Welcome to Part Two of In Converstion, a series of conversations in the BioHive with Maryland innovators and game changers. Our guest this week is Pete Celano, Director of Consumer Health Initiatives at the MedStar Institute for Innovation and a pioneer in the Health Tech Innovators of Central Maryland.

Liora Knizhnik: Can you elaborate on the four big trends in healthcare that you discussed at the launch of the Health Tech Innovators of Central Maryland? How is each trend pushing healthcare forward?

Pete Celano: The first is that Payers becoming more like Providers and vice versa (“disintermediation”); next is new technology especially cloud-based solutions; third is that every bigger systems in each region is striving for competitive advantage; and the last is the inexorable rise of Virtual Visits.  All these are making healthcare FAR more “high convenience/low friction,” and are forcing traditional players to transform themselves at the same time that new players enter the field of play.

LK: Describe your idea of the ideal relationship between virtual visits and doctors’ appointments. 

PC: Triage is the ideal relationship. If it’s a simple issue, the patient gets an answer in the virtual  visit, and is done.  If not the patient books a face-to-face appointment for same day/next day.

LK: How can technology augmented healthcare aid an aging American population? 

PC: This is a challenge because seniors broadly are not yet facile with smartphones, tablets, and other useful technologies. Virtual visits (VV) would clearly help seniors, but only if the VV is made easy and vitals can be measured.  This is an area of much needed innovation.

LK: What excites you about the biotech industry in Maryland? 

PC: Maryland biotech has been strong and is only getting stronger, while at the very same time the genetics area is heating up.  I think Maryland biotech companies have a greater opportunity than ever to solve problems: creating IP, raising capital, building sales channels, and collaborating with local providers to radically improve patient outcomes.

LK: How will the Health Tech group contribute to the above ideas? 

PC: I see every opportunity for new companies in Howard County to join the race to transform healthcare, and existing companies to frame more deeply into healthcare, too.  The FDA is nearby, you have large systems searching for the next big thing, and you have a broad and deep support structure in the MCE/HCEDA.  Further, there’s ample venture capital in this area.  Healthcare is the greenest field today for innovators.

Pete’s expertise and involvement with Health Tech Innovators of Central Maryland make him an invaluable resource to the healthcare community. We’re so glad he could join us for this week’s installment of In Conversation. For more with Pete check out the Health Tech Innovator’s Exchange for regular chats with Pete on everything from the major problems facing healthcare to innovative technological solutions (e.g. partnering with ride services like Uber to transport patients to the doctor). 

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