2016 Prime Health Challenge Awards $150,000 to Top Health Innovation Companies

Three healthcare innovations are a big step closer to reality thanks to partnerships and prize money earned during the 2016 Prime Health Challenge, the largest funded pitch competition of its kind in the nation.

For the third consecutive year, Prime Health, the country’s leading health innovation ecosystem, organized the largest group of healthcare organizations in the U.S. to hear pilot proposals for new health technologies. Fifteen “host” institutions, including large hospital and healthcare systems as well as safety net organizations, bid on opportunities to test the innovations. Some, like SCL Health and National Jewish Health, chose to partner on pilot testing.

David Shine, CEO of dBMEDx, maker of a wireless, fully automated bladder scanner, took home the first place prize of $75,000 and praised Prime Health for providing opportunities to build relationships critical for innovation development. “The Prime Health Challenge, the introductions and awareness it provides are incredibly important for our company and will provide valuable clinical data to support broad deployment of our technology. The Challenge is a powerful driver of the growth of our vibrant Colorado healthcare ecosystem!”

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock addressed the audience of 600 plus spectators and thanked them for working together to make Colorado a leading state for innovation. Amy Latham, vice president of philanthropy at the Colorado Health Foundation said, “The Foundation is pleased to support the Prime Health Challenge and digital startup companies paving the way to a healthier state. We look forward to seeing how these partnerships help shape Colorado’s health innovation ecosystem and improve the health of all Coloradans.”

The six finalists competing for $150,000 provided by the Colorado Health Foundation had been selected from an original 30 contestants through a comprehensive evaluation process known as Prime Health Qualify. Their presentations were honed over three months of mentoring and pitch coaching. In the end, five companies received pilot offers. A panel of healthcare experts further evaluated those companies and selected the top three to receive cash winnings.

“What an amazing adventure the last three months have been,” said Christine Spraker, president of Matrix Analytics, whose pulmonary nodule management software for lung cancer earned the second place prize at $50,000. “The Prime Health Challenge, with all of the mentorship and feedback, helped us address several gaps we were blind to and we are excited about this next phase! Physicians and large companies across the country are talking about Prime Health. Kudos to you for having the foresight to build this ecosystem!”

Preventative Technology Solutions, maker of an app that identifies high-risk sexual behavior in adolescents won third place and $25,000. Co-founder, Dr. Lisa Rue, shared “ The Prime Health Challenge is like being shot out of a cannon into the digital health space. It would have taken us 5 years to learn what we learned in a few short weeks.”

Jeffrey Nathanson, CEO of Prime Health said, “Having reached our goal of becoming the nation’s #1 health innovation ecosystem, we have now set our sights on making Colorado the healthiest state in the U.S. Our annual Challenge and evaluation process is helping us develop standards and best practices in identifying and integrating health innovations into the healthcare system – something that does not currently exist. What we’ve created in Colorado is unique and has the power to improve healthcare not only in our state but across the country.”

Prime Health Claims Title #1 Health Innovation Ecosystem

DENVER, CO – Prime Health, the Colorado based health innovation ecosystem declared its national leadership during its third annual Health Challenge Oct. 19. As judges for the Challenge assessed awarding $150,000 in funding from the Colorado Health Foundation to support pilot testing of new health innovations, the group presented their case to be the leading health innovation ecosystem in the U.S.

A recent visit from Steve Case, Founder of America Online, spurred the new claim. Case’s recent Rise of the Rest tour highlighted the nation’s up-and-coming innovation clusters, the hotspots of entrepreneurship. Case revealed his belief that Denver, Boulder and Colorado have already made it as a leading innovation hub. From his perspective, Colorado’s innovation ecosystem is already an economic powerhouse. He told members of Colorado’s thriving startup community “We almost didn’t come to Denver…. You are already there”.

Prime Health assessed its own metrics, used evaluation criteria from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto Report on Global Accelerators and Innovation Hubs (2013), along with recent national rankings of Colorado and its major cities to support its claim. Metrics included experience supporting large scale development, partnerships with healthcare providers, corporations and investors, support for innovation development and evidence of success.

Colorado is considered one of the top 10 health innovation clusters based on investment (Startup Health, Rock Health). Prime Health has identified 135+ health innovation companies in the state and $145 million raised in investment in 2015. A new 300,000 sq. ft. health industry integrator, Catalyst HTI, has broken ground to house many of the innovation ecosystem components.

The Prime Health Challenge showcases top healthcare innovations competing for $150,000 and the opportunity to test their products with leading healthcare organizations. It is one of the largest pitch competitions of its kind in the nation, bringing together every sector of healthcare focused on health innovation.

