Fellowships as a Vehicle to Spur Innovation

Madhura Bhat is a Co-Founder of Health for America (twitter: @health4america)

According to the CDC, 133 million Americans are affected by chronic disease, accounting for more than 70% of all deaths. Reports by The Trust for America’s Health and the Commonwealth Commission suggest community-based programs targeting chronic disease could reduce disease burden and save $306 billion over 10 years. Technological advances such as mobile technologies make this feasible, yet health expenditures and innovation in the US remain focused on hospital-based care resulting in high costs and poor outcomes.

The challenges to health innovation are numerous. The health field is deeply technical requiring many years of training to master clinical knowledge. The field is highly regulated from drug and device development to data protection. There is tremendous aversion to risk given concerns for patient safety. There is an inherently conservative culture with an emphasis on incremental innovation. Payers and users are often different with disparate demands. The misaligned incentives result in greater emphasis on hospital-based innovation. More