Disruptive Tech: 3D Printing in Health Care

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, involves printing layers of material into a 3 dimensional object, and it’s been disrupting the manufacturing industry.  How big is this?  The Economist has called it the 3rd Industrial Revolution.  And in the next decade, it looks like it could disrupt just about every industry in health care.

According to Boston’s Lux Research, 3D printing was a $777 million industry in 2012, with 95% going into automotive and aerospace.  And by 2025, they expect the market to grow to $8.4 billion, with the medical market growing from $11 million in 2012 to $1.9 billion in 2025.

3D Printing in Health Care is not new to some in the drug world where it has early applications.  What’s new is that in the next few years, there are a lot of other applications that will reach prime time.

Here is a sampling of how it’s already being applied in health care:

Bioprinting Human Tissue and Organs

Bioprinting involves laying down layers of cells to create tissue.  Examples:

  • Printing skin to help wounds heal faster
  • Knee cartilage, heart valves, bone implants
  • Testing Tissue in drug development.  This is happening today, and it’s allowing testing on 3D tissue rather than 2D cell cultures.  Organovo, a San Diego company in the regenerative medicine space is the first company to launch a 3D bioprinter, and is printing to order functional human tissue for research and therapies, including blood vessels, lung tissue, and recreated tumors.


What about functional organs for transplants?  We’re still 10 years out.

But there are significant challenges.  3D printing materials are still costlier than their analog counterparts, but prices will drop.  That will make reimbursement challenging.  And 3D products in general have shown that they’re as good as traditional products, but not superior.

We’re just at the start of something big.  From Lux Research:

“In the longer term, 3D printing has the potential to reshape the manufacturing ecosystem, but it will have the most impact in the near term for products that are made in small volumes, require high customization, and are more cost-tolerant. To survive the hype and subsequent fall-out, winners will identify and serve new applications early and often through nimble materials, application development and business models.”

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1100 0 Uncategorized Jun 6, 2013

Mary Meeker’s 2013 Internet Trends Report at D11 and Implications for Health Care

Thinking about starting a new health care company?  You’re running one now, and don’t want to be building yesterday’s tech?  Then Mary Meeker’s 2013 Internet Trends presented at All Things Digital Conference is a must read.  Here’s how you figure out where the technology puck is going to be.  Yes, the next big computing shift is just underway.  Check out the presentation below, here are a few thoughts first:

Mobile is still on the way up

It’s old news that smartphone and tablet platforms are growing fast.  What’s interesting is that we’re not even close to reaching the ceiling.  In fact, not only are tablets growing even faster than smartphones, shipments have surpassed PCs and notebooks in Q4 2102.

Wearables/Drivables/Flyables/Scannables is getting off the ground

Really, that’s Mary’s working title for this category of platforms.  Other adjectives come to mind – pervasive, environmentally embedded, smartphone sync buddies – you get the picture.

Wearables stand out for their near term possibilities.  So what’s driving wearable tech?  One reason Mary cites is that the average smartphone user reaches for their smartphone 150X/day.  That decreases with wearables.

Health Care

Health tech gets mentioned in a couple of different ways.  Jawbone UP gets a nod as wearable fitness tracking.  They’ve logged billions of steps!  And MyFitnessPal is doubling the data they capture every month. (slides 23, 24)

But very worthy challenges remain.  Mary includes a slide on Drivers of Premature Death (2007).  Of note:

Behavior is biggest driver of death (40%)
Genetics is second (30%)
Health Care is third (10%)

Certainly not trivial challenges.  Just a few of the industries are we talking about – fitness/wellness/health promotion/prevention, life sciences/biotech, health services, and health insurance.  But can wearables move the needle?

High Skilled Immigration is a big issue

So much potential, one common constraint.  Mary shows that the global environment for recruiting high-skilled STEM workers is likely to get much more competitive.  I’m sure health care companies are feeling this too, loosing tech talent to other industries, and well, the rest of the world.  Expect more posts on this topic later.

