Greeted by the Secret Service on day one of the StartUp Health Festival at this year’s JP Morgan Healthcare Week insinuated something unexpected and important was on the horizon. The event which spanned two days and convened entrepreneurs with potential partners once again did not miss the mark. Here, Oliver Wyman Health Editor Hayley Reta shares her experience from this year’s event.
“Health Moonshots,” the event’s theme, outlined StartUp Health’s mission to invest and transform the delivery of healthcare in ten key areas, such as access to care, women’s health, mental health, and cancer, among others. Each of the ten moonshots presented not only argued how our collective focus will transform healthcare but dug deeper into analyzing why the humanistic drive is so important in succeeding in this movement. It's not just health transformation; it's about a culture transformation. Below are highlights from the event.
- Surprise! It’s US Vice President, Joe Biden: Captivating everyone in the room, Vice President Joe Biden delivered a heartfelt and tearful speech surrounding his inspiration and mission to lead the Cancer Moonshot Initiative. Reflecting on his late son Beau’s journey with stage 4 glioblastoma, the Vice President expressed his frustrations with the inefficiencies of a siloed industry. “What I am trying to do with the Moonshot is not just bring a sense of urgency but bring a change in the culture in medicine,” said Biden. In his mind, we must challenge the system and break silos, yet he ended with the reminder that in healthcare, “You all don’t play well in the sandbox.”
- Vinod Khosla, Not Your Typical Investor: Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures, drew a large audience ready to take notes on his unusual investment philosophy. To start, Khosla admitted that he doesn’t know much about the healthcare industry but sees this as a significant advantage as an investor and entrepreneur. To back his claim, he pointed out that some of the biggest innovators of our time didn't come from inside their industry, “Wal-Mart didn’t innovate retail. Amazon did. NBC and CBS didn’t innovate media. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube did.” Khosla’s point reinforced the fact that in innovation sometimes you have to throw all you know out the door and start from scratch. It is determination and good will to do something new and great that will get the win.
- Greg Simon on Leading the White House Cancer Moonshot Taskforce: Cancer survivor and Executive Director of the Cancer Moonshot Task Force, Greg Simon, discussed the White House-led mission to eradicate cancer as we know it. He touched on each goal of the initiative including accelerating drug development and access, utilizing data, strengthening prevention and diagnosis, and improving overall access to quality care. While this is no easy feat, Simon continued by detailing the challenges of achieving this goal – all of which we’ve heard time and time again. He concluded with a plea for executives to be more open to change to drive progress, "CEOs will miss out [with innovation] with a 'no culture.'"