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HL20: Rebecca Lynn—Investing in Innovation, from the Outside

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, December 13, 2011

Patients have proven they are capable of tending to their own health issues: Diabetics manage to measure their insulin levels and women take pregnancy tests at home all the time.

"Pregnancy tests used to only be administered in the doctor's office. And there was a huge uproar by doctors when they wanted to do over-the-counter pregnancy tests because they didn't think women could handle it on their own."

That trend of passing to patients some of the responsibility for their own care will continue—from ordering lab tests without a permission slip from the doctor to at-home medical devices and technologies such as blood pressure cuffs, glucose meters, and smart scales.
"Why do you need to go through the whole doctor system?" she says.

Although some docs might bristle at the thought of being seen as middle-men to be avoided, Lynn says a more patient-driven healthcare system will ultimately make their lives easier. "The benefit to doctors is that they can practice medicine. Right now there are so many arcane things that happen that they can get closer to the patient, they can practice medicine, and they can do it based on data and results. And that's incredibly powerful."

So why should it fall to outsiders to reinvent healthcare? Because they "don't know where the walls are," she says. They have a clearer vision of what works in other industries and tend to be more consumer-focused than providers, she adds.

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