See Presentation here:



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812 0 Uncategorized May 31, 2013

Announcing CareFWD 2013!


careinnovators is excited to announce CareFWD 2013! Careforward (CareFWD) 2013 is a Massachusetts cross-industry health care innovation event. Scheduled for October 2013, CareFWD is where health care change agents come together to celebrate accomplishments, discuss the big issues, and inspire innovation for the next year! CareFWD will be the first health care event to anchor BREW (Boston Region Entrepreneurship Week).

As reforms, economic changes, and transformative technologies impact the health care sector, CareFWD is designed to address common challenges and opportunities facing all health care industries in Massachusetts in moving innovations forward, from biotechnology and life science, medical device, health IT, health plans, to health services. Cross-industry engagement and networking is encouraged with attendees actively problem solving and searching for solutions.

Join the health care community at CareFWD to celebrate Greater Boston’s renowned health care inventions, discuss how we maintain Massachusetts as the premier destination for health care innovation, and be part of the solutions. Start here, stay here!

Stay tuned for additional developments!

Interested in Sponsoring, Exhibiting or Speaking?
Contact us soon! Limited spots available.

Few forums exist where attendees across the spectrum of the health care community come together in one place to tackle common problems. This is a unique opportunity to promote your company, product or start-up to decision makers from all walks of health care.

Sponsorship Contact:
Christine Sierra
clbsierra(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)gmail.com

Exhibitor Contact:
Sarai Tsai
sarai(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)careinnovate.com

Speaking Opportunities:
Sarai Tsai
sarai(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)careinnovate.com


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833 0 Uncategorized May 28, 2013

careinnovators has Relaunched!

careinnovators is restarting after a hiatus!

We were gone for awhile working on a couple of great consulting projects in industry and academia.  Both experiences  just made it clear to us that the majority of innovation in health care is ahead of us!  And that innovation comes not only from technology breakthroughs in a single industry, but often from cross-fertilizing innovations across industries and even sectors.  In fact, I’m guessing it’s the most fertile source of health care change.

Which brings me back to the careinnovators website.  Our experiences are telling us pieces are finally coming together, and excitement around the transformation of health care is at an all time high.  But as ever, challenges remain.  That theme of cross-industry application of technology holds tremendous potential.  But many things have to go right.  The right timing, the right team, the right first product, the right approach, and the right info.  And careinnovators hopes to be a resource for those people who are tackling those opportunities.

So what are we going to do?  We’ll post about innovations that are contributing to the transformation in the health care industry.  And we’ll organize events that help move things forward (stay tuned for an imminent announcement!).

And since we’re relaunching, we decided to update our website.  We simplified our site and removed a bunch of features.  We’re starting with a clean slate.

The health care sector is undergoing big changes driven by transformative technologies inside and out.  We look forward to covering innovations, like yours!


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706 0 Uncategorized May 26, 2013

Startup to Watch: Expert Medical Navigation – Get the 1st Opinion Right

expert medicalLocation – Providence, RI


Description – Expert Medical Navigation (EMN) offers a specialty benefit service that contains in-year medical expenses for employers by reviewing high-cost treatments before they occur and helping employees choose more appropriate, cost effective alternatives. We accomplish this through a proprietary combination of online decision support tools, education and counsel from independent physicians. [Think: Quora + Hunch] Our service can reduce elective treatment costs for employers by 20% annually with equal or better outcomes. Because EMN is a physician-based service, it holds incredible advantage over other solutions for delivering direct and immediate impact on healthcare costs. EMN’s treatment decision support service integrates into an employer’s health benefits and engages employees when they are faced with a serious medical decision. Employees access the service through a web-based portal that assesses their understanding of options, provides them with tailored education material, then connects them to an EMN specialist physician who helps them choose an appropriate, cost effective treatment. Data from the portal is used to analyze treatment needs, and track utilization cost and outcome improvements. The information is kept private, shared only with the individual’s primary doctors and can be integrated with medical records. EMN’s reporting system provides the client with performance impact reports. EMN is led by an experienced management staff, supported by a team of the nation’s best physicians, and advised by industry experts. Continue reading

