Startups Moving Healthcare Forward

Earlier this month, David Jones spoke at Health Datapalooza IV in Washington, D.C.  The event brought together a diverse group of more than 2,000 data experts, technology developers, entrepreneurs, policy makers, health care system leaders, investors and community advocates to support innovative applications of health and health care data.  While much of the event’s content was focused on how big data will impact the future of healthcare, David joined Ryan Stewart of TripleTree and Marty Felsenthal of HLM Venture Partners to discuss how the business of investing in health care has changed.

An excerpt of an article by Eric Whitney of Colorado Public Radio is below:


Entrepreneurs At Health ‘Datapalooza’ Ask Feds For More Data

By Eric Whitney, Colorado Public Radio        Jun 06, 2013

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the agency’s latest liberation of data from its vast trove of health care information this week, making public for the first time price and quality specifics for 30 different out-patient procedures at hospitals nationwide.

But this data stream is not big enough or fast enough for some entrepreneurs.

“Thank-you, Secretary, for releasing 30 of 30 million things you need to release,” chided Jonathan Bush, CEO of practice management and health data company Athena Health.

Sebelius, who was speaking at the annual Health Datapalooza conference Monday in Washington, told Bush and hundreds of other tech entrepreneurs that the Obama administration is “a great believer that unlocking our data, turning it over to those of you that know how to formulate that data for policymakers and providers, is the best possible thing to do.”

The White House is trying to spur innovation by releasing more of its data from Medicare, Medicaid and other sources. It’s using the approach taken by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a prototype, hoping to trigger a blossoming of new products, services and businesses similar to what happened when that agency threw open the doors to its weather forecasting models and other data.

But Bush said the federal government also could learn from the private sector in how it shares valuable price and quality intelligence with entrepreneurs. Health plans, he added, are a lot more forthcoming with the kind of information care management companies like his need to steer patients to the best value and avoid inefficient operators.

“My hope is the pressure will build and eventually [HHS] will let go,” of more claims data, said Bush, who is a cousin of George W. Bush.

Datapalooza is an effort by “data liberators” in government, academia and private industry to build  pressure for more access to health care information like utilization rates, geographic anomalies and just about anything else the government and private industry knows about patients, payers and providers. The idea is that, in the hands of creative entrepreneurs, “lazy data” can be transformed into innovative new products and services.

The “conditions are aligned unlike they’ve ever been aligned before,” for health care transformation, said Steven Krein, a tech entrepreneur and co-organizer of Datapalooza. Out-of-control health care costs and Affordable Care Act initiatives to drive them down are creating new opportunities for data scientists to reduce waste and inefficiency, making money for themselves from the savings they can deliver to health plans, health care providers and patients.

Hospitals are willing to pay for new computer modeling software that predicts, for instance, which patients are most likely to be re-admitted within 30 days of discharge. Government penalties for high re-admission rates are creating that incentive, and if programmers can create effective models that cost less than hospitals would pay in penalties, hospitals come out ahead. So do patients, who benefit by not having to return hospitals. Health plans win by not having to pay for re-admissions.

“The world now recognizes that the critical component to driving transformation in this system that badly needs disruption is data,” agreed HHS Chief Technology Officer Bryan Sivak.

“Healthcare is very backward,” said technology Venture Capitalist David Jones of Chrysalis. The industry is probably two decades behind purely digital companies like Google and big retailers like WalMart in terms of being able to gather and analyze consumer data, and use to adapt to market demand and improve efficiency and competitiveness, he said.

More than 60 entrepreneurs showcased new data-driven healthcare applications……

The remainder of the article can be found here.