Flannel is the New Black: A Report from the JPM Healthcare Conference

Droves of disruptors flocked to the JPM Healthcare Conference in San Francisco this month to take on healthcare from every conceivable angle, including global. Silicon Valley was the obvious location for this event; for the last decade, it’s where industry watchers have looked for the next health tech darling to emerge. But the new catchphrase that ricocheted around the event acknowledged that the paramount health tech startups today are coming from somewhat less-pedigreed locations. Flannel is the new black.

In other words, the Midwest is where it’s at for the hottest health tech. From Chicago to Nashville and Ann Arbor to Minneapolis, many of this year’s belles of the ball hailed from the Midwest. Which begs the question: why? Is it that the dollar goes further on average? Yep. Is it the rich resources at the many top-ranked engineering schools located in the region? Most likely. But, most importantly, we’re seeing a fundamental shift in the ecosystem of health. The fact is that health tech is now rising up from everywhere. There’s a huge upside as these start-ups target real value: non-invasive cancer treatments, automated administration, medication adherence and even engagement. Click here for a hot take on 20 of the latest and greatest.

What this means is that opportunities for employer health plan sponsors will continue to grow, period. If their appetite for new ways to deliver care and engage members grows as well, the future is looking very bright. 

Written by Nick Schram, 
Principal, Mercer's Center for Health Innovation

Nick Schram
by Nick Schram

Principal, Mercer's Center for Health Innovation

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