Slow Healthcare

What if “slow healthcare” is where there is the most potential? A trip back in time, and perhaps into the future (Doctor’s Office, 1820). Between virtual care, AI assistants, etc… This might be possible again, and more personal than today’s “processed” office visits.

What do the slow food movement and healthcare have in common?


“Slow Food was started by Carlo Petrini and a group of activists in the 1980s with the initial aim to defend regional traditions, good food, gastronomic pleasure and a slow pace of life. In over two decades of history, the movement has evolved to embrace a comprehensive approach to food that recognizes the strong connections between plate, planet, people, politics and culture. Today Slow Food represents a global movement involving thousands of projects and millions of people in over 160 countries.”https://www.slowfood.com/about-us/our-history/

The concept of “slow food” has culminated in farm-to-table approaches in restaurants, food trucks, and other food service venues. At its core there is a degree of intimacy between a person and fuel for their soul. This intimacy is lost in more “processed” versions of food service; fast food. Perhaps, there is an intimate link missing in healthcare also.

Thanks to the global pandemic, most models of providing healthcare are in question, and there seems to be a renewed “opportunity for innovation” and “change”. In the first half of 2021 digital health investments reached $15 billion, up 138% compared to $6.3 billion raised in the first half of 2020. https://mercomcapital.com/product/1h-q2-2021-digital-health-healthcare-it-funding-ma-report/ More recently Cityblock health (technology enabled primary care for Medicaid patients) completed a funding round valuing the company at $5.7 billion. https://www.statnews.com/2021/09/03/cityblock-health-series-d-valuation/ Outsized valuations for outsized aspirations mean that the general sentiment is that scale is necessary to impact healthcare for the better. However, is that true? Isn’t the desired healthcare model about the intimacy between and person and their health, rather than all the other proposals and pitch decks? They all seem to be angling toward more “processed healthcare”. What if impactful solutions in healthcare are more local? What if “slow healthcare” is where there is the most potential? A trip back in time, and perhaps into the future (Doctor’s Office, 1820). Between virtual care, AI assistants, etc… This might be possible again, and more personal than today’s “processed” office visits. It would be nice to see a venture fund invest in slow healthcare to test this hypothesis; better yet, let’s try something without venture funds 🙂 Why does it have to be big to succeed? After all, it is the small, incremental change that is the most impactful!

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