Friday, July 6, 2012

Why Boston Is Poised to Be the Hub of Patient-Centered Healthcare

A cross section of 50 members of the Who’s Who of Boston-area healthcare gathered on June 25 at our invitation for a spirited discussion around a rallying call to “Make Boston the Nexus of Patient-Centered Healthcare.” The evening provided an exciting perspective on how many patients are managing their health outside of the formal healthcare system.

Cosponsored by North Bridge Growth Partners and organized by Future Forward, the event’s centerpiece was the panel moderated by Scott Kirsner, Innovation Economist at The Boston Globe. This roundtable discussion among trend setting entrepreneurs and leading policy makers in self-directed health and wellness included:
  • David Dickinson from Zeo, an online sleep-management company
  • Jason Jacobs of FitnessKeeper, which is focused on tracking, measuring, and improving fitness
  • Joseph Kvedar from the Center for Connected Healthcare, which does research in technology-enabled healthcare delivery  
  • Frank Moss of the MIT Media Lab, specializing in new-media medicine
  • David Rose from Vitality, that makes devices to improve medication adherence
  • Sonny Vu of AgaMatrix, the company that made the first iPhone-based blood glucose monitor

The lively conversation focused on the opportunity to make Boston the hub of patient-centered healthcare, just as Silicon Valley is the nexus of technology-based innovation. The group identified some important advantages that the Boston area has in supporting this trend:
  • A strong digital-technology community, including entrepreneurs and developers
  • World-class medical expertise and data capabilities, such as researchers, practitioners, and Big Data from research and clinical trials
  • An active venture-finance presence with a strong track record in funding therapeutic, device, and diagnostic companies

We were indebted to the audience for their dynamic participation in helping make the exchange a success. We were also fortunate to have representatives of many of the major players in patient-centric health present, including:

The group’s collective findings are best expressed in the image above. It shows the Boston-area healthcare ecosystem that has developed over the last several years. Scribed courtesy of CollectiveNext.

This conversation is far from over. We will continue it in upcoming posts, where we’ll focus on the substance and implications of patient-centered health, including:
  • What’s Goin’ On?: Who is managing their own health?
  • Rage Against the Machine: Giving consumers healthcare control and independence
  • Love the One You’re With: Opportunities for providers, payers, and pharma

Check back with us periodically and, in the meantime, thanks for letting us share.


  1. This sounds like it was a great event. The current healthcare system is so inefficient and inaccessible that many patients don't receive the care they need; so, it's heartening to hear about efforts toward more patient-centered care. My company, WhiteGlove Health, also provides patient-centered care outside the fee-for-service model. We have several service areas, including Boston, and we deliver high-quality primary, chronic and preventative care right to a patient's home or work at a low, capped cost.

    1. Thank Kat. Patient-centered Healthcare has lots of dimensions, and one of them is direct-to-consumer to provide consumers the information, tools and services they need to manage their own health and wellness. However, there is also a lot of energy and investment within the health delivery system, as well as from payers and pharma, to give consumers better access and control. Hopefully, the combination will allow many US consumers to achieve better outcomes by tailoring health delivery to their individual needs.