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Three Tsunamis are Driving Disruptive Innovation

Editorial version published in Health Policy Solutions Oct. 12, 2012

There is broad consensus from stakeholders that our current dysfunctional system needs to change dramatically to reach the Triple Aim objectives of better health, better care and lower costs. Making the transformation happen is the difficult part. At CIVHC, we find it useful to remind stakeholders across Colorado that efforts need to be informed by three “tsunamis of change” which we believe will alter the landscape of health care over the next decade.

  1. Financial Instability. We are on a fiscal cliff. As a country, we are out of money and the majority of our public health care costs are being financed through debt. It’s unsustainable and we are kidding ourselves to think that we will continue to push off the hard choices in health care or other areas paid for by government.
  2. Availability of Data. The growth of data is exponential and the ability to use it for predictive modeling, scientific change, social change and connectivity is staggering.
  3. Consumerism. Individuals increasingly come to expect that the services they buy and technology that supports those services is tailored to their own unique needs. As consumers we want everything now and we want it as an app on our smartphone! Those companies that can provide the new technologies and surprise and delight consumers are the ones that will be dominating markets.

As those tsunamis build speed and intensity we are seeing dramatic changes to delivery models (think WalMart clinics), telemedicine and remote monitoring apps that will change how care is delivered and make geography less and less relevant. At CIVHC we think that the combination of all three tsunamis is ushering in an era of disruptive innovation that in a period of only a few years will dramatically change the health care marketplace and reward those who can provide solutions that respond to the three tsunamis.

In anticipating those changes CIVHC wants to ensure that its efforts to support payment changes, data transparency and delivery redesign mesh with the disruptive innovations that are happening around us. As one response to this, CIVHC is serving as a convener and backbone organization to create a state level affiliate of a national effort called the Health Data Initiative (HDI). HDI is an innovative effort to connect entrepreneurs across the country with a vast array of publically available healthcare data as part of an effort to improve healthcare and health in the United States. This initiative is being spearheaded by the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Todd Park. Mr. Park is a highly successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has focused his creativity on liberating data in the service of improving health.

Over the last three years HDI has been instrumental in spurring a wide array of consumer, health care, and community health applications and technology that has the potential to aid almost every aspect of health and health care. HDI’s core activities are getting data into the hands of innovators, supporting innovation and showcasing the work through an annual national Datapalooza. Its work is primarily supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a broad consortium of stakeholders from across the country. I am fortunate to serve as board member on the national steering group for this initiative.

Colorado has been chosen to be one of six state/regional initiatives that are emulating the national effort. This work aligns with CIVHC’s Triple Aim goals and its use of data to achieve those goals. CIVHC believes that supporting such innovation can help improve the health and health care of Coloradans while also providing an opportunity to spur business development for Colorado. This connection is intended to help engage the business community and reinforce how achieving Triple Aim is good business for Colorado.

On October 1st, CIVHC hosted a statewide "Health Data Affiliate Strategy Session" of over 40 organizations representing Colorado Health Data Consortium Summit presentersentrepreneurs, incubators, innovators, data experts, health care organizations and other business associations from across Colorado to help shape a statewide ecosystem that will support the type of innovation envisioned by the national effort. At the meeting three innovative companies presented how they are reshaping health care locally and nationally. The intent is to build momentum for a statewide “Datapalooza” in 2013 that would showcase Colorado’s innovation and creativity.

The overall goals for a Colorado Health Data Affiliate include creating conversations across stakeholders, solving major health/health care problems critical to Coloradans, establishing business success with these public-private partnerships, building public will for the affiliate’s efforts, creating a replicable model for innovation, and linking/aligning efforts around the state that support the innovative ecosystem.

We are excited to build this initiative into our portfolio of efforts and look forward to reporting progress on this and related work throughout the coming year. For more information or to learn how you can participate in the Health Data Affiliate work in Colorado, contact Mannat Singh, Policy Coordinator, at

Photo (lower right): Health Data Affiliate Summit presenters (left to right)- Emily King, CHI, Mannat Singh, CIVHC, Wayne Guerra, MD, iTriage, Andrew Abumoussa,, Jeff Bontrager, CHI, Pete Sheehan, HealthGrades, Phil Kalin, CIVHC

About the Author: Phil Kalin is CIVHC's President and CEO. Contact him at

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