• WisBusiness

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

 2:00 PM 

Burrill: Wisconsin has solid foundation for healthcare innovation

Wisconsin has a solid foundation of its science research and investment to bring innovative healthcare solutions to the market, according to Steve Burrill, CEO of Burrill & Company, speaking at a Wisconsin delegation VIP dinner Tuesday night at the BIO International Convention in Boston.

Burrill is a 1966 graduate of UW-Madison and has his own global financial services firm serving the life sciences industry. He said Wisconsin's angel investment in health care innovation is something few states have. But he said Wisconsin needs to do even more in early stage and venture capital to deal with the challenges in our health care system.

Burrill said Wisconsin needs to do more work in technology transfer and venture capital and discovery funds to get the "disruptive" health care technology to the market, as the U.S. grapples with challenges and costs in health care.

"We have a system that can't afford increased health care costs," Burrill said. "It's not just a U.S. problem, it's a global problem."

He said the U.S. spends $3 trillion annually on health care, with the cost expected to rise to $5 trillion in the next five years, consuming 20 percent of the country's GDP.

"We have some interesting decisions to make in the future, especially when it comes to the aging population," said Burrill.

He said that includes financial as well as moral issues. For example, he said society will have to decide on whether to spend limited health care dollars on end-of-life care for an 85-year-old person or for prenatal care of a newborn.

"We have a health care system that's really a sickness care system, and that's dysfunctional," Burrill said.

He said in the next 10 years new innovations, especially in the areas of patient-controlled information, will convert the model of sickness care into one of preventative health care. As an example, he cited ECG readers on smartphones that a cardiologist can read in real time,

He also said companies are finding ways of saving money on health care by providing employees with wellness incentives, not only reducing the cost of employee health plans, but also encouraging healthier lifestyles.

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