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Are Healthcare Orgs Dumping Today’s Interoperability Tech?

Posted on December 8, 2016 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

Recently, I took a survey on interoperability issues sponsored by a health IT organization. And one of their questions seemed so interesting — to me at least — that I thought I’d share it with you.

As part of the survey, the HIT group asked how healthcare organizations planned to split their future investments in interoperability, on a scale ranging from 20% technology/80% services to 100% technology. (In the “services” category, they were looking for investments which would transform core technologies to achieve higher value interoperability goals, such as improved clinical workflow integration or significant practice outcomes.)

As I see it, this was not only a good but a provocative question as well. On the surface, I admit, it sounds like a routine query, which attempts to get a feel for what resources healthcare groups may already have invested in interoperability and how they plan to support those investments. Looked at that way, it was a fairly routine inquiry as such surveys go.

But I believe that there’s another way to look at this question, and I bet the authors did too. To my mind, the question is really evaluating whether respondents think current interoperability technology will ever meet their needs, and how far along they are in making that decision. In other words, answering this question says a lot about the strategy and vision for the future, not just how you plan to keep the infrastructure running.

How does this work? To choose one obvious example, organizations that expect to spend 100% of their future interoperability budget on new technology obviously aren’t fans of the technologies available today. That suggests, to me, that they’ve also lost patience to a greater or lesser degree with other current interoperability approaches like FHIR or the use of HIE technology. They probably doubt their current EHR vendor will ever play ball either.

Meanwhile, organizations that expect to spend 80% of the future interoperability budget on related services may be making the opposite statement. Either they are satisfied that the technology they’ve got is at least performing adequately, can be enhanced to perform adequately or can be repurposed if the right services are put in place. The difference between the two may be as simple as whether they’re in a strong partnership with the right vendor, or a difference in philosophy, but either way this group is hunkered down.

As for those in the middle, who expect to vote 40% to 80% of their budget to new technology, it’s harder to read where they’re headed. But assuming the health IT organization repeats the survey in future years, it will be interesting to how the organizations in the middle progress. My guess is that over the next few years, surveys like these will tell us pretty definitively whether current approaches to interoperability can survive.

Farzad Mostashari Launches New Startup Company Aledade – A Physician-Led ACO in a Box

Posted on June 18, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I know when I first heard that Farzad Mostashari landed at the Brookings Institution after leaving his position as National Coordinator, I couldn’t imagine it being Farzad’s long time home. However, it was a really smart short term landing spot that would give him the opportunity to prepare for his next adventure.

We just learned that Farzad is now entering the startup world with the launch of a new company called Aledade which partners with primary care doctors to form ACOs. In a blog post introducing the startup, Farzad said “The world of start-ups may not be the usual path for those leaving a senior federal post, but it’s the right decision.” I’m not sure the career path of former senior federal employees, but I think the startup world is going to fit Farzad really well. Plus, who would you rather have leading your ACO efforts than Farzad?

Maybe we should have been able to predict this move if we’d listened closely to Neil Versel’s interview with Farzad Mostashari at HIMSS. As Neil comments, “Always the champion of the little guy in healthcare, Mostashari also brought up the notion of physician-led ACOs, or, as he called it, the “Davids going up against the Goliaths.””

Aledade has received $4.5 million in investment from Venrock and the company is targeting four areas of the country: Delaware, Arkansas, Maryland and the metro New York area (not surprising considering Farzad’s past connection to NYC).

What’s also interesting is that Aledade is building their financial model on a performance model. They aren’t requiring any up-front cost to physicians and instead are opting to make money when the physicians realize savings. I’ll be really interested to see how this works out in practice. Many of the savings that ACOs have realized could be considered fuzzy math. Although, maybe Aledade will just take a percentage of the additional ACO payments the physician ACO receives.

I’ll be interested to see what technologies come out of Aledade. I can’t imagine them launching a full EHR and so they’ll have to integrate whatever they do with dozens of EHR companies. This will be a tremendous challenge. Will they build the technology in house or just partner with an outside vendor?

I’ve heard Farzad say that the move towards value based reimbursement was happening quicker than most of us realize and that the fee for service and value based reimbursement models can’t happen at the same time. The launch of Aledade is a great example that he’s not just paying lip service, but he’s fully committed to this change.

Health IT Venture Funding For EMRs At Low Ebb

Posted on January 17, 2014 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

For several years, most health IT venture funding has focused either on EMRs or data and network infrastructure to support EMRs.  With the EMR market arguably completely saturated, it seems the money is flowing in a different direction.