After this Challenge, Prime Health will have funded 15 pilot tests of innovation with over $430,000 directly focused on improving the health of populations served by regional health delivery systems. Of the first 69 digital health companies evaluated through Prime Health’s Qualify process, the companies have raised $34 million post evaluation.

Major investors and every Colorado investor focused on healthcare (14) are considering ecosystem investment opportunities including Case’s Revolution Ventures. Every major component of Colorado’s healthcare delivery system as well as national payors, providers, and health information exchange components are considering using innovations developed in Prime’s ecosystem (46).

Prime has attracted major partners (42) working with our ecosystem and participating companies including Startup Health, TechStars, 10.10.10, CU Innovations, Boomtown, Catalyst HTI, Innovation Pavilion, Innosphere, Colorado Bioscience Association, Colorado Technology Association and key government agencies.

Jeffrey Nathanson, CEO of Prime Health said after presenting his case, “By all these metrics, we are the number one health innovation ecosystem. It is now our goal to work with all the assembled 500 plus attendees to maintain it. It is our job to own this ranking and share these metrics with others.”

Nathanson went on to “challenge other health innovation ecosystems to demonstrate their metrics. Let the challenge to improve healthcare through adoption of innovation begin. From now on Prime Health is the #1 ranked health innovation ecosystem until someone unseats us by showing better results.

Denver Deemed #1 Best Place for Business and Careers for Second Straight Year

For the second year in a row Prime Health’s home city, Denver, Colorado, is deemed #1 Best Place for Business and Careers by Forbes. Additional rankings for Colorado include:

1st Fastest growing state economy (Business Insider)

1st in labor supply (Best States for Business)

1st in attractiveness to millennials

#1 Best places to Live (U.S. News & World Report)

#1 Entrepreneurial Startup Week

#1 Collaborative Innovation ecosystem

2nd most highly educated state

5th National Science Foundation Funding

How to Become the Nation’s Top Health Innovation Ecosystem

Two weeks ago, Steve Case, one of the founders of America Online and a partner at the investment firm Revolution Growth, visited Denver. He arrived aboard a large bus in which he had been travelling the country, driving from one startup hub to another in search of America’s most innovative companies.

As one of the stops on his Rise of the Rest tour, Case’s visit to Denver was part of an effort to highlight our nation’s up-and-coming innovation clusters, the hotspots of entrepreneurism that are appearing in cities like Baltimore, Omaha, and Phoenix. But when he stepped from his bus on the morning of Oct. 3rd, Case had an important message for the members of our thriving startup community.

In many ways, he explained, we’ve already made it. From his perspective, our innovation ecosystem – which spans the Front Range, from Fort Collins in the north to Colorado Springs in the south – is already an economic powerhouse.

His assessment of Colorado’s booming startup economy led me to reflect on several recent developments in our state’s health innovation ecosystem. I began to think about the opening of Startup Health Colorado, the preparations occurring at the future site of Catalyst HTI, and the upcoming Prime Health Challenge.

And I realized something.

Ranking Ecosystems

For years now, we’ve been ranking regional health innovation ecosystems according to a single metric. Whether compiled by Rock Health on the West Coast or Startup Health on the East Coast, annual reports on the state of digital health in America have consistently portrayed funding levels as the principal measure of an ecosystem’s success.

But there’s a problem with this approach. If we use investment numbers to rank regional health innovation ecosystems, the regions with the largest concentrations of capital will always rank highest, because capital tends to stay in its area of origin.

And while access to funding is critical for startups, funding alone won’t guarantee the adoption of innovation within the healthcare system. To accomplish this, startups need access to a wide range of individuals and organizations, including healthcare providers, corporate partners, and regulatory bodies.

If we are going to rank our country’s regional health innovation ecosystems, it should be according to how well they help their members achieve this larger goal.

The Right Metrics

In order to rank ecosystems according to this new standard, we will need a different set of metrics. Fortunately, the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto developed just such a set of metrics when it performed a broad assessment of health innovation hubs in 2013.

By adapting the evaluation criteria they used, a series of questions can be derived. It is my belief that these questions can provide us with a more accurate means of ranking health innovation ecosystems, while also serving as a blueprint that ecosystems everywhere can follow to attain the highest possible rankings.

