Venture capitalist: No slowdown seen in health IT spending

The digital health space likely won’t slow down anytime soon in terms of investment, and more tech companies beyond healthcare are likely to join the fray in the coming year. So said Bryan Roberts, a partner who focuses on health IT, biotech, medical devices and diagnostics for Silicon Valley venture capital firm Venrock. “Data liquidity […]

The digital health space likely won’t slow down anytime soon in terms of investment, and more tech companies beyond healthcare are likely to join the fray in the coming year.

So said Bryan Roberts, a partner who focuses on health IT, biotech, medical devices and diagnostics for Silicon Valley venture capital firm Venrock.

“Data liquidity and incentives have improved,” he told a lunch crowd in San Francisco in town for the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. The lunch was sponsored by the W2O Group. In particular, he cited the “willingness to part with the data” by payers and some providers, allowing more interest from outside sectors, especially software.

The interest in the healthcare space is borne out of a combination of “either excitement or morbid fear,” he said.

The level of interest, particularly from entrepreneurs, will only increase, he said.

“Fundamentally there is a different level of entrepreneurial talent. They’ve woken up and said, ‘You know what? The next company I want to invest in is in healthcare.’”

There is likely to be significant pain points for hospitals and big healthcare systems, particularly as IT is developed that can reduce the number of physical employees, thus reducing labor costs, he said.

In 2014, venture capital in the digital health space hit more than $4 billion, according to a report from San Francisco accelerator Rock Health.