U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette Says 21st Century Cures Act Will Fuel Modern Health Research

A bipartisan bill to streamline regulation and provide $8.75 billion for health research will speed up much-needed innovation in the healthcare industry, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, said during a joint gathering of the 10.10.10 and Prime Health communities.

The 21st Century Cures Act takes aim at regulatory and research funding practices that made sense in the early part of the 20th Century, but which do not accommodate nimble research techniques and the use of large, multi-site data sets.

DeGette fielded questions from the audience of nearly 100 healthcare entrepreneurs and leaders meeting at INDUSTRY, a collaborative workspace in Denver’s blooming RiNo District. She had attracted a special convening of Prime Health, Colorado’s Digital Health ecosystem, and 10.10.10, the organization, which fosters focus on “wicked problems” such as the nation’s healthcare system. Most questions sought to discover how the bill might remove barriers that Colorado innovators encounter, such as lack of funding and arcane rules of government agencies such as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

DeGette said her 21st Century Cures Act, which she co-sponsored in the House with Republican Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, was written after she and other members of the House Commerce Committee spent a year listening to the health research community. They heard about costly and time-consuming research review processes that discourage risk and complicate collaboration among different universities and research labs. They heard that funding favors research focused on single diseases and overlooks treatments that can be used across disease states. They learned it can cost $2 billion and ten years to bring a drug to market, much of that spent on late-stage trials that may be unnecessary.

She described a bill with many interconnected parts, not the least of which is a proposed infusion of $8.75 billion to fund “high-risk, high-reward” research that currently does not get funding under play-it-safe research funding rules. DeGette is hopeful of passage, despite the partisan atmosphere in Washington. She noted that the House passed the bill with 344 votes and that the Senate is fashioning its own complementary version of the legislation. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has said the bill stands a chance of becoming law in 2016, even thought it’s an election year.

DeGette said she was encouraged by the growing power of the digital health industry in Colorado. Before taking the microphone, she had heard Kimberly Gandy, MD, CEO of a digital health startup company, describe the support she received from Prime Health: mentors who helped her team hone their pilot proposal and their investor pitch and introduction to decision makers at health systems across the country. “What normally takes us a year to do, Prime Health put together in a month,” said Gandy, a pediatric heart surgeon who is leading Play-it Health, which has developed a personalized mobile software solution to simplify individuals’ health information and provide them with clear steps toward improving their health. Her company, currently headquartered in Kansas City, is looking to move to Denver to be closer to the digital health action, she said.

Also addressing the audience was Cheryl Kellond, a serial entrepreneur who participated in the 10.10.10 event focused on health earlier this year. She is putting together a “ninja team” to address the 3 percent of the population that accounts for 50 percent of healthcare costs.

Jeffrey Nathanson, CEO of Prime Health, said DeGette’s decision to explain her bill to the group is further evidence of the energy that is being amassed through Prime Health. “Prime Health has become a business ecosystem that is driving toward making Colorado the healthiest state in the nation and a hub for digital health innovation.”

Tom Higley, founder of 10.10.10, was pleased to see the progress being made in addressing problems outlined in his group’s February 2015 program on health issues. “Entrepreneurs today have more opportunities to deliver industry transforming innovations in health and healthcare than at any other time in human history. By engaging impact entrepreneurs, connecting them to health industry stakeholders and focusing their attention on wicked problems that can be addressed with market-based solutions, 10.10.10 acknowledges and embraces this historic moment. It was a privilege to co-host, with Prime Health, the Meetup featuring Congresswoman Diana DeGette as she outlined and discussed 21st Century Cures, the visionary legislation she co-sponsored that passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives.”

Colorado Digital Health Companies Impress Florida Hospital Executives During National Council of Presidents Meeting

Eight companies from Colorado’s digital health ecosystem presented their latest innovations to 250 Florida Hospital executives during the National Council of Presidents meeting in Orlando, Florida. The invitation-only competition drew healthcare executives from across the country to hear pitches from 23 health innovation companies.

Florida Hospital’s first ever Solution Company Presentations “shark tank” event was part of its biennial National Council of Presidents Conference, November 19th – 20th. The goal was to inspire the organization’s leaders, industry partners and community to help innovate care delivery models in areas focused around the Triple Aim – reducing cost, improving the consumer experience, increasing quality outcomes and enhancing patient relationships.

“Prime was asked to submit qualified ecosystem companies to help solve Florida Hospital’s key strategic challenges,” shared Jeffrey Nathanson, CEO of Prime Health. “Our team of 8 companies was quite impressive presenting their solutions. A constant question from fellow attendees: “What is going on in Colorado to have such innovative solution partners?”. I told them these companies were identified through our Value Integrator Model. We qualify, test and quantify value using these digital health products in the clinics and workflows of Colorado’s healthcare systems. We are pleased that Colorado’s digital health market leadership is being recognized.”

“We can’t solve today’s problems with yesterday’s thinking and we needed a faster pace method for introducing solutions to our executive leaders and providing a communication platform,” said Ashley Simmons, Director of Innovation Development at Florida Hospital. Many leads with the 23 companies who presented are already emerging within Florida Hospital toward next steps and potential partnerships. We look forward to reporting the number of engagements that come from this and more importantly, the impact on healthcare we make together.”

Ms. Simmons continued, “We were very impressed with the Prime Health companies who presented. These companies are in a ripe position to transform the future of healthcare with us.”

The eight Colorado digital health companies that presented were:

Founder and COO of My Rounding Solutions, David A. Marshall, stated, “We are very honored to be participants in the Florida Hospital National Council of Presidents as part of the Prime Health team, representing Colorado. MyRounding has continued to find tremendous value by being a part of the Prime Health ecosystem. The digital health community is thriving here in the state and we are proud to be working with Prime Health to extend that message and illustrate our success nationwide.”

“Telespine is very proud to be a Prime Health Partner in building the Colorado digital health ecosystem and representing Prime Health company innovation on the national stage at the Florida Hospital National Council of Presidents event,” said CEO, Mark Barnes. “The Florida Hospital system is obviously leading the charge through innovation and partnerships in creating true change for our country’s health and wellness. The event allowed us to highlight our core competencies in digital health in achieving the Triple Aim and also explore potential partnership opportunities with Florida Hospital.”

“We were thrilled to be part of the Colorado group of companies represented at the Florida Hospital National Council of Presidents,” said Carm Huntress, CEO, RxREVU, Inc. “It’s great to see the Colorado digital health ecosystem evolving to a point where it’s getting national recognition. This type of recognition continues to reinforce Prime Health and Colorado’s influence as being one of the best places to start and grow a digital health company. It has been a phenomenal home for us and we clearly recognize the impact its made on RxREVU’s growth and success.”

For more information, contact Leslie Reed at leslie@primehealthco.com.