JP Morgan Healthcare Conference Perspective: It’s all about the consumer

February 12, 2015

By Scott Hoch, principal, Frontier Capital

The age of a consumer-driven healthcare system is upon us. Just ask the leading system providers, carriers and consulting firms who attended last month’s JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. This rapid transformation to a system where the consumer is driving health care decisions is forcing all stakeholders to adopt new strategies and implement solutions to enable survival in this new age.

As growth equity investors in the healthcare technology space, Frontier Capital is always keen to attend this annual conference, which provides a unique opportunity to meet with industry thought leaders and connect our portfolio companies with potential business partners. Our discussions with leading system providers, carriers and consulting firms solidified our belief that healthcare is becoming consumer driven.

Our discussions with large payers suggest they are acutely aware that they must adopt consumer-focused strategies to compete in this new world. They are seeking technology and solutions to help them execute a consumer/retail strategy, yet the challenge is made all the more difficult as a long-term relationship gap exists between members and health plans. However, Frontier’s portfolio company Healthx, which provides digital engagement technology to help payers engage their members, is having a significantly positive impact on driving member engagement and retention. Frontier is actively seeking companies that look to solve payers’ “consumer conundrum” with innovative technology and services.

The consumer is also top-of-mind for leading consulting firms as they look to help their customers with spiraling health care costs. Consultants have a high degree of interest in providing value to their customers with tools that enable healthcare cost savings. This has given rise to a number of companies that help employers put programs in place to get employees to take a more active role in their health and well being. One of the more successful stories in this industry is Viverae, a company within our portfolio. Viverae, a consumer-focused technology company for many years, has played an instrumental role in helping its consultant partners and customers engage employees with programs to maintain a healthy lifestyle to reduce health care spend. Frontier continues to be interested in partnering with and providing growth capital to companies that provide technology and tech-enabled solutions to healthcare consultants, brokers and employers.

While the JP Morgan conference confirmed our belief that we’re in the age of the healthcare consumer, we are still in the early days of this new age. During this stage, payers, providers and employers are increasingly asking themselves how to engage the consumer and enable them with technology and solutions to make better healthcare decisions. As companies develop solutions to answer these questions, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss how growth capital can help accelerate their visions.