News 5/2/14


MedStar becomes the fourth and final founding partner for 1776, a shared working space in Washington, DC for startups. The others are Microsoft, Comcast, and the City of DC. I’ve been told 1776 has grown extremely fast, using many of the lessons of 1871, a similar space in Chicago.1871, not to be outdone when it comes to healthcare, is dedicating 25,000 square feet to Matter as a health-focused co-working space. MedStar getting involved could start a great trend, especially if it’s even partially true that "MedStar Health clinicians and administrators will have a significant presence at the 1776 campus so they can actively work alongside the startups that are building solutions to health care and other major challenge areas." Providers are getting involved with health startup communities in more and more cities.


Telemedicine is facing an interesting issue in Idaho. The state is pursuing action against a physician who prescribed an antibiotic after a virtual visit, which violates the state’s rules. The doctor could lose her board certification. The incident in question involved Consul-a-Doctor, a company that was acquired later by Teladoc (Teladoc does not work in Idaho any more.) It’s an interesting case and one that highlights the stupidity of practice rules that vary from state to state. The root of the problem is that nobody wants to give up control over their fiefdom, so we’re stuck with huge variations in telemedicine laws from state to state. Adding in lobbies to protect local docs doesn’t help the cause of standardization. Docs get around some of the state rules by getting licensed in multiple states, but still some states can’t treat without doing a physical exam (new or existing patients.) The inconsistency only serves to create confusion and more cases like this, ultimately reducing access to safe and affordable telemedicine-based care.


AirStrip lands Texas Health Resources as a customer for its AirStrip ONE platform to provide a unified, mobile clinical view. This is especially valuable to systems that have acquired other hospitals and are running multiple EHRs. Having one poorly designed EHR to use is hard enough, but the challenge of navigating more than one is daunting.

StartupHealth published its most recent “Health Insights Update” last week, covering fundraising for healthcare in Q1 2014. What I get from it is that health investing keeps growing and more large funds are getting into it. There are some very large deals, but the majority are around $2 million and early stage.


Speaking of funding, London-based startup BigHealth (I’m impressed that domain was available) raises $3.3 million. The company is developing health programs and algorithms that utilize the data being generated by sensors, apps, and devices. The first target is sleep. This is a huge area that I think we’re going to see explode over the next five years with more and more data being generated from seemingly every angle. Another startup I recently heard about in the US doing this is Actigram.


StartupHealth company 1EQ, based in Washington, DC, launches a pregnancy tracking app. The twist is that the app is being "prescribed" at GW as part of a pilot. New pregnant patients are given the option or opportunity to download and use the app.

"The biggest gap in the innovation ecosystem isn’t funding." That’s a quote from Lesley Solomon of Brigham & Women’s. She’s speaking in reference to Pilot Shark Tank, an event held at Brigham to identify and help identify startups and get them pilots at Brigham. I agree with the sentiment about pilots and how valuable they can be in healthcare.


AdverseEvents raises $2 million. The company is helping pharma companies, payers, and providers to proactively identify and report potential drug safety issues.


Alignment Healthcare raises $125 million. The company is a year old and run by the former EVP of TriZetto, John Kao. Alignment works with healthacare organizations to transform how they deliver care: designing new processes, engaging partners, and implementing new models It’s a huge endeavor and I’m curious to see who they work with and how they work with customers.

Gigaom is busy with reports related to health and wellness. Here’s another one on quantified self, with sector roadmap. Data needs to flow and algorithms need to be written to turn data into something more usable.


Travis Good is an MD/MBA and co-founder of Catalyze. More about me.

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