Interview with Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Venture Partner, Oak HC/FT

Why did you decide to expand your medical and academic career into the private sector?

Being at the forefront of change in health care in the U.S. means engaging with venture capital and the startups that are driving that change.

What areas of healthcare are generating the brightest opportunities currently?

Fully 84% of all health care spending in the U.S. goes toward chronic illnesses. Within that, some of the most important areas of spending include behavioral health and end-of-life care.

What are some of the companies you are working with?

I work closely with Annie, Andrew, and the Oak HC/FT team across several areas, especially advising existing portfolio companies as well as opining on prospective investment opportunities.

What is “Prescription for the Future” about?

The subtitle for the book gives a clear picture of the book’s subject: The 12 transformational practices of highly effective medical organizations.

If you were to triage the industry, what would you prescribe as the most urgent and critical care priorities?

The single most important pre-requisite for transformation is payment change. Physicians, hospitals, health systems, and all the other providers need to be incentivized to change how they deliver care — to focus on higher quality and lower cost. This requires moving away from fee-for-service payment toward what are called alternative payment models, such as bundled payments for an episode of care or capitation. Fortunately, this is happening — especially through MACRA, the new health care bill that changes how physicians are paid, and through payment changes being implemented by private insurers.

Can transformation occur despite the current political impasse and efforts to repeal the ACA?

As I note in the book, almost everyone in the health care system thinks transformation is inevitable. For one thing, private payors and the public are demanding more affordable care regardless of the status of the ACA. This will drive transformation.

What is high value care and how do we achieve it?

High value care is composed of two parts: higher quality of care and lower costs. We achieve it by improving the health care delivered to patients and lowering the costs of delivery.

What are some of the most notable advances you are seeing around care delivery and patient experience?

What makes me optimistic is that there are so many advances being tried and constantly improved by different medical organizations.

How do you escape work and clear your mind?

I don’t know about escaping work and clearing my mind. I find that when I am relaxing I am often thinking about work on another level.



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Oak HC/FT is a premier venture growth equity fund investing in Healthcare Information & Services (“HC”) and FinTech (“FT”)