Ten years ago, raising money for healthcare ventures was difficult. “The ROI is too hard to determine,” said some. “There isn’t the data to support new practices,” said others. And Larry Page of Google famously noted in 2014 that, “[Healthcare is] just a painful business to be in. It’s just not necessarily how I want to spend my time.”
Well, times have changed.
The industry is awash in daily funding announcements (here, here, here, here, etc.), new mergers and acquisitions, new technologies and capabilities, and the latest du jour AI-powered chatbot thingamabob that will “disrupt” the healthcare industry. More money is invested in one week than had been seen all year. This just seems and feels like the latest Gartner “Hype Cycle” that we have all read about, and I am old enough to remember the last one (circa 2001). One of its key components is the initial steep slope at the beginning of the launch of a new technology, where expectations (both functional and financial) are sky high, until these fail to meet expectations and the hype plummets to earth, maybe followed by more measured analysis and a slow adoption over time.
I think the hype cycle may be an apt framework for understanding what is happening in the Digital Health space now (of interest, most people don’t even know how to define “Digital Health” anymore, and I have commonly seen terms tossed around like Primary Care 2.0, “applied signals,” and other consumer-facing concepts that seem to imply some type of connectivity with the consumer).. We’re still on that crazy, upward slope across almost the entire primary care spectrum, but the promise and sheen of so many point solutions and digital apps will fall short and fade into the coming Great Consolidation. And, this will come with a lot of explaining to do for the unexplainable lofty valuations we are seeing in the market today.
So, as we chart our course for the future, how does Crossover plan to navigate through?
It all reminds me of a time long ago when I was running an EHR company. We would be in the huge annual HIMSS conference with literally thousands of other vendors with our little 6×6 foot booth. I felt like a kid trying to show off his science project in the middle of Las Vegas. But, somehow, some way, we always found the clients who were interested in our unique solution. We were able to demonstrate value. We were able to let our unique attributes, our differentiated approach, and our core vision shine through. And, somehow, some way, we found a way to win.
We will continue to do the same at Crossover now. We win by playing the long game—what appears to be an unsustainable, unscalable, unwinnable strategy of deploying humans (enabled by technology) to build authentic relationships with our members. We win by being smarter, and by outworking—and outperforming—our competition. We win by clearly differentiating on our unique value proposition (team-based, relationship-driven, integrated, coordinated, and comprehensive care delivered in-person, online, and anytime through our proactive care model) that is accountable for achieving specific outcomes (cost, quality, and experience) for both the members and the clients we serve (employers, payers, members). We win by staying humble, by truly listening, and by constantly learning, improvising, adapting, and overcoming. And finally, we win with a unique culture of care that we carefully cultivate every day to ensure that each of us can have the greatest impact. To me, this last point is the most critical. Our culture is a differentiator that is incredibly hard to automate and impossible to replicate—a team of people from all walks of life, all nationalities, educations, orientations, and backgrounds, who agree to align around a vision of “how healthcare should be”:
- Crossover makes remarkable health possible by bringing people, their providers, data, and benefits together under one connected system of health.
- Focused on people, not payments. Centered on health, not illness. Diverse care teams, working as one. Technology to unlock access for the many, not the few.
- We believe fewer barriers lead to better health and better lives. We switch on a boundless vision of health.
- Fixing healthcare is the challenge of our time. It’s not enough to disrupt. We do the hard work of rebuilding.
An excoriating article I read this past week reminded me of how cheap digital health solutions can appear to be and how rich and rewarding the real relationships we foster really are. I love that at Crossover we do the “hard work” of healthcare. We walk with our members during difficult moments, we are there when they need us, and we celebrate with them when they achieve health goals. We have spent the time to build trusted relationships that are highly valuable and completely irreplaceable. Our members crave those real relationships, with actual people who authentically care. We literally “touch” our members’ lives. There is NOT an app for that.
And, that is why we win.