1. Is there a focus on creating digital health solutions in the ecosystem?

2. Do the members of the ecosystem have experience supporting large-scale initiatives?

3. Is the ecosystem partnered with healthcare providers?

4. Is the ecosystem partnered with corporations?

5. Is the ecosystem partnered with investors?

6. Is the ecosystem partnered with governmental and regulatory bodies?

7. Does support for the development and scaling of innovation exist within the ecosystem?

8. Does a virtual and physical support structure exist for the entrepreneurs within the ecosystem?

9. How accessible is information within the ecosystem?

10. What evidence exists to support the efficacy of the ecosystem in driving innovation?

Strengthening Our Ecosystem

At Prime Health, we’re currently engaged in a three-month-long process, known as the Prime Health Challenge, which is intended to strengthen our ecosystem according to each of these metrics. This year’s Challenge began with the meticulous assessment of several health-tech startups, from which six finalists were chosen.

On September 29th, these finalists met briefly with representatives from major healthcare providers, including Centura Health and Kaiser Permanente. This Wednesday, they will have the chance to convince these organizations to pilot their solutions before an audience of hundreds at the EXDO Event Center.

In its three years of operation, the Challenge has helped startups land pilots with major providers, secure partnerships with large organizations, and attain millions of dollars in funding. It has brought together clinicians, executives, investors, entrepreneurs, technologists, academics, and more to accelerate the adoption of innovation within the healthcare system. But the success of this process has only been possible because of the participation of members of our ecosystem like you.

Please join us on October 19th at the EXDO Event Center, and let’s show the nation why we deserve to be ranked the top health innovation ecosystem.

Jeffrey Nathanson
President & CEO
Prime Health

Third Annual Prime Health Challenge Brings New Health Innovations Closer to Reality

$150,000 will be Awarded to “Shark-Tank” Style Competition Winners


On Oct. 19, six top healthcare innovations will compete for $150,000 and the opportunity to test their products with 15 leading healthcare organizations during one of the largest pitch competitions of its kind in the nation.

Prime Health, Colorado’s health innovation ecosystem, will convene over 500 attendees, including investors, entrepreneurs and executives from local community and national health organizations, to watch the “shark-tank” style competition on Oct. 19 at EXDO Event Center in Denver. In its first two years, the Prime Health Challenge has resulted in 12 pilot testing programs of health innovations and over $1 million has been invested in participating companies.

The Colorado Health Foundation funded the inaugural 2014 and 2015 Challenges, and is supporting the Prime Health Challenge for a third year as part of the organization’s efforts to invest in resources and create partnerships that will increase opportunities to improve the health of Coloradans.

“The Foundation is excited to support another year of the Prime Health Challenge and it’s work to bring cutting-edge health innovations into our state,” said Amy Latham, vice president of philanthropy at the Colorado Health Foundation. “This event, the partnerships fostered and results of pilot testing will help us to achieve our mission of improving health for Coloradans by increasing access to quality healthcare.”

Three of last year’s winners have already completed their pilots and are boasting exciting results. EMS Relay is speeding up registration in the ER so that patients can be seen faster. Test Appropriate has determined that cardiac test ordering can be improved in order to save on costs, and Radish Systems has discovered a big value-add by incorporating “Voice with Visuals” for phone and chat health coaching.

The 2016 finalists were selected from 30 initial contestants using Prime Health Qualify, an online evaluation tool designed specifically to assess health innovations. The contestants also received two months of mentoring and pitch coaching.

“The Challenge is the largest collection of healthcare organizations considering hosting pilot tests of health innovation products anywhere in the country. Our Prime Health Qualify process assures these innovations have been assessed and curated as the top companies and products. The Challenge is our galvanizing annual event. It brings together all stakeholders to quicken the pace of adopting new innovations. Every sector of healthcare is represented with our host institutions. We believe this is a key indicator we are building the leading health innovation ecosystem in the nation here in Colorado,” said Jeffrey Nathanson, chief executive officer of Prime Health.

The healthcare organizations participating in the 2016 Challenge include large hospital and healthcare systems such as HCA/HealthONE, National Jewish Health, Kaiser Permanente, Centura Health, Denver Health and SCL Health as well as community health organizations such as Northwest Colorado Health and Doctors Care (see complete list here).

The six competing companies include Clinical Trial Site SolutionsdBMEDxMatrix AnalyticsMedical Simulation CorporationPreventative Technology Solutions and Quantant Technology.

The 2016 Prime Health Challenge is funded by the Colorado Health Foundation and the following sponsors: DaVita, Medical Group Management Association, Twentyseven Global, Physician Health Partners, Colorado Community Health Alliance, CGI, Garlic Media Group, Colorado Technology Association, Catalyst HTI, Anabliss and Valid Eval.