According to a new report by Mercom Capital Group covered in iHealthBeat, health IT venture capital funding hit  $2.2 billion across 571 deals in 2013, nearly double the $1.2 billion and 163 deals executed in 2012.

So where did the money go? According to Mercom, consumer-centric health IT companies raised $1.1 billion, personal health companies raised $198 million and social health companies raised $166 million last year.  The mobile healthcare sector raised almost $564 million, not surprising at all given the speed at which mobile health is accelerating.

Meanwhile, roughly $1.1 billion was raised by medical practice centric companies, including $179 million by population health companies, $162 million but practice management companies and a scant $166 million by EMR companies.

According to the report the top five venture funded companies of 2013 were Evolent Health, which raised $100 million, Practice Fusion, which raised $85 million, Fitbit, which raised $73 million, MedSynergies, which raised $65 million, and Proteus Digital Health, which raised $45 million.

So, as it turns out, Practice Fusion took the lion’s share of EMR venture funding last year, leaving the rest of the industry to scavenge for what remained in terms of VC interest.

What does it say in terms of the health of the EMR business?  Well, it’s not necessarily a sign of anything terribly negative in terms of EMR vendors’ future; after all, you’re not seeing a lot of new EMR companies jumping into the business, for good reason.

On the other hand, it does suggest that the market for EMRs has solidified, and is not perceived to have dramatic growth potential by VCs.  I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised or concerned for that matter. If EMR vendors aren’t in explosive growth mode at this point, it’s just because they’re serving the customers they’ve got. It could be worse.

VentureHealth Launches New Crowdfunding Platform for Healthcare

Posted on May 24, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I was recently sent the press release (embedded below) about a new healthcare crowdfunding platform called VentureHealth. I’ve long thought that healthcare is one of the areas that could benefit from Crowdfunding the most. Largely because many patients (the crowd) have an interest in solving big problems in healthcare. So, the crowd could come together to help fund solutions to the world’s most deadly and pernicious diseases.

However, VentureHealth takes a bit of a different approach to Crowdfunding in Healthcare. Instead of focusing on patients funding healthcare entrepreneurs (which isn’t really possible yet because of crowdfunding laws), they are focused on enabling accredited investors who want to invest in healthcare startups. This is a smart idea because many doctors likely fit into the accredited investor category.

Unfortunately, having accredited investors is the only way to do crowdfunding today. However, I think this could be a good step for healthcare. If you can get a crowd of doctors backing innovation in healthcare, then you’re more likely to see success.

We’ll see how VentureHealth does over time, but it’s cool that they also announced in the press release below that the helped Channel Medsystems raise part of a series B round of funding. They also have a couple exits listed on their portfolio page including the popular BodyMedia. I’ll be interested to see how Venture Health does over time.

VentureHealth Launches New Model for Funding Healthcare Innovations 

Individual Investors Can Now Tap Into Previously Inaccessible Life Sciences Deals 

San Jose, Calif. – May 17, 2013 – VentureHealth, an online healthcare investment portal for accredited investors, today announced a new model for equity crowdfunding.  Focused on innovations that dramatically improve clinical outcomes, VentureHealth is the first equity crowdfunding portal founded by professional investors.  The investment platform offers qualified investors access to life sciences deals that traditionally were reserved for venture capitalists.

VentureHealth is led by a seasoned team with extensive success in the healthcare industry.  Mir Imran, Co-Founder and Managing Director, is a prolific medical innovator who has founded more than 20 life sciences companies and holds more than 200 patents.  Mir is also the founder of InCube Labs, a multi-disciplinary research lab that develops breakthrough medical technologies, and InCube Ventures, a life sciences venture fund.  Andrew Farquharson, Co-Founder and Managing Director of VentureHealth, is an investor and entrepreneur with two decades of experience building, restructuring and acquiring companies in life sciences.  A Harvard MBA, Andrew is also a founding member of InCube Ventures and an advisor to InCube Labs.  Talat Imran, the third Co-Founder and Managing Director, is an accomplished entrepreneur in the world of digital media.

“Venture capital for early stage life sciences companies has dried up in the last few years, and promising companies are always looking for investors.  VentureHealth has the potential to change how healthcare innovations are funded, which is a win for both entrepreneurs and investors,” said Mir Imran, Co-Founder and Managing Director.

