Augmenting Healthcare With IT: A conversation with Krishna Yeshwant, General Partner, Google Ventures
Date: Wednesday , May 20, 2015
What are the trends that shape the industry?
There are a handful of areas we have been interested in over the past few years. Areas like genetics and healthcare delivery are shifting towards making processes more fluid and accessible to patients. Although there is a huge amount of activity in these areas, many questions are still left unanswered. Sequencing the genome in clinical medicine has captured the interest of oncologists and other medical researchers. This research has given us the means to use information previously locked in the human genome.
We also spend a lot of time studying the US healthcare system and the changes in the way patients get medical attention and insurance companies reimburse medical professionals.
What are the bottlenecks in the innovation process?
Healthcare systems are already being streamlined using IT-based solutions today, and it appears that the two fields will go hand-in-hand for a long time. With healthcare generating a large amount of information and IT being necessary to organize and leverage this information, it is only natural that the two fields connected. For example, genetic sequencing is an information heavy task and with its help, one can identify how successful different therapies might be.
We also have an interest in wearable technology and apps, and we\'re exploring ideas in the sector that are being developed.
The care-delivery side is another growing area for investments. With the number of patients increasing at a faster rate than the number of physicians, we feel that patient care will become more virtual in the future. However, these are nascent areas and in some cases will take months or years to become fully developed.
Can you discuss what\'s happening with analytics and the healthcare sector?
Analytics, big data, and machine learning are areas that are becoming more relevant in the industry today. But the key question is how to incorporate all of that into a scalable business model. This is an area that holds a lot of promise. Take the example of our investment in Flatiron Health, a data oncology company based company in New York. The company consolidates large amounts of oncology data from various medical offices and hospital systems and uses that information to help pharmaceutical companies come up with new discoveries. This is an area where we see a lot of the right pieces come together from IT and healthcare to improve both fields.
What are your views on startups and innovation?
The main challenge an entrepreneur can face is making the right connection between IT and healthcare. The trick is to find a problem that is relevant, then designing a cost-effective solution around the problem and ensuring that it is scalable and intuitive. Many budding entrepreneurs are working on solutions that bridge IT and healthcare today. These entrepreneurs bring a unique and diverse skill-set necessary to build something new and impactful. I really respect that.