Dave Bjork: Healthcare Summit at Jackson Hole formed to foster deep relationships

By Brad Dodge on March 14th, 2011

I had the opportunity to get an invitation to last week’s 2011 Healthcare Summit at Jackson Hole. This is the first year of an invitation-only event, light on content and heavy on relationship development. I caught up with the event’s organizer, Dave Bjork, president of Telcare, on his concept behind the event. 

Dodge: What’s the genesis of this event?
Bjork:I have worked with dozens of very talented professionals over the years in the healthcare industry, and I don’t often get the chance to spend quality time with them to dig deeper both professionally and personally. Industry conferences are important, but there need to be opportunities to develop relationships that can’t be built on the tradeshow floor. This event is designed to foster those types of relationships while at the same time sharing insights about the healthcare industry from many different perspectives.
Dodge: Tell our readers a little bit about Telcare.  
Bjork: We’re a company in the fast-growing mobile health space. We have developed a medical device that connects chronically ill patients with their care-giving team using cellular wireless technology, collecting information at the point of patient self-care and connecting it back to caregivers. We’re excited to be a first mover in a disruptive way in the glucose meter market.
Dodge: Can you describe some of the challenges your business is facing?

Bjork: We’re an early-stage business so we go through all the normal challenges that early-stage companies go through: establishing ourselves in a market that doesn’t know us yet and raising money to make sure that the business can perform on objectives. I expect the biggest challenge that we’ll face this coming year will be operational expansion to meet the demand of the market.
Dodge: What impact does the federal spotlight on healthcare--such as meaningful use or accountable care organizations--have on your business?
Bjork: As meaningful use becomes more clear for all of us, it may mean that for a physician to be reimbursed under the meaningful use guidelines, they may need to be acquiring data on patients to make their electronic health records fit up with that meaningful use definition. We, through our device, would potentially assist in collecting information that satisfies that requirement. On the ACO side, this whole notion of taking risk and pushing it back down to the provider is interesting for us because it creates again kind of an integrated delivery system and allows a physician organization to have up and down responsibility for patient lives and the dollars associated with those lives. That fits up terrifically with what we’re doing because we are doing something that connects a chronically ill person with a caregiver. It allows the caregiver to have better data and a better ability to communicate with important patients and, in turn, control medical costs. Reform generally will be good for all of our businesses because it triggers healthcare change on multiple important axes – and these changes should develop good opportunities.
Dodge: What are your plans for the Healthcare Summit at Jackson Hole in 2012?
Bjork: This event turned out better than I could have hoped. Excellent people, great relationships, a good mix of fun and work. We’re looking to expand the event both in the number of folks we invite and the programs that we’re offering. Stay tuned.
Dodge: We’re looking forward to hearing more about it. Thanks for taking the time.