“We founded VentureHealth so that physicians and other accredited investors can invest in the most compelling biomedical innovations,” said Andrew Farquharson, Co-Founder and Managing Director. “This model gives individuals access to high-quality deals, investing on terms offered to professional VCs.  It’s a paradigm shift and, if we’re successful, this could change the landscape for biomedical financing.”

VentureHealth is also announcing today that it raised $875,000 as part of a Series B round for Channel Medsystems, a start-up developing next generation cryoablation technologies.

“We love this new approach,” said Dan Burnett, Founder of Channel Medsystems. “VentureHealth is very attractive for companies like ours because it creates new financing options, and makes the whole funding ecosystem less VC dependent. That is a very big deal to entrepreneurs.”

In launching the online portal, VentureHealth is able to expand the community of investors while offering a limited number of carefully selected investment opportunities at any given time.

Astro Tellerserial entrepreneur and scientist who oversees Google[x]Google’s audacious ideas lab and “moonshot factory,” is not affiliated with VentureHealth but sees the potential of the model.  “Democratizing access to private markets is a powerful concept, and VentureHealth gets us a step closer to this vision.  It’s opening doors for individual investors, giving them access to deals they wouldn’t be able to participate in otherwise.  Even more interesting, it’s giving these investors a forum to interact and engage with the community.  There’s no doubt that 100 qualified people evaluating a deal make a better decision than one individual investor.”

Registered potential investors can log into www.venturehealth.com to see the most current offerings and to sign up to receive notifications when new investments become available. Those seeking life science investment opportunities must understand the risks associated with equity investments and are encouraged to consider investment diversification.

# # #

About VentureHealth

VentureHealth is an online venture fund platform for accredited investors who want access to breakthrough opportunities in the $2.5 trillion US healthcare sector.  Based in Silicon Valley, the firm was founded by professional investors with strong track records, who are passionate about improving healthcare. The team vets investments based on its deep experience in company building, and is incentivized by the quality of deals, not quantity. The time has come for offline fundraising to move online. For more information please visit www.VentureHealth.com.

Meddik, BodyMedia Announce Recent Fundings

Posted on June 1, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Meddik, a startup still in its beginning stages, announced on May 24th that it has raised $750K in seed funding. Meddik is basically a system where people can easily search for health information and receive support. Consumers can asks questions and get answers from others. Meddick believes that “we’re all connected by our health experiences — when we get sick, when we’re injured, or when we care for a loved one.” This startup allows users to share these experiences to help others, as well as find help themselves.

There was quite a few contributors to the $750K that was raised. The people and companies that donated money included: Chris Dixon, Nat Turner, Zach Weinberg, Bob Stern, Vivek Garipalli, Collaborative Fund, Founder Collective, Great Oaks, and Silicon Badia.

According to Co-founder Tim Soo, Meddik originally was supposed to be a Google Search engine for health. However, Soo, and fellow Co-founder Ben Shyong, decided that their “scope was too wide” and scaled it down. The launch is set for later this summer.

Wearable body sensors are becoming more popular, thus, the number of companies developing and releasing them is increasing. BodyMedia is one of these companies and recently raised a $12 million funding round that was led by Comcast Ventures. This is a new investment for Comcast Ventures. Draper Fisher, Jurvetson, ePlanet, Draper Triangle Ventures, Ascension Health Ventures, and InCube Ventures were among other investors from this round.

BodyMedia has a variety of products, the most recent being BodyMedia FIT, which is an on-body monitoring system. It tracks the users’ activity level, but as a result of this funding, the company plans to expand its functions and other products to help with chronic diseases, remote elder care, and sleep disorders. Christine Robins, CEO of the company, said concerning the development of these new products:

The emerging convergence of healthcare, technology and consumerism provides an ideal launching pad for us to build on that heritage by introducing new body monitoring solutions tailored to managing a much broader range of health issues.

The company launched in 1999. Before this $12 million funding round, BodyMedia had raised $37 million over the years. BodyMedia also received federal funding because of the company’s work on diabetes prevention. Altogether, $49 million has been raised by the company.

PatientKeeper Gets $6 million

Posted on January 13, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This happened last month, but I wanted to make sure we made note of it as part of listing all the Healthcare IT investments that are happening.

Waltham, MA-based health IT company PatientKeeper announced today that it has added $6 million in growth financing, from Flybridge Capital Partners, New Enterprise Associates and Whitney & Company.

