Prime Health Welcomes Startup Health into the Colorado Health Innovation Ecosystem

On Monday, Startup Health announced that it was opening its second regional affiliate, Startup Health Colorado, in partnership with Children’s Hospital Colorado, CU Anschutz, and UCHealth. The offices of the new affiliate will be located on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, where Startup Health Colorado will work with its partners to develop and launch at least 30 health-tech startups.

At Prime Health, we have admired Startup Health since the founding of our organization. Over the past few years, I’ve personally attended several Startup Health events, and have had the opportunity to speak with Steve Krein, the CEO of Startup Health, on many occasions.

In fact, when Prime Health was exploring how to become a standalone organization, we studied the Startup Health model of innovation acceleration. We were eager to see if that model was something Prime Health should emulate.

However, it quickly became clear that with Colorado home to organizations like TechStars, House of Genius, and the Unreasonable Institute, accelerating innovation wasn’t going to be a challenge for our ecosystem. So, to provide Colorado’s health-tech startups with a competitive edge, we decided to help them overcome a major hurdle to the adoption of innovation within the healthcare system: the demonstration of clinical efficacy.

This decision led to the creation of the annual Prime Health Challenge, a three-month-long process in which clinicians, executives, technologists, and other relevant stakeholders come together to evaluate the health-tech startups in our ecosystem. Using Prime Health Qualify, our online evaluation platform, these judges assess the companies that have applied for the challenge, searching for innovations that are ready to be integrated into the healthcare system.

This evaluation process is part of our Value Integrator Model (VIM). Over the last four years, it has enabled the startups in our ecosystem to secure pilot opportunities, forge new partnerships, and obtain millions of dollars in funding. It has also distinguished us as a digital health organization, granting Prime Health a unique position within the health innovation value chain, while allowing us to collaborate with the generators, incubators, and accelerators in our ecosystem.

Startup Health is no exception. Last year, Florida Hospital asked that we send nine of Prime Health’s qualified companies to participate in their National Council of Presidents Innovation Challenge. Startup Health was also asked to send nine companies from its portfolio. For the duration of the challenge, our startups shared the stage with Startup Health’s, each doing their best to drive the adoption of innovation in one of the nation’s largest healthcare systems.

Additionally, two of the finalists from previous Prime Health Challenges, RxRevu and Test Appropriate, have joined Startup Health’s portfolio. As members of Startup Health, they will gain access to an international accelerator network, similar to TechStars, which will significantly help them in their mission to transform healthcare through innovation. It is my hope that a similar opportunity will be extended to this year’s finalists, just as a I hope that Startup Health’s portfolio will apply to future Prime Health Challenges.

With the launch of Startup Health Colorado, we foresee our collaborations with Startup Health increasing. Just like the addition of 10.10.10 Health, the Boomtown Health-Tech Accelerator, and Innosphere’s digital-health incubator program only strengthened our regional health-tech cluster, we believe that Startup Health Colorado will bring a range of new assets to our state that will benefit everyone in the health innovation value chain.

As we continue to convene the members of our regional ecosystem, from payers and providers like Kaiser Permanente, Aetna, and HCA, to health innovation assets like Colorado Biosciences Association, Innovation Pavilion, and Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, it is my hope that Startup Health will join us. There is an urgent need for solutions to the healthcare system’s problems, and if we work together, I am certain we will be able to meet that need as quickly and as safely as possible.

So, on behalf of Prime Health, let me say, “Startup Health, welcome to Colorado!” We look forward to collaborating to make Colorado the leading health innovation ecosystem in the nation.

Jeffrey Nathanson
President & CEO
Prime Health

Announcing the Finalists of the 2016 Prime Health Challenge

On Monday night, the 14 companies participating in the semi-finals round of the 2016 Prime Health Challenge pitched their products before a panel of 25 judges. Each was given six minutes to present, followed by a four-minute question-and-answer session. By the end of the evening, six companies had been chosen to continue onto the finals round of this year’s Challenge.

Two weeks before this event, the founders of the 14 companies that had been selected as Challenge semi-finalists gathered at INDUSTRY for a speed-mentoring session. Over the course of the session, each founder met with a series of domain-area experts that included physicians, clinical researchers, and product development professionals.

These mentors offered the founders insights into how to improve several key components of their presentations, such as clinical requirements, IT integration, and study design. This mentoring session was intended to give the founders everything they needed to sharpen their pitches before Monday night.

But it was also part of a larger project.

At Prime Health, our focus is to become the number one health innovation ecosystem in the United States. To attain that ranking, we are benchmarking ourselves by more than just institutional capital invested in a geographic region.

We believe that the engagement of the healthcare system in the innovation process is vitally important if new products and services are to be quickly and safely integrated into clinical practice. For that reason, we have tried to recruit as many clinicians, executives, academics, administrators, and policy-makers as possible to serve as judges and mentors in the 2016 Prime Health Challenge.

By giving the members of the healthcare system a way to direct the course of innovation within their industry, we’re connecting the startups in our ecosystem with the insights they need to develop and iterate products that providers want to adopt. More than any other metric, we believe that engagement of this kind is the most accurate indicator of a thriving, dynamic, and productive health innovation ecosystem.

The finalists we chose on Monday night were all powerful examples of why this is the case.

The Finalists

Many of the startups in this year’s Challenge are led by entrepreneurs who are bringing new technologies into the healthcare industry. Throughout the 2016 Prime Health Challenge, these entrepreneurs have received advice on how to present the positive clinical impact of their innovations to healthcare providers.

After hearing the 14 semi-finalists pitch on Monday night, the 25 members of our health innovation ecosystem who had been chosen to judge them used Prime Health Qualify, our online evaluation platform, to identify which companies possessed the clearest understanding of their product, their market, and their pilot proposal. Those companies were:

Clinical Trial Site Solutions


Matrix Analytics

Medical Simulation Corporation

Preventative Technology Solutions

Quantant Technology

As finalists of the 2016 Prime Health Challenge, these six companies will have the opportunity to prepare for a “speed-dating” event on September 29th. At this event, the founders of each company will meet with representatives from major healthcare institutions who are interested in learning more about their products.

On October 19th, the finalists will compete on stage at the EXDO Event Center in Denver, Colorado. Before an audience of hundreds, they will try to convince the representatives who they met at the speed-dating event to pilot their products. The top performing companies at the event will win a share of the $150,000 in pilot funding that has been provided for the Challenge by the Colorado Health Foundation.

From the beginning of this year’s Challenge, our intention has been to accelerate the adoption of highly effective innovations within the healthcare industry. After comprehensive analysis and lengthy deliberation, our judges have chosen these six finalists as the companies best qualified to fulfill our ecosystem’s mission, the enhancement of the healthcare delivery system through innovation.

How well an ecosystem accomplishes this is the only metric that should matter.

Jeffrey Nathanson
President & CEO
Prime Health