Tufts University recently hosted its first 3 Day Startup during the weekend of April 12th. This program was unique in a couple of ways as it focused on innovation in the healthcare industry. Additionally, a large percentage of participants were preparing for careers in the healthcare industry, not only as physicians, but as a range of other roles in the industry.
A wide variety of startups came out of the weekend – ones that addressed primary care delivery, logistics behind such delivery, and optimization of the allocation of healthcare resources. Startups pitched during the program ranged from a device for diagnosing ocular diseases with a smartphone to travel aggregation services for medical tourism. It was exciting to see the numerous proposed healthcare innovations that are not always presented at usual 3DS weekends.
One thing that was particularly impressive was the recognition of market pain and inefficiencies that the participants attempted to address. Many of the participants came into the weekend with a strong recognition of areas they would like to improve. The innovation opportunities presented often came from their first-hand experiences. Healthcare has many complexities that are difficult to understand without direct experience. Still, the participants overcame those challenges and found valid, addressable areas for improvement.
Healthcare comprises almost 18% of the overall economy in the U.S., and it represents about $2.6 trillion in annual spending. This is too large of a segment to ignore as a target for disruptive innovation. Additionally, with recent legislation, millions more will be receiving medical care, thus further straining resources. There is a definite and growing need for innovation to help healthcare accommodate these changes. Hopefully, more healthcare-themed 3DS programs will take place in the future, helping to bring about some of this much-needed innovation.
Contributed by Andy Zimbroff, 3DS Facilitator