Mark Cuban’s Comments on Healthcare IT at SXSW

Neil Versel has a great little writeup on Mark Cuban on Forbes talking about hospitals inability to innovate at SXSW. Here’s a quote from Neil’s article:

“Hospitals and healthcare, right now they react and respond to regulations and insurance. That’s understandable, but I think technology is coming on so quickly that there’s a lot of opportunity for disruption,” Cuban said.

“The challenge is the length of the sales cycle and how to introduce disruption, because [health systems] are going to fight it. That’s the catch-22 right now,” Cuban said.

I understand that a lot of people don’t like the way Mark Cuban approaches things, but the guy is really smart. One thing I’ve found about super successful people like him is that they’re almost always really good at taking something and narrowing it down to it’s core component. I think that’s what he did with the challenge of healthcare innovation.

Mark’s right that the sales cycle for getting a new piece of technology implemented into hospitals is ugly, brutal and slow. Some people argue that this is a good thing because we’re “protecting the lives of our patients.” While we should be thoughtful on how we implement new innovations in healthcare because lives are literally at risk, what about the lives that could be saved by these innovations? Shouldn’t we worry about those lives as well?

The real challenge isn’t that we’re afraid of some risky innovation harming patients. It’s a mixture of fear of change, fear of the unknown, no process for implementing new items, no bandwidth to implement new innovations, lack of ambition (at least by some), lack of budget for innovation, and then regulations and concerns over patient risk.

Do you agree or disagree? Will healthcare be blind-sided by something that will provide new avenues of innovation?

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • The hospital industry is not interested in technology innovations that improve the patient’s experience, knowledge, access to their own information, or control over their own information. All you have to do is notice that you can have a direct relationship online with virtually every other kind of business on the planet, but not with most hospitals, physicians, labs, or other healthcare companies. They control us, they do not serve us.

    Patients should be able to set their own consent rules for disclosing PHI using a single, independent consent management system not controlled by any provider; should be able to download all personal information from hospital EHRs, labs, pharmacies, and health data holders 24/7 automatically; should be able to update any insurance and demographic info automatically; be able to communicate privately and securely with health professionals who are treating them; should be able to get an accounting for all disclosures of PHI from EHRs for TPO; be able to segment and selectively share sensitive information; and be able to block the disclosure of PHI to insurers if they pay for treatment out-of-pocket.

    Many of the innovations I listed above are rights Congress granted patients in HITECH, but that industry and the government have subsequently blocked or ignored. The reason hospitals do this is they and the other healthcare and HIT industries think their customers are insurance companies, large employers, and government, not individual patients. But hospitals that build systems to serve patients first will be the only ones that survive and thrive.

    Hospitals using technology that destroys the intimate trust relationship between a physician and a patient by selling & disclosing PHI w/o consent may be ascendent now, but they will be replaced by hospitals with truly patient-centered, patient-controlled technology systems. Doctors won’t stand being mere data entry clerks forever nor will patients tolerate being spied on ‘farmed’ for sensitive personal data forever.

    Current HIT systems are designed to feed the massive, hidden health data broker industry: “100K health data suppliers covering 780K live daily data feeds” buy, sell, and trade PHI to create intimate longitudinal profiles of 500M people sold to “5K customers”. See:

    The current HIT model is NOT Medicine; it destroys the practice of Medicine by secretly data mining the patient-physician relationship. The practice of Medicine only works when it is based on a trusted relationship between two people. Secret data mining of our most intimate personal data for commercial and government use without patient knowledge or consent is unethical, it betrays the patient, is illegal (HIPAA is the floor for privacy, not the ceiling), dehumanizing, and destructive of our human need to feel safe and trust a physician, so we can tell her/him about the problems we have with our minds and bodies.

  • All healthcare is local…local is the antithesis of IT automation. So healthcare can’t be automated…right? The taxi industry is capital intensive and as local as you can get…that is until it met Uber.

    Healthcare is on the verge of a network effect level of innovation. Deb – many of the points you make, we’re planning to demonstrate right in Austin. We should connect.


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