Social media, content, PR, sales consultant @ Healthy Startups
The Khosla Ventures CEO Summit features big thinkers talking solutions around big challenges. You don't get much bigger than Sergey Brin and Larry Page from Google talking to Vinod Khosla about healthcare. Here's the transcript:
VK That leads to another strategy question. Can you imagine, given your interests-- you've had some interest in health. There's some radical stuff there. Android is a natural platform for health. Mobile is, and health needs to be distributed and highly accessible - broadly, not just at the hospital. Can you imagine Google becoming a health company? Maybe a larger business than the search business or the media business?
SB I think it's, for sure, a larger business. In fact, Google X - for example - we do have the glucose reading contact lenses.
LP Which are very cool.
SB I don't wear them. Well, I don't wear contacts, so I don't have the need to measure my glucose. But they should be coming along pretty well. I'm very excited about that. Generally, health is just so heavily regulated. It's just a painful business to be in. It's just not necessarily how I want to spend my time. Even though we do have some health projects, and we'll be doing that to a certain extent. But I think the regulatory burden in the U.S. is so high that think it would dissuade a lot of entrepreneurs.
LP We have Calico, obviously, we did that with Art Levinson, which is pretty independent effort. Focuses on health and longevity. I'm really excited about that. I am really excited about the possibility of data also, to improve health. But that's-- I think what Sergey's saying, it's so heavily regulated. It's a difficult area. I can give you an example. Imagine you had the ability to search people's medical records in the U.S.. Any medical researcher can do it. Maybe they have the names removed. Maybe when the medical researcher searches your data, you get to see which researcher searched it and why. I imagine that would save 10,000 lives in the first year. Just that. That's almost impossible to do because of HIPPA. I do worry that we regulate ourselves out of some really great possibilities that are certainly on the data-mining end.
VK Two or three years ago, I wrote a blog called, "Do We Need Doctors?" And I speculated Doctor Algorithm will do most of the work. Amol (the CEO) from Ginger.io is here. They introduced their psychiatric monitoring app at Kaiser—
LP I was talking to them about that last night. It was cool.
VK In the first week, Kaiser believes they saved three suicides, because the app alerted the nurse that the patient was in a suicidal state. That's just the big outcome. But that feels like a software business, mostly. Delivered mostly through mobile, and it's more needed in the least regulated areas - India, Africa, places like that. Go ahead.
LP I was going to say, in the U.S., I think diabetes and heart disease are both about 3 or $400 billion dollars a year in expense. That's of the 1.3 trillion, so that's a pretty big chunk. So definitely, just making a dent in those would be a big deal for people.
VK In fact, most people may not know this, but the first mobile app got approved as a pharmaceutical because it's directly competitive with metformin, which is the principle drug for blood sugar reduction. So it has the same effect, and the FDA approved it. Of course, with the funny caveat that it has to be refilled every three months, and it's priced at $182 a month.
LP Do you want to take any questions from the audience?
VK I'm going to have one question for you, Larry. You lost your voice last year. You've talked a little bit about what you've learned from that.
LP Sergey encouraged me to make all the details public. That was really great, to get a lot of feedback, information, things like that. As a good example, we're talking about medicine, a lot of the angst people have about their medical records is related to insurance. Which if we could just fix insurance-- the point of insurance is to cover medical issues. We somehow worked ourselves into a state around that. Obviously, I don't care very much about that, so I don't have that issue. Anyway, I don't think my voice is likely to get much worse, so I'm happy about that. I can get my job done fine.
Interview transcript reproduced from Khosla Ventures
For now, I am going to leave it at that. But, my next post is titled Google is building a hospital. Stay tuned!