With New Fund, Aurora Looks to Deepen Support for Health Startups

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prior to being treated, and decreases in the overall time patients spend in the emergency room,” he says.

According to Mike Rodgers, director of strategic innovation at Aurora, it has invested in EmOpti, as well as two other startups based in the Milwaukee area: Novascan and APN Health.

Rodgers says co-developing products and services alongside startups is where he believes Aurora can add the most value. He says the health system has had positive experiences working with “early-stage companies [that] have an idea or have started to build a prototype for a solution, and they really need feedback directly from a physician, caregiver, or even patients.”

Aurora is also working with at least one local startup that isn’t focused specifically on healthcare, Rodgers says. The health system has recently started using software developed by Milwaukee-based Ideawake, which makes tools allowing employees at medium- to large-sized organizations to suggest and receive feedback on ideas for new products and initiatives. Aurora uses Ideawake’s software to facilitate “crowdsourcing ideas from caregivers on solutions to problems and challenges,” Rodgers says.

Numerous other U.S. health systems, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Hospital have in recent years introduced or expanded programming for healthtech startups. While Aurora lacks the stature of those two organizations, it has nevertheless demonstrated that it believes providing early-stage companies with capital and access to its healthcare professionals can be beneficial for all parties involved. And now, with its new $5 million InvestMKE fund, Aurora appears to be even better positioned to help move healthcare innovations forward.

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