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Dave Vreeland joined Jumpstart earlier this spring, and the team there has expressed their excitement at having him in the office. In short, he knows business, he knows entrepreneurship, he knows finance, and he knows healthcare.
Dave first talks us through his personal progression from biology major to healthcare consultant and successful founder. Then, the meat of the conversation about where the healthcare system is today and where it’s heading.
“Healthcare is not where most industries were at the time relative to technology.” Healthcare, the idea was, needs help figuring out the tech side. And so, Dave co-founded a tech-focused consulting practice (Cumberland Consulting Group) that works with healthcare and life science companies.
Which did very well, but brought up a great lesson: know your thing. Do your thing. Dave’s thing was small businesses, and he felt that Cumberland — then at around 400 people, had grown to a point where his services weren’t as valuable to the business. And so he moved on. We should all take note.
He also noted that the same drivers that prompted him to found Cumberland in 2004 are the same today, but “in a different mode.” Systems are automated, but healthcare is just now where most industries were twenty years ago and we’re on the verge of significant disruption. To have a say in that, within in a small business, he joined up with Jumpstart Foundry.
Where are we headed in the next decade? First, bankrupcy. The healthcare system is moving us towards, or really deeper in, insolvency. So change will happen if for no other reason that it has to. It’s also, he suggests, much harder to control than other unfunded liabilities like social security.
What are we going to do? Dave thinks the “circus” (don’t really need quotes around that, do we?) around the current political situation is just another indication that the solution will not come from the federal government.” Additionally, it probably won’t come from the “longstanding embedded interests in the current system.” Or payers, for that matter. And probably not hospitals.
Instead, “it is ripe for disruption by technology and new approaches to services. And that’s where we’re going to see shifts, so the $4 trillion we spend on healthcare will be substantially less.” It’ll be a “frustrated technologist” who sees a new way to put the pieces together. Like so many industries and tide changes in history, it’ll come from — literally or figuratively — a garage and a napkin sketch.
One more question then, where does Dave see his role? Simply, in getting those ideas and innovations that will disrupt the industry to market. And to do that, he joined Jumpstart where that’s the goal. He also mentioned the area where he’d start: primary care. If someone can come in and build the technology infrastructure, withstand the losses and put in the upfront costs (billions, he says), we could see an Amazon change the way healthcare is delivered. Amazon Prime for wellness visits, and drone delivery for prescriptions. The fact that those ideas seem obvious rather than futuristic show just how right Dave is in saying that technology in healthcare…has a ways to go. And that’s why it’s exciting that he and many others are spending their careers moving it forward.