Silicon Valley has spent years promising to disrupt the $3.5 trillion health-care industry.
In 2018, venture investors — from the Bay Area, Boston and elsewhere — poured billions of dollars into the sector, funding start-ups that aim to bring down the costs of care while improving quality and access to the right providers. Some of the hottest trends include virtual care solutions, wearables, medication management apps and new tools that allow physicians to engage with their patients between visits.
That all sounds great. And software is supposed to improve every industry. But when it comes to health care, it leaves one important question unanswered: Why aren't we getting any healthier?
Recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that life expectancy is dropping for the first time in decades. Suicide, alcoholism and the opioid epidemic are all partly to blame. Millennials are also overweight at a level that has them on pace to be part of the most obese generation in history. And despite anti-tobacco campaigns, smoking continues to be a problem, with some deaths attributable to chronic lower-respiratory diseases.
CNBC spoke to a half-dozen researchers and venture capitalists to get their view as to why an increase in capital isn't having the desired effects on society.