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Investor steers venture capital for healthcare to proven technologies

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In choosing investments, a health IT venture capitalist looked for technologies with proven outcomes, not just pilot studies, notably in population health.

Casper de Clercq steers his company's venture capital for healthcare into investments that he sees as proven health IT technologies.

As a general partner at Norwest Venture Partners, de Clercq heads up venture capital for healthcare investing in health IT software systems, consumer health, medical devices and technology-enabled services for the influential Silicon Valley firm.

In this podcast interview, recorded during Connected Health Symposium 2016, de Clercq tells SearchHealthIT that healthcare is "going through a massive disruption, and will continue to do so over the next 20 years."

What we look for is good clinical impacts. We look for good clinical evidence. We look for outcomes. We don't look for pilots.
Casper de Clercqgeneral partner, Norwest Venture Partners

At the heart of the ongoing disruption of that estimated $3 trillion market, de Clercq says, are digital technologies, including wearables, smartphones and other mobile devices and health IT technologies that enable more efficient care coordination.

But as an experienced healthcare investor and former executive, de Clercq maintains a rigorous skepticism about the startups he looks at as potential venture capital for healthcare investment targets.

"A lot of people are quite naïve about how quick … it is going to change the world," de Clercq says in the podcast, referring to new health IT technologies. "I think it's going to take a while."

Casper de Clercq, healthcare venture capitalistCasper de Clercq

One major factor slowing the advance of wearables and medical devices is the necessity of regulatory approval from the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), de Clercq notes in the podcast. Telehealth, or telemedicine, on the other hand, has shown significant growth, he notes.

Meanwhile, as some $2 billion of investment capital has been injected into healthcare technology each year over the past three years, de Clercq says a lot of those ventures will likely fail.

"Unfortunately, probably 80% of that is not going to be successful," he says.

As business people deploying venture capital for healthcare, de Clercq says he and his colleagues want to see ROI that reveals itself in as short a time span as a year.

They are also scouting technologies that are less trendy than effective, particularly in managing and reducing the most costly chronic conditions that afflict patients -- in short, the best population health tools on the market.

"What we look for is good clinical impacts. We look for good clinical evidence," de Clercq said. "We look for outcomes. We don't look for pilots."

Next Steps

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