Future-proofing the US healthcare system is only possible by recognizing that many chronic diseases can be prevented, but it is a complex challenge. The strong correlation between chronic disease outcomes and mental disorders underscores the disconnect from working to improve chronic disease outcomes without addressing mental health. Innovation also requires correcting health inequalities in areas of inequality in quality, access to and affordability of preventive medicines. The connecting fabric to all of this is a holistic view of body, mind and spirit as a path to health, well-being and longevity.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that costs associated with caring for people with chronic illness and mental illness account for 90% of the $3.8 trillion the country spends on healthcare. For this reason, investors are increasingly looking to wellness companies that promote harmony or life balance to advance health and wellness. Applying this approach connects the masses to healthcare professionals and services in a frictionless and economical way through enhanced user experiences driven by things like home health, telemedicine and digital health solutions that reduce costs and reduce user time constraints through systematic healthcare inefficiencies .
In particular, investors will increasingly look to companies that are breaking down old models and creating a foundation of well-being through innovations that mitigate and/or prevent increased medical and social costs of ill health, through affordable solutions that offer flexible, easy access and tailored services promote that help improve outcomes.
Advances in science, medicine, and technology have created tremendous opportunities to treat and cure chronic diseases, but the wisdom that “prevention is better than cure” is often lost in the process. With its focus on treatments and cures, the confusing, for-profit, one-size-fits-all model of health care, particularly in the United States, misses the basic well-being benefits of early attention to disease prevention. Additionally, over the past two years, the sudden shift to working from home, social distancing and isolation has led to a deterioration in health and well-being through a worrying mix of perceived positives in the form of flexibility and more free time and alarming negative effects in the form of burnout , depression and reduced physical activity. This new normal makes it even more difficult to maintain good health, and the companies that are addressing this situation may become even more valuable.
Creative health innovation is key to delivering health to all
The World Health Organization Council on the Economics of Health for All published its manifesto last September ahead of the G20 summit in Rome in October 2021. The establishment of the Council and the goals set for the G20 summit signal a fundamental shift in policy making and an associated reorientation of sectors and funding to prioritize public health. This paradigm shift in health security puts the well-being of people and the common good at the forefront of economic policy design. Creative health innovations will be an important part of the ecosystem.
We actively seek investment propositions that encompass choices positioned at the intersection of healthy living, healthy lifestyles and efficient delivery of healthcare services. These are companies that improve financial, social and corporate well-being. Companies exemplifying the potential of these wellness investing philosophies include HelloBetter, Iris Telehealth and Talkiatry, a group of companies pioneering technology-enabled, bespoke mental health. Another group of companies in this space are Cara Care, FoodMarble and Ombre, which lead the home gut biome testing space. Finally, you have JOON, Limeade and Headspace for Work advancing in areas of personalized corporate wellbeing (Talkiatry and Ombre are portfolio companies of Relevance Ventures).
Talkiatry eliminates two major pain points for patients – wait times and affordability – with online providers that accept large insurance plans. Ombre self-tests offer affordable, easy-to-use kits that remove the key barriers to gaining useful health insights: access to gut biome testing, cost of testing, and lack of information and actionable suggestions. And JOON helps companies to create healthy and productive work environments – from health to lifestyle – for their employees.
Balance – an ancient concept to balance modern life
Home-based disease prevention and health management has the potential to drastically reduce costs for insurers, Medicare and the consumer. Scientific evidence suggests that a healthy diet, physical activity and not smoking may prevent and control chronic diseases. Recognition of the symbiotic relationship between chronic disease and mental wellbeing underscores the need for common sense solutions that embrace a holistic, more balanced approach that has been proven in nature for hundreds of thousands of years; Solutions that can deliver better outcomes for the whole patient and lower total cost of care for users, organizations and the entire healthcare system.
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