When we think about improving our health, we often focus on moonshot ideas like curing cancer. But—as vitally important as that is—the bigger picture is shocking: curing all cancer would increase Americans’ lifespan by just three years, still leaving us lagging behind other developed nations.

Most poor health outcomes are from diseases we already know how to prevent or cure. We just can’t manage to improve overall health because (1) the healthcare system is exceedingly hard to navigate, making it difficult to proactively monitor one’s health and get care, even for those who are highly motivated, and (2) most people struggle to make optimal behavioral choices in terms of diet, exercise, and sleep.

These are both issues of consumer experience, not science or medicine. Behavior change might sound like a cultural issue—but the best consumer companies change the behavior of millions, if not billions, of people.

The most impactful way to fix healthcare is through improving the consumer experience, which has been largely ignored to date. In today’s modern world where you can order groceries, buy flight tickets, and wire money from your phone, taking care of yourself and navigating the healthcare system remains impossibly hard.

If you fix consumer’s healthcare experience, you can make it easier and more enjoyable for people to monitor their health (nearly 30% of Americans don’t see a primary care provider), to take their medication (50% of Americans don’t take their prescribed medications), and to make healthier lifestyle choices (88% of Americans are metabolically unhealthy).

While these changes sound simple—and would add many years to Americans’ lives—no healthcare company has been able to help us make these changes.

The opportunity is immense: we need companies to reinvent consumer health. We define consumer health broadly—referring not just to companies that prescribe medications (e.g. Ro) or provide telemedicine (e.g. Teladoc) direct-to-consumer on the internet. A consumer health company need not be direct-to-consumer, cash pay, or even a provider of services. It simply must offer engaging, proactive consumer experiences that traditional healthcare has failed to provide.

Any company who can do these things will improve our health, reduce healthcare costs, and wield a whole lot of power. The terrible user experience that exists today in healthcare is a problem, but it’s also a huge opportunity.

The role of outsiders

So who is going to improve healthcare for consumers?

Our bet is that it will be outsiders to healthcare. While healthcare insiders are well poised to build enterprise healthcare businesses due to the inside-baseball of the system, we believe consumer health is going to be fixed by outsiders.

History teaches us that major step changes in consumer experiences—across industries—are generally driven by outsiders who fundamentally reimagine how things could work. Consider the following examples:

  • Retail: It was Amazon—not a traditional retailer like Walmart—that enabled anyone to have anything they could possibly dream of shipped to their home.
  • Transportation: It was Uber and Lyft—not a taxi or limo service—that gave us instantaneous access to rides.
  • Telecomm: It was Spotify—not Universal or Sony—that gave us unlimited access to music for a low price.
  • Payments: It was PayPal—not a traditional bank—that revolutionized online payments and digital wallets.

Furthermore, there are not many healthcare insiders who have the consumer chops necessary to build magical healthcare experiences. Healthcare incumbents have not prioritized the consumer experience because they view payors—not consumers—as their end customers, and as result the industry hasn’t bred consumer talent. Conversely, outsiders—particularly from tech—have obsessed over consumer experience, and to great success. People that were trained at Apple, Meta, Google, Amazon, Tiktok, Spotify—the list goes on—have spent their careers building experiences so compelling that they’ve fundamentally changed consumer behavior. This isn’t to say that only outsiders can build transformational healthcare companies; in fact, we’re most excited by companies that blend an outsider’s perspective with an insider’s knowledge of the healthcare industry.


In the examples from other industries, outsider founders were willing to play outside of the rules of the incumbent system, eventually threatening to replace the system itself. But radically changing consumer experience in healthcare entails towing a slightly finer line: almost every healthcare startup needs to “play nice” with the incumbent system to some degree. Even disruptors aiming to overhaul the healthcare system must engage with existing systems and often intractable industry incumbents as they build and deploy their own solutions. Alternatively, outsiders could permanently integrate with traditional systems, providing consumer engagement services that incumbents struggle with: a number of successful startups offer patient-engagement-as-a-service to insurers and hospitals, driving improved outcomes and cost savings through effective consumer engagement.

Now is the time

In the last year, we’ve sensed a change. Inspired by a new wave of longevity, concierge medicine, and diagnostic companies, consumers are taking their health into their own hands, flocking to get extensive preventative testing—from comprehensive blood tests and full-body MRIs to cancer screenings and genetic panels—to fully understand what is happening in their bodies. Many of these companies are founded by outsiders and operating outside the bounds of traditional health insurance and health systems.

Incumbent, old-school healthcare generally opposes this health empowerment movement, believing it could cause unnecessary health scares and drive up healthcare spend. But these regular tests could save your life, if you can access them with appropriate context and without breaking the bank. New blood tests can catch early stage cancer and full body MRIs can spot malignant tumors. While we understand some of the incumbents’ concerns, it’s hard to believe that the side of more data and transparency will not win. Concierge medicine shouldn’t be condemned; it should be democratized. Outsiders will likely drive this democratization.

The biggest step changes in human health lie not just in curing every disease, but in revolutionizing the consumer experience. We can markedly improve our health by simplifying health monitoring, ensuring medication adherence, and promoting healthier lifestyles—all areas where traditional healthcare companies have struggled. Tech and consumer-focused disruptors, whose expertise is in user engagement and behavioral change, are well-positioned to reimagine and democratize care, leading to better health outcomes, lower costs, and an empowered population. The challenge is immense, but so is the opportunity.

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