In the wake of massive industry change, the healthcare space is fertile ground for new technologies. The challenge is, innovative companies with groundbreaking ideas often have a hard time raising start-up capital, attracting development partners and gaining the traction they need to succeed.
Fortunately, we’re seeing exciting opportunities open up thanks to digital health incubators and innovation centers that are dedicated to fostering new growth. Only about one in 10 technology companies have a real chance at success. The trick is finding the one with the most potential, and providing the funds and resources it needs to succeed. Once that starts happening on a broader scale, we’ll see a whole new generation of Googles, Facebooks and Yahoos in health IT.
Rock Health is a San Francisco incubator funding the next generation of healthcare technologies. The company sets some lofty goals. On its website, Rock Health says, “We want to solve the biggest problems in healthcare. We want ideas that can reduce system costs by 50%, eliminate medical errors (all of them), cure or prevent diseases, make every one of us a doctor, cut the time it takes to bring a new therapy (digital or molecule) to market in half, and measure and report quality on a second-by-second basis.”
On the other coast, BluePrint is a New York-based accelerator dedicated to pairing talented young entrepreneurs with experienced venture capitalists. Here are just a few examples of companies BluePrint has helped get off the ground:
– Luminate Health gives patients digital access to lab results, with easy-to-read reports and personalized engagement tools.
– AidIn develops an online system to manage discharge planning, coordination and billing with nursing agencies.
– IntelligentM, which, like Voalte, is based in Sarasota, Florida, created an electronic bracelet that tracks hand washing among health workers so hospitals can improve hygiene and control the spread of infections.
At Voalte, we established a foothold in the industry based on the strong relationships we formed in our early years. Sarasota Memorial, Cedars-Sinai, University of Iowa, Texas Children’s, Massachusetts General, and other early adopters and development partners were crucial to our success. They gave us access to their clinicians and facilities. They let us pilot new technologies. They collaborated with us on how to integrate the smartphone functionality we all use in our personal lives with the secure, controlled, technological infrastructure of a hospital. They even let us fail, and instead of giving up on solving the tough problems, kept working with us to build better solutions.
As Voalte celebrates our fifth anniversary this month, the healthcare communication space is more exciting than ever. The major EMR vendors are embracing smartphones. Leading hospitals are opening innovation centers to test new technologies for physician communication, patient engagement, and advanced functions like bar coded medication administration.
Healthcare and technology go hand-in-hand. To bring about great change, it takes more than a great product. It also takes forward-thinking organizations coming together and growing together.