Group Funds A Health IT “Ecosystem”

Posted on June 13, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she’s served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Here’s an interesting effort aimed at enriching the health IT idea pool.  A diverse group of players, ranging from universities and investors to officials with HHS, have come together to create an initiative intended to support health and wellness entrepreneurs.

The venture, StartUp Health, will be run by former Time Warner Chairman and CEO Steve Krein. The initiative will be part of Startup America Partnership, a private sector initiative working to foster U.S. entrepreneurship throughout the U.S.

I must admit I’m not particularly impressed to hear that StartUp Health’s first official efforts will be a series of three roundtables. While discussing challenges and opportunities in developing a roadmap for health and wellness startups, I tend to be more impressed by direct action (such as cutting checks).

On the other hand, maybe I’m being narrow-minded. I am intrigued by the second planned roundtable, dubbed DC to VC, which will be hosted by HHS CTO Todd Park. DC to VC will link senior officials and entrepreneurs. If I can swing attending that one, you can be I’ll be there.

And you can’t beat the roster of technical, creative and financial minds involved, including IT visionary Esther Dyson, Digitas Health Co-founder Linda Holliday, Health 2.0 co-founders Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya and health technology startup accelerators Rock Health and Blueprint Health.

While the kind of stuff this group will foster might not connect directly with the topic of this blog — e.g. mainstream EMRs and their users — from what I’ve seen health and wellness 2.0 startups are having a big influence on consumer use of health data.

Eventually, as such demand crests, EMR designers will need to consider everything from PHRs to sharing aggregated data to providing patient analytics tools. So it’s wise to keep your eye on such ventures, even if they’re more into touchy-feely consumer technology at present. The time will come when these kind of sites and tools will be just as important to medicine as clinical decision support tools. Mark my words on this one.