More Health Systems Are Dedicating Money to Venture Capital Funds

Health systems are investing in innovation. You’re seeing it in Dallas-Fort Worth, most notably with the Children’s Health investment initiative with startup tech companies that can change how they deliver care. Children’s has already sunk considerable capital into the urgent care on-demand service Mend and the data analysis startup known as Pieces Technology.

Modern Healthcare looked into what other large systems are doing throughout the country and came away with similar findings: hospital chains are getting into the innovation game, putting up their own money to help build young companies that modernize their services.

Cedars Sinai Health System, for instance, received 500 applications for 11 spots in a mentorship startup investment program. Irvine, Calif.-based St. Joseph Health paired with Western Digital, a large and local employer, to give its employees access to medical records and other health information. Now, the provider is looking to scale it across its platform. The magazine discusses venture funds similar to what Children’s is doing—the Inova Health System in Virginia launched a $100 million effort to pair with entrepreneurs and Washington’s Providence Health & Services has put $150 million toward that same thing.

Quoting the report:

Venture investing, whether in IT, biotechnology or now, healthcare, has its own cycle. Whether health systems and other companies will remain in the space through the inevitable booms and busts remains to be seen. “The question will be the staying power of those strategies,” said Steve Kraus, a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. “I see them retreating in downturns.”

You can bet these topics will be among the Secrets of Health Innovation panel at Startup Week this Wednesday, which will be moderated by Health Wildcatters’ CEO Hubert Zajicek. He’ll speak to Shawn Lovelady of Children’s; Dr. Tricia Nguyen of Texas Health Resources; and Dr. Carl Couch of Baylor Scott & White Health.


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