We are very excited to be hosting our very first podcast with a special guest, Orbit advisor — Werner Boeing. From overcoming dyslexia at an early age to establishing himself as an industry leader, Werner has spent his career managing and implementing the use of information technologies. He has over 30 years of experience leading and transforming multinational organizations across an array of industries from automotive to healthcare. Currently, he is working on his own startup, evisory, where he is focused on helping and advising healthcare startup founders and industry leaders to pressure test and co-create their business strategies.
Join us as we ask Werner questions about the future of digital healthcare, how corporations and startups can better partner with one another, and more. Listen in as Werner offers advice to founders and deep dives into the role of data in healthcare. Listen below!
As we continue to emerge out of COVID-19, it has become evident that the current healthcare system faces many challenges. From the need for more support for our healthcare professionals (HCPs) to creating a more patient-centric experience, healthcare needs change. When asked “Where do you see the future of digital healthcare?” Werner very concisely said,
The future of healthcare is digital.
Population growth, shortage of healthcare staff, financial pressure, and healthcare systems worldwide are facing a sustainability crisis. Transformation is on the way to create a more patient-centric, outcome-oriented future, and digital health is a major driving force. But, there are challenges. This paradigm shift is easily envisioned but difficult to implement.
Our podcast unpacks these challenges, explores the role of startups and corporations play in advancing digital healthcare while offering some friendly advice to startup founders. Below are highlights from our conversation with Werner.
Andy: Where do you see the future of digital healthcare?
Werner: …The future of healthcare is going to be driven heavily by digital innovation. It’s easy to describe: outcome-oriented, patient-centric, all the known paradigm shifts that we all think about. Easily said but difficult to implement. If you look at the challenge that we have in the healthcare system at large: population growth, shortage of healthcare staff, financial challenges… it’s really difficult and we need to significantly rethink how we do things.
First, we need to support [our] healthcare workers, the nurses, the caregivers in the best way possible. We need to create an environment for them, that they’ll love. Only then can we bring quality care to the people that are in need so that people actually do what’s good for them and more often. I think that’s so important.
Then we need to objectify what healthcare outcome[s] actually [are] in a scalable way because we need to think about resource allocation in healthcare. We need to incentivize the right things for the right reasons. We’re not doing [this] at the moment. I’m really frustrated to see how in general the healthcare system looks at prevention. There’s a real misallocation of resources, because we don’t have a meaningful, common understanding of how we measure outcomes.
So here again, digital innovation will be a key component in allowing us to think differently about outcome measurement, interconnecting actions, and interventions. This will hopefully allow for broader systemic changes in healthcare, not by tools and individual solutions, but by changing the entire components of the healthcare system.
Andy: Given your experience with multinational corporations and now with startups, what is your view on corporate-startup partnerships?
Werner: I think that internal venture capital arms of big life science corporations are a kind of informed VC and can add a lot of value.
If you think of startup accelerators as an avenue for large corporations to invest into startup partnerships, I see great examples of a win-win constellation. There are fantastic examples between digital healthcare startups and established life science companies, typically when they’re complimenting each other or when the culture of leadership really fits.
But then, they’re also partnerships that don’t work. I want to quote one of the startup CEOs I’m worked with. He said, “it’s easier for us to acquire a 2 billion company than to agree on a data-sharing pilot with a startup”. I think the back office functions in large enterprises (i.e. finance, procurement, and security, etc.) sometimes don’t really know how to evaluate or work with startups. As a result, they use the same mechanics and criteria as they do with established companies and that’s not really helping.
Other examples where I think good intentions are not enough is with innovation programs, where established companies invite startups on a panel and give them visibility. Many of those programs are huge, intense, and can change the internal culture towards innovation, but they don’t have a clear pathway into investment or to a meaningful partnership with the startup. So a lot of good intentions, but the perspectives and needs between established companies and startups may be different.
I would also say there is room for improvement on the startup side. Many startups sometimes act like they’re the hammer — technology-focused and every problem has to fit their scope. They’re sometimes not in love with the real problem enough, the patient problem. They’re looking to, at least from a technology angle, force-fit technology to some healthcare problem.
The next piece of advice is for startup leaders, and it needs to be taken in the right doses, is to be stubborn at times. Sometimes a lot of good advice has good intentions but it could be dilutive to your core idea. It’s okay if you sometimes have to carry on and be stubborn at times because you’re the only judge on the journey and that’s meaningful.
Andy: What is your view on leadership and what advice would you give for startup founders?
Werner: So most startup founders I find have sleeping disorders. So my advice would be, have a life beyond your startup. Your startup might fail. I hope not. But your life shouldn’t fail. Have people around you that you respect for more than their capabilities and skills.
I think that you need your own space. Create “me-space”. Sometimes, startup founders are very much focused on all the different stakeholders that they have to support, but forget that their own well-being is important, that the time that they have for creativity, that made them become an entrepreneur in the first place, is important. I think it’s necessary for you to deliver on your vision [but to also] reserve some “me-time” because as I said, your startup might not deliver fully on your expectation, but your life should. That’s my advice on leadership, I would say, like you often hear on the airplane, put your mask on first before you help others.