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Investing in Innovation for More Affordable, Accessible Health Care

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Published on Nov 16, 2011

Speaker: Margaret Laws, Director of Innovations for the Underserved program, CHCF

Abstract:
Health care in America has increasingly priced itself out of the reach of customers. Employers and individuals have long complained about the system's lack of affordability. And the payer of last resort-government-is now facing the same reality.

Indeed, the current debate over how to manage the country's deficit has produced a striking milestone in American politics: Both sides of the aisle now agree on the need to dramatically rein in government health spending. The argument today is not about whether to cut costs, but about how.

Many schools of thought cast innovation as the principal problem in health care. They assert that the quest for the latest new gizmos, without regard to value, has brought the nation to this point. While there is no question that high-cost, low-value products and services have been created in the name of innovation, we believe that bold new clinical and business models, often aided by technical breakthroughs, are instead a vital part of the answer.

Our experiences in the field have led us to create the CHCF Health Innovation Fund. This three-year, $10 million effort is dedicated to identifying and investing in both nonprofit and for-profit companies developing technologies and services that have the potential to create a dramatic impact on the cost and accessibility of care. As we developed the fund, we paid close attention to the creative approaches of other health-care foundations in this area. While most impact investing in health care to date has been from foundations working internationally, we see a growing interest among social investors and entrepreneurs in tackling health-care costs and inequities inside the United States.

Sponsor: CITRIS (Ctr for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society), UC Berkeley (Headquarters), Research Exchange seminar

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