As CTO, Chopra spearheaded the launch of various initiatives to attract smart entrepreneurs into the industry. Some of the efforts include Startup America, Open Data Conference, Healthdata.gov, etc.
As a healthcare IT entrepreneur, Drew Madden belongs to the most rarefied group of entrepreneurs that made a conscious decision to be part of the industry. He has over ten years of experience in matters electronic medical records. Presently, he is among the managing partners at Evergreen Healthcare Partners.