Panel: Healthcare Innovation Has Lagged, But Future Could Be Bright

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implementing its technology at the hospitals and clinics that expressed a desire to purchase it.

One major advantage for companies that sell to healthcare providers through Avia is that sales cycles tend to be shorter than they are when contracting directly with hospitals. Through Avia’s process, a deal can be closed in about five months, Le said. Hospitals acting on their own typically take at least a year.

One startup that Avia has worked with is Mountain View, CA-based HealthLoop, which develops digital tools that hospitals can use to communicate with patients while they are recovering from treatment. Le said it only took 72 days to get a contract signed between HealthLoop and one of Avia’s member health systems.

Ryne Natzke, a senior director at HealthX Ventures, said during a separate panel discussion in August that sales cycles to tend to be long when hospitals go it alone as they explore purchasing new technology, and that can be a challenge for the types of startups in which his fund invests.

One health system that belongs to Avia—and in May invested in the organization—is Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, which is based in the Milwaukee area. Froedtert made the investment through its hub for digital health services, Inception Health, where Mike Anderes serves as chief operating officer. Anderes, who was the third panelist in Thursday’s discussion, said that his group has made a couple of other investments in healthcare companies. Inception Health’s primary goal is not to maximize monetary returns, he said. It is instead to work with with technology-focused individuals and companies to turn their ideas into products that can be used at Froedtert and other healthcare providers, he said.

“Our view is that mostly what these entrepreneurs [and] innovators want is a clinical platform,” Anderes said. “They want to get data. They want to prove what they’re doing actually works.”

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