Jason Hwang, MD

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Authority on Innovative Health Care Reform and Co-Author of “The Innovator’s Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care”

Biography

Jason Hwang avows that disruptive innovation will fix health care – and technology, he says, is at the heart of the transformation.

Internal medicine physician turned entrepreneur, Dr. Hwang is living and leading the mission. Co-founder and chief medical officer of PolkaDoc, a California-based telehealth startup focused on delivering affordable primary care via smartphone, he spent the last five years energizing the industry’s conversation about how to reinvent health care’s business model. Dr. Hwang co-authored the best-selling “Innovator’s Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care” (McGraw-Hill, 2008) with Harvard Business School Professor and father of the disruptive innovation theory Clayton M. Christensen. He also previously co-founded and served as the executive director at Innosight Institute (now the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation), a non-profit innovation think tank dedicated to solving the world’s most pressing social problems.

A sought after speaker and writer, Dr. Hwang engages audiences of every level and background with his provocative insights on and remedies for creating new growth through affordability and simplicity. Disruptive innovation, he contends, has the power to satisfy unmet needs and transform the delivery of care. He argues that the health care system continues to move toward a more decentralized system, citing increases in outpatient care in ambulatory settings, the rapid expansion of retail clinics staffed by nurse practitioners, and advances in telehealth and home monitoring as examples of this trend. Dr. Hwang also believes the opportunity exists to extend the provision of care beyond doctors and specialists.

Dr. Hwang previously taught as chief resident and clinical instructor at the University of California, Irvine, where he received multiple recognitions for his clinical work. He has also served as a clinician with the Southern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Group and the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach, Calif. He received his Bachelor of  Science and M.D. from the University of Michigan and his master’s from Harvard Business School.

Videos

Biography

Jason Hwang avows that disruptive innovation will fix health care – and technology, he says, is at the heart of the transformation.

Internal medicine physician turned entrepreneur, Dr. Hwang is living and leading the mission. Co-founder and chief medical officer of PolkaDoc, a California-based telehealth startup focused on delivering affordable primary care via smartphone, he spent the last five years energizing the industry’s conversation about how to reinvent health care’s business model. Dr. Hwang co-authored the best-selling “Innovator’s Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care” (McGraw-Hill, 2008) with Harvard Business School Professor and father of the disruptive innovation theory Clayton M. Christensen. He also previously co-founded and served as the executive director at Innosight Institute (now the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation), a non-profit innovation think tank dedicated to solving the world’s most pressing social problems.

A sought after speaker and writer, Dr. Hwang engages audiences of every level and background with his provocative insights on and remedies for creating new growth through affordability and simplicity. Disruptive innovation, he contends, has the power to satisfy unmet needs and transform the delivery of care. He argues that the health care system continues to move toward a more decentralized system, citing increases in outpatient care in ambulatory settings, the rapid expansion of retail clinics staffed by nurse practitioners, and advances in telehealth and home monitoring as examples of this trend. Dr. Hwang also believes the opportunity exists to extend the provision of care beyond doctors and specialists.

Dr. Hwang previously taught as chief resident and clinical instructor at the University of California, Irvine, where he received multiple recognitions for his clinical work. He has also served as a clinician with the Southern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Group and the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach, Calif. He received his Bachelor of  Science and M.D. from the University of Michigan and his master’s from Harvard Business School.

Speech Topics

Disrupting U.S. Health Care

When we think of “quality” health care, we generally assume that more expertise is always preferred – doctors must be better than nurses, specialists must be better than primary care doctors, and hospitals and clinics must be better than virtual interactions. This mentality, in part, has left us with a health care system that is unaffordable, inconvenient and largely broken. But if we were to apply the principles of disruptive innovation to our collapsing health care system – by using advances in technology to help nurses and primary care physicians to do more sophisticated work – a costly, hard-to-schedule trip to the doctor may become increasingly rare. Disruptive innovations like direct-to-consumer diagnostics, patient-controlled electronic health records, telemedicine, and hospital-at-home models of care have the potential to create transformative change in the health care industry, argues Dr. Jason Hwang. Such models of care also have the potential to be superior options with distinct advantages for paving the way toward more accessible, affordable and quality health care.

Full Potential: Why and How Retail Clinics Must Disrupt… Again

Anointed as the disruptive model for care delivery when they first entered the marketplace, retail clinics have fallen significantly short of both their promise and potential. In fact, says Dr. Jason Hwang, they surprisingly did not follow the path of true disruption. Most disruptions start by serving the low end of consumers, but retail clinics tend to attract people who already have insurance and access to care. The retail clinic model has become one of convenience rather than one of need, missing an important opportunity to serve the poor and under-insured. To thrive and move beyond their current plateau, retail clinics must figure out how to self-disrupt, says Dr. Hwang – and he believes a combination of technology and nurses may be a big part of the solution. He discusses his views on how retails clinics can capitalize on mobile health technology and rely more on the expertise of nurses to further push the boundaries of where and to whom retail clinics deliver care, expanding their menu of services while providing quality care to those who need it most.

Reinventing the Business Models of Hospitals and Physician Practices

When health care professionals speak of reforming health care, they often cite solutions that merely preserve or reinforce the existing model of care delivery, such as tort reform, new payment codes and an expanded pool of doctors. But Dr. Jason Hwang argues that health care reform starts with changing its longstanding business model, an antiquated one-size-fits-all delivery system that struggles to do everything for everyone. For true health care reform, Dr. Hwang says, we need to deploy distinct business models that focus on different aspects of care. Under a “solution shop” model, care is organized around intuitive diagnostic activities and complex, multidisciplinary cases. In contrast, a “value-adding process” business model is organized around well-established and highly-predictable routines, such as joint replacement or endoscopy, and the entire business – even the facilities, training, and pricing – revolve around performing that one procedure perfectly time after time. By reinventing the traditional health care business model, says Dr. Hwang, we will no longer have to rely on a system that wants to be all things to all people.

Will Smartphones Replace Your Doctor? The Impact of Digital Health

Our population is living longer. There continues to be a shortage of nurses and primary care doctors. Provisions of the Affordable Care Act – guaranteed issue and mandated coverage of many preventative services – have taken effect. The demand for affordable, quality health care is growing, and there is no way to fulfill it through existing models of care where every problem requires you to see a doctor, in person. Dr. Jason Hwang believes highly scalable digital health technologies are poised to vastly improve health care – for everyone. Drawing from experiences with his own telehealth start-up PolkaDoc, as well as his work with the X-PRIZE Foundation, Dr. Hwang talks about technology’s sophisticated yet affordable solutions that already exist – from ultrasounds and EKGs to diagnosing of ear infections or rashes, all via smartphones – and discusses the potential that simple digital innovations like text messaging, avatars and apps have for helping patients get better care, earlier and more efficiently. The value of digital health to transform health care is tremendous.

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Recommendations

“We are very grateful for Jason’s contribution to our ‘Connect for Impact’ conference. He delivered an inspiring, thoughtful and tailor-made keynote which was highly appreciated by our guests. Besides that, Jason was also available for private conversations, reflecting on ideas, giving comments and advice!”

—Wim Post, Noaber Foundation

“Your presentation on Innovation in Healthcare Service Delivery was exceptionally well received. You truly connected with our members who seek entrepreneurial leadership and are eager to advance behavioral healthcare “back home” and industry-wide. Thank you so much for an excellent presentation.”

—Dale E. Shreve, MHCA

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