Episode 261 - Jason Hwang, part 1: Disruptive Innovations


Jason Hwang MD

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In episode 261 I'm joined by Dr. Jason Hwang, internal medicine physician, co author of Innovators Prescription, and healthcare innovation thought leader. He shares the current landscape of the US healthcare system, why it needs improvements, what disruptive innovation is and some examples of current innovations disrupting our area of expertise. This week on MCF!

Show Notes
(by Toshal Thanawala)


Dr. Hwang is an internal medicine physician, and also an entrepreneur. Very early in his career he enrolled and completed his MBA and is a co-author of an influential book that talks about innovation in health care. He also has a company that delivers telemedicine. 

Early Influencers

Dr. Hwang very early in his life knew that he wanted to be doctor but along the career path he soon realized the shortcomings of the field. In spite of the talent present in the medical field, systemic issues that was holding doctors back from realizing their full potential and patients receiving best care possible. Hence he decided to explore the business aspect to come up with solutions for the problems in health care.

Problems with current Health Care System

Dr. Hwang believes that the problems stem from the way the health care system has been structured. The current model is an inconvenient, expensive model that acts on conditions retroactively. The model does not focus on health and wellness but managing sickness once it is established. 

Disruptive Innovation

Sustaining innovation is when companies try to innovate products that are appealing to the people, as well as highly profitable. At times, products may become more complex and successively more expensive. Disruptive innovation is providing a product that is good enough compared to the most expensive one, but maybe more convenient, less complex and cost effective. 

Innovation in Health Care

Dr. Hwang gives an example of nurse practitioners assisting patients with management of certain conditions and decreasing the load on physicians especially with the medical field experiencing shortage with primary care physicians. Innovation can be in the technology used or the actual business model itself. 

Musculoskeletal Health Care Issues

Dr. Hwang believes that in the musculoskeletal field the incentives to keep care in control of surgeons is high and hence there is an over prescription of complex and expensive care. The adherence to standard clinical practice guidelines is also low, plus difficult to practice as each patient presentation can be different. It is important to realign the financial incentives from payers to bring out a change in the industry. 

Innovation in Musculoskeletal Industry

Dr. Hwang believes that the two major facets of musculoskeletal industry that makes it amenable to disruptive innovation are, the possibility of self diagnosis and making more precise mechanical diagnosis. With the ability to make self diagnosis and self manage non acute conditions there can be digital platforms to assist patients. Also to find better models for mechanical assessment and avoid over reliance on imaging which has been found to be non reliable in diagnosis. Combining these two facets can lead to disruptive innovation in musculoskeletal health care industry.