Khosla reasserts controversial vision

04 DEC 2012
vinod khosla 3

LIVE FROM mHEALTH SUMMIT, WASHINGTON DC: Vinod Khosla, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems and a high-profile investor, used his presentation to reiterate a radical, patient-centric view of healthcare which he envisages will initially be delivered by mobile technology.

Khosla repeated his controversial comment from earlier this year that “80 percent of what doctors can do can be replaced”. Instead patients can do much themselves with the aid of technical innovation, he argued. “Patients will become the CEOs of their own health,” said Khosla.

Khosla made his reputation as an investor, as well as building a considerable fortune, by backing networking firms in the nineties. His current investment portfolio includes health technology firms as well as those in the cleantech sector.

In the short term, Khosla says the move to patient-centric healthcare will come from a number of innovations, most of which involve mobile technology. He gave using a smartphone as an ECG, for taking an eye test and predicting a possible asthma attack as examples. He summarised these innovations as “lots of little things”.

Indeed he described Alivecor, which has developed a heart monitor commonly described as the “iPhone ECG”, as being “clumsy point innovation”, a curious comment given he is an investor in the company, according to Khosla Ventures’ website.

Khosla’s comments earlier this year about doctors sparked an angry reaction from health professionals which does not seem to have bothered him, or led to a compromise in his views.

His vision of healthcare is currently at version 1.0. By 2025, it will be on approximately version 6.0, he said. Predicting that future today would be like predicting the iPhone when we were in the eighties, Khosla argued.

“I will be wrong on specifics but directionally right. There is no question that this change will happen,” he said.

His current investments in mobile health are Jawbone, Zyomed, Cellscope, Misfit Wearables and Verifica-BG, in addition to Alivecor.


Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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