Startup health logoAurora

Startup Health, the health/care entrepreneur development company which has helped launch over 100 health/tech companies since “starting up” in 2011, announced a collaboration with Aurora Health Care today.

This is one of the first ventures of its kind, linking up health/tech entrepreneurs with a health care provider organization as a living lab, or in the words of Unity Stoakes, Startup Health Co-Founder, a “collaboratory.”

I spoke with Unity before the announcement went public, and learned that Startup Health sought a partner with shared values focused on getting innovations into patient care that could transform the healthcare delivery system.

“Every single person we met at Aurora had a very aligned attitude with what needs to happen to transform the delivery of care,” Unity said. “This is what immediately connected us to them.”

Aurora is an integrated delivery system, and thus encompasses a broad range of functions for testing and innovations: as a payor, the organization can evaluate new ways to approach revenue cycle management. As a clinical laboratory provider, technology developers could innovate a new test or piece of equipment to improve workflow and productivity. And, as a health system touching over 1.2 million patient lives, Aurora gives the Startup Health entrepreneurs a literal living lab for patient care. “We care about getting the clinicians engaged in the process,” Unity said. “There’s all sorts of innovation going on within health systems that can get trapped and doesn’t have a way to make it through to the patient. We have an opportunity to foster the innovation that’s going on in Aurora and make sure it gets to the patient population more quickly,” he anticipates.

“We hope this becomes a model for the healthcare industry so that we shake up how early stage innovation gets validated, scaled and discovered throughout the health care industry,” Unity envisioned.

Hospital costs in consumer survey researchHealth Populi’s Health Points:  Startup Health has fostered some of the health/care and wellness space’s most innovative companies, like Avado (acquired by WebMD), Gritness (acquired by Under Armour), and Basis (acquired by Intel). Unity and Co-Founder Steve Krein were the founders of Organized Wisdom, one of the pioneers among healthcare social networks.

The Aurora Health Care sync-up will be a test-bed for other alliances Startup Health can strike up with payors, labs, wellness companies, consumer goods firms, and the growing array of retail health companies serving a growing consumer based taking on greater payment and clinical decision making.

Note the wordle, which is based on a recent survey of consumers asked the question, “could you please tell me what comes to mind when you think of hospitals?” The top answers are “expensive,” “good,” “money,” “greedy,” “necessary,” among others.

For the hospital sector, what Aurora can bring is trusted and strategic connectivity between the consumer, patient and caregiver back to the healthcare system, which is increasingly seen as lacking transparency and good value. This venture can foster innovative solutions for consumers through the Aurora health system, which can help drive innovation, value and shared decision-making between providers and patients.