Two contrasting, critical theories in evolution are gradualism and punctuated equilibrium which relate to the ways that species evolve. Gradualism, as its name implies, is the theory that change occurs slowly, constantly and in almost imperceptible ways is attributed to Charles Darwin. In Punctuated Equilibrium, a theory proposed by Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge, changes come in massive spurts, often due to a catalyst that dramatically changes an environment.
Industries are no different. They can have consistent, gradual change on the margins; then there is a change or series of them that create disruption that will cause tectonic shifts in the competitive landscape over a relatively short period of time, such as a decade or two.
We believe that in healthcare in the US we’re in a period of Punctuated Equilibrium.
According to an article in PwC’s strategy + business, there’s a huge opportunity as the healthcare market evolves. Take note of two critical figures:
- $1.5 trillion of healthcare spending and $150 billion of estimated profits are up for grabs
- The top 30 percent of users of the healthcare system account for 75-80% of the total medical spending
These two signposts of the opportunity intersect with a third critical trend – the “Amazon Expectation” held by consumers. As consumers have enjoyed twenty years of interacting with “the most customer-centric company in the world," their expectations around convenience, cost and ease of interaction have increased greatly. This cheaper, faster and everywhere assumption will have dramatic impacts on healthcare delivery.
At ValorBridge, we have two portfolio companies in the sweet spot of this trend – ER Express and MyIdealDoctor.
- ER Express enables healthcare systems to meet the convenience expectations of local, high-value consumers by reducing the friction in patient acquisition
- MyIdealDoctor’s telemedicine/mobile health platform increases access and convenience for consumers while reducing their costs for patient care
However the system evolves, the changes will be massive.
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