Europe’s health tech can learn from 10-minute grocery startups
Grocery store startups 10 minutes away like Getir, Gorillas and Flink redefined grocery shopping in Europe, seemingly overnight. The secret to their popularity with VCs is a full-stack approach; they control all stages of the business – from ordering and inventory to delivery. Visibility into all of these steps in the chain means they can deliver an even better customer experience.
But one industry in Europe has not adopted the full-stack approach: health technologies.
Healthcare systems in Europe face enormous challenges, from integrating technological advances into treatment to increasing costs and the generational change of new doctors entering the field. The industry risks forgetting the patient – the most important factor in the equation – as it tries to overcome these challenges. This is why European healthcare technologies should look to full-fledged companies like Getir for inspiration, if they are to continue to provide top-quality services and be competitive on the global stage.
Chris Dixon, general partner at a16z, defined full-stack startups as those that offer a complete, end-to-end product or service. For health technologies, this could mean that a company offers an end-to-end service to patients by having its own doctors, or even surgeries, taking charge of drugs; fundamentally own and accomplish every aspect of the patient journey.
European countries rank among the highest in the WHO ranking of global health systems. But other countries are rapidly digitizing their healthcare systems, improving patient outcomes and experiences and threatening Europe’s reputation. A new generation of non-European healthcare companies, such as Carbon Health and Hims & Hers in the US, have embraced vertical integration as a way to control costs, gain better patient insight, and at the same time. ultimately, to provide better services. European health technologies must wake up.
Why Europe will benefit from comprehensive healthcare
1. Better data = better care
Today too much health data is lost. In many cases, it is still captured on paper and scattered across different systems. A change is long overdue. For example, Germany has been talking about launching an electronic health record since 2004; a pilot did not start until 2021.
High-frequency, low-quality data points, such as heart rate data from a smartwatch, can serve as early indicators of risk. High-quality, low-frequency data points, such as blood tests or a visit to a general practitioner, can serve as data validation to develop medical trends. The combination of the two will create the basis for predicting medical results; the problem is that the fragmentation of health technologies means that most companies do not have access to this information.
This will help healthcare providers to act proactively rather than reactively, and will also produce the data-rich evidence needed, for example, in clinical trials. Full-stack players have all of their data in one place and, as a result, can provide better care while saving costs and resources in an already overburdened healthcare system. This is actually exactly where healthtech Ada Health goes.
2. End-to-end service = better patient experience
Patients increasingly feel that they are being treated like a commodity. A survey by our holding company Avi Medical showed that in Germany 72% of patients want holistic and individualized diagnoses and treatments, as opposed to rushed appointments.
By combining hardware, software, design, and marketing, companies can deliver a cohesive patient experience that’s better than what patients typically receive from fragmented cardholders.
Important issues also exist at specific stages of the user’s journey. For example, the average patient wait time for a doctor in Europe is around 30 minutes. In Germany, 77% of all patients cite short wait times as the most important factor in their patient experience.
Full-stack operators can solve wait time issues, for example, by leveraging the data to predict the length of treatment for patients with different conditions.
3. Flexible platforms = flexible work for doctors
Many business models neglect the health system’s most important resources: doctors and nurses.
A new generation of doctors and nurses is emphatically demanding more flexible working hours and a modern workplace. 66% of all young doctors in Germany, for example, do not want to run their own practice.
Comprehensive approaches provide a modern working environment and flexible working hours by opening the door to digital doctor-patient touchpoints.
Full-battery models also provide physicians with digital tools, such as user-friendly management software, to reduce administrative tasks and make their lives easier.
United States against Europe: losing the crown of health
European health tech founders shouldn’t be afraid to embrace the full stack. It is not impossible; Swede Kry did it. Kry has grown from a silo – focusing solely on telemedicine – to becoming a full primary care provider. The transition to the full stack has allowed Kry to create a modern, integrated patient experience that enables treatment of any symptom and delivers a superior experience. There is no reliable measure of a Net Promoter Score (NPS) in the healthcare system, but primary care provider One Medical has a staggering NPS of 91, underscoring the superior patient experience offered.
Of course, the regulatory complexity is much higher in Europe. Another challenge is the varied structure of social systems relative to the United States. Nonetheless, Europe will become an attractive place for full-stack models to become more prevalent, as the benefits they offer – to industry, patients and healthcare professionals – are simply too good to ignore. .
While I don’t predict a future for general practitioners going door-to-door on mopeds, the impact comprehensive healthcare will have on European patients could be just as revolutionary.
Sebastian Schäfer is Vice President of Picus Capital, where he is responsible for pre-seed healthcare technology investments.