PatientKeeper had previously raised a $13 million round in 2009. I find a company like PatientKeeper really interesting since they aren’t an EHR company, but they have a lot of services that many healthcare organizations get from their EHR company. I’ll be interested to see how well they can do with this sort of best of breed approach to healthcare information systems.

On their site they claim to have 40,000 physician users and counting. That’s a lot of physicians using their software. I wonder what their road map is for the future. I’ll have to find them at HIMSS and learn more.

Jawbone Gets $40 million in Funding

Posted on January 4, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

These next couple of posts are going to be a little dated, but I want to make sure I’m getting all of the various large funding happenings in healthcare IT and I only have so many hours in a day to post these things. Plus, hopefully I’ll add a little insight into what’s happening.

As reported by Lauren Goode on AllThings D, Jawbone received $40 million in funding from Deutsche Telekom, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Yuri Milner and investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Those are some really big name investors that are dipping into the healthcare space. A really great sign for those considering whether health IT is a place worth investing in right now.

What’s interesting is that Jawbone was still able to close this round of funding even after the huge issues they’ve had with their UP fitness wristband. My favorite write up of the Jawbone UP issues was from Michael Arrington. Basically, the company issued a full refund to anyone and they stopped selling the Jawbone UP. Even with all of that they still get $40 million in funding.

The other oddity I’m not sure about is the CEO Hosain Rahman talking about more healthcare products coming out and also some in the audio market. $40 million can do a lot of interesting things. Whether they become profitable and a wise investment is another story. Regardless of their profitability, I’ll be interested to see what other healthcare products they come out with and what they learned from the issues they experienced with the Jawbone UP.

Digital Health Investment Year in Review

Posted on January 2, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The people at Rock Health have put together a great little slide presentation taking a look at some of the major investment that’s been happening in health IT startup companies in 2011. Check it out below.

Lots of really interesting movement in this area including some major EHR software companies getting a bunch of money. I’m personally looking for some health IT startups that are looking for funding in the next 6 months. So, if you’re a startup company in the healthcare space, I’d love to hear from you. I’m not going to be investing myself, but I’m working on something that will interest health IT startups.

The best part of this slide presentation is that I think we’re just getting started in health IT investment. Digital health investment is going to be even bigger in 2012.

Esther Dyson Reason for Health IT Investment

Posted on December 19, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

If you do anything in the IT investing world and in particular the health IT investment world, then you’ve no doubt seen the name of Esther Dyson before. She’s a real power in the investing world and one of the smartest people I’ve seen and heard. So, I was intrigued to read this interview with Esther Dyson.

One question that really interested me was this one that speaks to why she’s so interested in health IT.

BI: As a pioneer in the Internet space, why the connection to health?

ED: It’s the most intellectually interesting and financially rewarding. I don’t do this for the money, but I expect it to be profitable. But it’s also fundamentally more interesting and fundamentally more valuable. I’m not sure how to fix education, but I do think I can impact people [by helping them live healthier].

It has been interesting to see how many recent investments she’s made in healthcare. Here’s the list:
Applied Proteomics, Genomera, Habit Labs, HealthEngage, Health Loop, HealthRally, HealthTap, Keas, Medico, Medivo, Omada Health, Organized Wisdom, PatientsLikeMe, Resilient, Tocagen, Mequibrium, VitaPortal.ru, GreenGoose, PatientsKnowBest, and Valkee.

I think Esther is right about healthcare IT investing will be profitable and also will really impact people. For these reasons, I think we’re about to see an explosion in health IT investment in startup companies that we hadn’t seen before.

$11.5 Million for Health Questions Site – HealthTap

Posted on December 6, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Another day and another funding announcement for a healthcare company. The company of the day is HealthTap which just announced a $11.5 million series A round of funding from some big name venture capital companies. I think the headline on the HealthTap website describes their company really well:

Answers from 6,000 U.S. licensed physicians
No waiting room

I know there are a lot of people that want to get answers from a physician, but don’t want to have to go to the office. There’s little doubt that patients are going to want a service like this. I know I’d prefer to be seen electronically too. I hate the idea of having to go into the office.

My only question for HealthTap is how well they’re going to do at getting the physicians on board to answer the health questions. I’m sure that many doctors will be worried to participate since they don’t trust the online world and are probably really afraid of any real or perceived liability of practicing medicine online

Plus, it seems like the answers to the questions are free for members of the site. So, I’m not quite sure who is going to end up paying for the service.

The good thing for HealthTap is they now have $11.5 million to figure out the answers to those questions.