The Battle for Wireless Health May Help Cure an Ailing US Healthcare Business

Posted by Amelia Ehrens on May 2, 2012 10:35:00 AM

U.S. Business School War Game Predicts Mergers and New Services to Gain Affluent Boomer Marketshare

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Healthcare technology companies - ranging from large such as GE to startups like Independa - will need to find partners and cater to the affluent Baby Boomer generation and their caregivers if they are to take the lead in wireless health, an industry that promises to help reduce much of the estimated $2.5 trillion of wasted resources in the global healthcare system. This was among the predictions of a national war gaming contest held between four top business schools and run by Fuld + Company last week in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The four teams stress tested the wireless health strategies of Bosch Healthcare, GE Healthcare, start-up software company Independa, and Medtronic in this Eighth Annual Fuld + Company national war game. Business school teams were: Dartmouth's Tuck School, MIT Sloan, Northwestern Kellogg School, and Yale School of Management.

"Wireless health is a very complex business that is part of the even more complex healthcare industry," said Leonard Fuld, Fuld + Company president. "Serving chronically ill or aging patients in the home setting - the target market for the war game - presents a number of unresolved challenges, among them patient compliance and reimbursement. That said, the teams representing some of the world's largest healthcare enterprises wrestled with this complexity, offering insights that may prove critical to Bosch, GE and Medtronics when this market takes off in the next few years. We are confident about our predictions as past competitions have accurately forecasted events and competitive activities in a number of industries."

In addition to the general prediction about the need to form alliances and acquire competencies, other key insights emerged, including:

  • Think about the people, not the patient: Developers must make their products and accompanying services user friendly and meet very personal needs of the patient and the caregiver alike if they are to succeed in this market.
  • Early adopters of wireless health will come from upscale baby boomers who can pay for the technology themselves and who are already primed to accept and use this form of highly interactive next generation of telemedicine. While there was a great deal of discussion around payer or Medicare involvement, it will likely be the affluent boomers who will buy the products and services outright.
  • Mergers, alliances and licensing agreements are inevitable. Wireless health is a composite of a number services and technical expertise with no single company able to control this market. Players will need to ally or possibly merge with counterparts in order to bring together the critical elements of this healthcare supply chain. For example, hardware-based companies, even with superb engineering skills, will need to ally with software or back office service firms in order to succeed.
  • Profits will come from data integration, not from killer apps: For companies to extract the value (and the profit) from this industry, they will first require industry standards, followed by a requirement to integrate the data from various sensors and devices to provide a holistic view of patient health.
  • A back office service industry will emerge as a new service model: No matter how intelligent the analytical tools, back office nursing and medical professional service organizations will emerge as an intermediary to offer healthcare providers the ability to alert primary care physicians or offer home support.  Such services will fulfill wireless health's promise to allow physicians to follow and truly interact with many more patients than they are able to in an office or hospital setting.
  • Evidence rather than more software "bells and whistles" will rule the day:  Medicare as well as private payers will demand wireless health providers present data to demonstrate patient compliance and overall effectiveness. Lacking such data will limit a competitor's ability to grow its customer base with hospitals and providers institutions.

Judges for this year's competition included:  Jon R. Cohen, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Quest Diagnostics;Jeremy Delinsky, Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer, athenahealth; Gagan Puranik, Associate Director, LTE Innovation Center, Verizon Wireless; Joe Ternullo, Associate Director, Partners Healthcare Center for Connected Health; andBill Bulkeley, Green Line Research, Inc.


Fuld + Company, based in Boston, Massachusetts, with offices in London and Manila, is the world's preeminent research and consulting firm in the field of competitive intelligence. Founded by Leonard Fuld, a pioneer and recognized leading authority in the field, Fuld + Company has serviced more than half the Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 for over 30 years. The firm does research and analysis, strategic gaming, intelligence process consulting, and training to help clients understand the external competitive environment. For further information go to

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Topics: Innovation, Technology/Telecomm, Healthcare

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