The Rise of the Technomedia-Industrial Complex

In an effort to be the first to market and take advantage of a narrow window of opportunity, digital health startups are leaving a lot of broken glass on the examining room floors.

A recent post claims the fall of Theranos is the result an out of control technomedia-investor-industrial complex and predicts we’re poised to see more such takedowns in the future. The digital health industry should pay attention. As more and more apps and products with less and less clinical utility fill the App Store, a lot of people, most importantly patients, will be shedding tears.

What’s the problem? Here are some of the issues plaguing the digital health industry:

1. Lack of requirements to demonstrate safety and effectiveness.

2. Using a non-sick-care business model to change sick-care when the rules and regulations won't allow it.

3. Failure to create a digital health human subjects clinical trial infrastructure.

4. The need to generate traffic on internet sites and boost the valuation of startups by scaling as quickly as possible.

5. A disconnect between startups and those that practice the art of medicine instead of the business of medicine.

6. A money grab from payers hungry to cut their costs.

7. Desperate patients who feel doctors and other members of the sick-care ecosystem have failed them and left them paying higher and higher out-of-pocket costs.

8. Bending the rules or doing an end around and too many people asking for forgiveness instead of permission.

9. Failure to reconcile the ethics of business with the ethics of medicine.

10. Mass psychology, too much belief in digital techno-hype without the necessary evidence to justify it, and believing that the crowd is always smarter than anyone in the room.

The technomedia-industrial complex needs to take a deep breath. It is reasonable to try to overcome the long adoption and penetration of medical technologies by removing obstacles. However, some things can't be rushed.

In an effort to be the first to market and take advantage of a narrow window of opportunity, they are leaving a lot of broken glass on the examining room floors.