Podcast: Can Healthcare Disrupt Itself?

Jack Murtha
AUGUST 17, 2018

Image courtesy of Ruben de Rijcke, Wikimedia Commons.

In healthcare and tech circles, everyone is talking about that uncomfortable, encouraging word: disruption. Will this foundation-shaking phenomenon emanate from Google, Amazon or Apple and forever change healthcare? Or will it come from some startup whose founders are tinkering in the garage at this very moment? Perhaps disruption will never grip healthcare at all.

But health tech rarely discusses another option: that disruption will come from within healthcare.

>> READ: The American Medical Association’s Silicon Valley Experiment

On this episode of Data Book, we examine this intriguing possibility. How? First, we bring you the story of IBM. Not its entire history, of course, but rather a window into an inflection point for the company, the computing industry and the world itself.

When IBM introduced its personal computer, the 5150, in August 1981, roughly 40,000 orders flooded retailers. Although other personal computers had already hit the market, IBM’s model struck the public and computer manufacturing in a tangible, fiery way. All of a sudden, companies like Compaq and countless others were making clones. Computers began creeping into homes and businesses. How we used and viewed the tech had changed.

In several ways, IBM had disrupted its traditional mainframe computing business and the rest of the industry. Disruption had come from within.

Similar efforts are brewing in healthcare right now. To learn more about one, we welcome Charles Aunger, a managing director for Health2047, to Data Book. His organization is all about innovation and incubation, with a war chest of capital.

But what makes this Silicon Valley engine unique? It’s linked to the American Medical Association — as establishment as it gets in healthcare.

If Health2047 succeeds in transforming the industry, it would be a clear case of disruption from within. But whether it will upset healthcare remains in question.

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