August 7, 2023

Douwe Jippes: 'Healthcare entrepreneurs don't know role of insurer’


Douwe Jippes: 'Healthcare entrepreneurs don't know role of insurer’

According to investor Douwe Jippes, many startups mistakenly believe they can approach a health insurance company directly to finance their innovation, but that's different from how it works. However, they still need that health insurer. Why? That's the topic of the symposium 'Innovation through the Lens of the Health Insurer' on March 30th.

Douwe Jippes: "Many healthcare entrepreneurs see the health insurer as the solution for healthcare innovation. The reality is more complex. The health insurer can stimulate transformation, but only to a certain extent. The health insurer can enter into contracts but, technically speaking, is not responsible for procuring specific solutions."

"If you want to create a sustainable revenue model as an entrepreneur, you must convince hospitals, healthcare institutions, and general practitioners that your product is a good solution."

According to him, it is crucial to understand that the interaction between the paying party, which is the health insurer, and the executing party, which is the healthcare institution, plays an important role in stimulating digital healthcare innovation. "You shouldn't sell to the health insurer, but they should be in your corner. Menno Jansen from CZ will explain how the health insurer works on March 30th."

Successful Collaboration

According to Jippes, the average healthcare entrepreneur needs a clearer vision of what the various stakeholders expect or want. "You arrive at a good solution by involving the market. This involves both the healthcare provider and the health insurer."

He cites the example of the telemonitoring DBC that came about thanks to all parties' collaboration. He believes that Personal Health Records (PGOs) have not succeeded because health insurers and healthcare institutions have yet to identify a significant common interest in them. "As a result, PGOs still rely on subsidies, which is not a good basis for sustainable financing."

Sustainable Financing

The wide range of subsidies and possibilities obscures the view of sustainable financing, according to Jippes. "Subsidies are good for getting started, but there must be visibility of sustainable financing. With our investment funds, we offer growth capital to achieve significant market development. This only involves introducing and commercially launching. These are great accelerators, just like subsidies. But we are not the ultimate solution. That is sustainable financing."


"At the symposium on March 30th, we will address how to communicate with a health insurer. What interests do they consider? Is the problem you are solving significant enough for the health insurer to dedicate time and attention to?"

"Health insurers often consider a market too small. We experienced this ourselves with our investment in MS Sherpa. Only when we could demonstrate the enormous savings in medication usage, there was interest."

According to Jippes, health insurers should not prescribe the ultimate solution to the major challenges in healthcare. "They cannot do that either. But it is a delicate process. Regarding telemonitoring, it is now being said that there are two or three good solutions on the market and that it's all settled. However, they do not cater to the entire market."

The symposium 'Innovation through the Lens of the Health Insurer' will occur on March 30th. In addition to investor Douwe Jippes and program manager Menno Jansen of CZ, healthcare entrepreneur Yvonne Sijm will speak about the role of the health insurer. Participation costs 99 euros.*