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Startup to Watch: OvaScience – Improving Fertility Through Science

ovascience-logoLocation - Boston, MA

Website - www.ovascience.com

Description - OvaScience is an innovative life science company dedicated to improving the treatment of infertility. OvaScience’s first product, AUGMENT, aims to increase the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF). OvaScience’s patented technology, exclusively licensed from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, allows a woman to use her own cellular energy to revitalize her egg. The company’s team of scientists, physicians and advisers are recognized leaders in the field of reproductive medicine. Privately-held, OvaScience was co-founded by Rich Aldrich, Michelle Dipp, and Christoph Westphal of Longwood Fund, and Professors Jonathan Tilly, Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and David Sinclair, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School. Continue reading

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Free HBS Lecture Series: Faculty Perspectives on Healthcare

Presentation1The Harvard Business School Healthcare Club & Healthcare Initiative are holding a series of free events with leading HBS faculty members to provide the healthcare community with a well-rounded perspective on the challenges and potential solutions for US Healthcare.

The next event is February 8, 2012, when Professor Clay Christensen will be discussing his views on how to improve various aspects of healthcare. No registration necessary.

For those of you who will not be in Boston on Feb 8th, the event will be filmed and posted on the Healthcare Initiative website. Please contact the HBS Healthcare Initiative with any questions and to be notified when the video is available.

Limited parking available for $12 (see Visitor & Permit Parking Lot). Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to allow for parking and seating.

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Startup to Watch: CoPatient – for patients, by patients

copatientLocation - Waltham, MA


Description – CoPatient audits and appeals medical bills on behalf of patients. We see a large and growing addressable market as employers continue to shift healthcare costs to their employees and providers continue to struggle to collect on self-pay accounts. However, few tools currently exist to help individuals know if the bills they receive are accurate and fair. This service can be scaled by bringing the experience online and applying a continuously evolving set of business logic and rules (sourced through the broader experience of the community) to guide the process.

Continue reading

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There’s Still Time to Apply to NYC Accelerator Blueprint Health

Blueprint LogoBlueprint Health is a TechStars affiliated startup accelerator program based in NYC that helps early stage healthcare companies get started.  Over the course of a 3 month program, Blueprint will provide support to entrepreneurs who are building innovative companies at the intersection of health and technology by providing $20,000 of seed capital, a shared work environment, and most critically, access to a broad range of mentors with deep healthcare, start-up and technology experience to support and to provide guidance to the teams.

What type of applicants does Blueprint look for? First and foremost, smart, passionate and coachable entrepreneurs!  Especially since this is early stage, it is very much about the people/team, the problem they are trying to solve and surrounding them with the right resources. Beyond that, Blueprint looks for health, healthcare, and wellness companies, typically with an information technology aspect (pharma and devices are not within the investment purview). Examples may include companies that improve communication in hospitals, help people improve their lifestyles, marketing tools for providers and plans, clinical decision support tools, health education, and tools to aggregate and analyze healthcare data to save money or for innovation discovery.

Interested in applying? The deadline to apply for the Winter program is November 13.  For more information and to apply, check out www.BlueprintHealth.org

As a disclosure, Christopher Tsai, Co-Founder of careinnovators, has joined Blueprint Health as a mentor.

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Only 1 day to register for Health IT UX and Design!

For 50% off, use the link below
Register for Health IT UX and Design 2011 in Waltham, MA  on Eventbrite

Recently in Boston, Atul Gawande noted that “Design of solutions is underestimated.”  Historically, Health IT applications have lagged other industry in their design and usability.  New health IT innovations need to coordinate care among many more users, from clinicians to patients to administrator. Applications must work across Desktops, Tablets, Smartphones, and other Remote Monitoring devices, and users are more sophisticated and expect improved usability available in other industries.  The increasingly complex workflows put a premium on usability, user experience, and design. Health IT UX and Design 2011 will bring together amazing speakers for a lively discussion on the increasing importance of design for Health IT.

Wayne Pan, Health Access Solutions, will talk about HIT, the importance of design, and his West Coast perspective
Yumin Choi, HLM Ventures, will show examples of improvement in process as well as product design
Richard Banfield, Fresh Tilled Soil, will host a design educational session
* Unfortunately Sachin Jain will be not able to join us.  In his place, we’ll have a great keynote from investor Yumin Choi and an interactive panel session with the speakers.

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