November 1, 2019
Meet the Five Companies Chosen by Colorado Providers to Shake Things Up in Health Care
DENVER, COLORADO (November 1, 2019) – Last Wednesday, seven health-tech startups took the stage at the Bronco’s Mile High Stadium as part of the 2019 Prime Health Challenge. The finalists were there to pitch their solutions to a sold-out audience of more than 500 people. The goal? To win a pilot partnership with one of the more than 20 Colorado provider and payer organizations in the audience and a portion of $190,000 in prize pilot funding.
Thirty-seven companies from around the world applied for the 2019 Challenge. For five months, they were rigorously evaluated by more than 100 health care, business, and technology experts and leaders. Finalists were chosen based on their ability to radically improve care for underserved patients, as well as their alignment and sustainability potential in Colorado’s health care market.
“A huge thank you to the Colorado Health Foundation for their continued support of us and the community at large. Colorado is fortunate to have such a passionate and visionary partner in a philanthropic foundation,” said Rachel Dixon, president and executive director of Prime Health. For the past six years, the Colorado Health Foundation has funded the Prime Health Challenge, enabling the award of more than $900,000 to fund 24+ pilots – not including the pilots to come from this year’s Challenge.
“The Colorado Health Foundation aims to engage innovations that help safety net providers, particularly those in rural communities across Colorado, to offer culturally competent, high-quality and comprehensive primary care, behavioral and/or social services,” explained Ben Bynum, M.D., Portfolio Director of Program Related Investments at the Foundation. “Collaborative partnerships with organizations like Prime Health help us to scale our mission and impact across the State.”
Hundreds of people from all sectors of health, business, technology, and innovation – providers, payers, government, foundations, investors, entrepreneurs, academics, and so many others – donated their time, resources, knowledge, and expertise to support this year’s Challenge. “Colorado is an example of what is possible when we all work together to achieve a shared vision for a community that’s thriving, healthy, innovative, and inclusive to all,” continued Rachel, “It’s truly inspiring to see in action.”
“Statewide collaborations like the Prime Health Challenge are one of the major reasons why Colorado ranks as one of the top five health innovation ecosystems in the country.”
Behavioral health was the theme of the night. All top three prize winners – Manatee, Babyscripts, and Meru Health – address behavioral health as part of their solution.
Manatee, the grand prize winner of $75,000 and bids from eight Colorado provider organizations, has been on a rocket-fueled national journey in their first year of business, winning competitions around the country. In addition to the Challenge, Manatee was accepted into Techstars LA and Futurebound and won Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and HLTH pitch competitions. Manatee’s success speaks to the significant challenges and unmet need around pediatric behavioral health. “Less than 40% of kids with a diagnosable mental health issue receive any help. We think we can do better. Manatee magnifies the impact that therapists have today and empowers families tomorrow. How? By building digital tools that illuminate treatment, engage families, and track progress,” shared Damayanti Dipayana, Manatee’s CEO and co-founder.
This year’s second place winner also brings much-needed innovation to an urgent health care issue in Colorado. Babyscripts is a maternal health solution focused on creating a comprehensive, coordinated, and convenient patient journey for moms throughout their entire pregnancy and post-delivery. Participating moms receive a personalized kit in the mail with everything they need to manage and monitor their physical and behavioral health at home, in a way that automatically connects with their provider team.
“80% of maternal death in Colorado is preventable. Babyscripts has tools that can help.” -Judith Nowlin, Chief Growth Officer, Babyscripts
Third place winner Meru Health also received an enthusiastic response from the community, receiving bids from 11 provider organizations to pilot their solution offering evidence-based depression and anxiety treatment programs via telehealth. Even better, Meru Health partners with existing behavioral health providers in local communities to augment and improve access and capacity collaboratively, leading to a better experience for patients and providers and improving the “health” of the overall health care system.
In addition to behavioral and maternal health, the community identified improving the patient experience as a top priority, as well as improved patient communication and education after a major medical event, as evidenced by rural innovation winners STREAMD and phas3.
STREAMD is a service that sends easy-to-understand text messages to patients following orthopedic surgery such as a hip or knee replacement to clarify and simplify the recovery process. Patients who use STREAMD during recovery are shown to be happier, heal faster, spend more time on therapy, and need fewer ER visits and opiates. STREAMD was voted this year’s People’s Choice Award winner in addition to receiving a rural health innovation prize.
Research shows that patients who complete a cardiac rehab program after an event such as a heart attack live on average five years longer than patients who don’t. Patients are more likely to complete a program successfully if it’s available remotely. In Colorado, many patients living in rural areas don’t even have the option to participate in a cardiac rehab program because there isn’t one near enough to their home. phas3 is changing that with a model that makes cardiac rehab accessible in the home via text message and low-cost technology. phas3 received $20,000 to support the piloting of their remote cardiac rehabilitation solution in rural Colorado.
Overall, it was an exciting year for the Prime Health Challenge, which many are deeming the best one yet. Last year’s winners Epharmix and Care on Location impacted diabetes, mental health, social determinants of health, access to primary care in rural areas, and access to services for individuals experiencing homelessness through a street outreach telemedicine model.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next. The best part of this process is the pilots,” explained Rachel. “Last year we were able to help a lot of people, invent new models for delivering care, and even file a few patents. We’re all excited to get these tools in the hands of patients and see what happens.”
To stay up to date on Prime Health and the 2018 Challenge pilots as well as community events related to health innovation, visit the Prime Health website at www.primehealthco.com and sign up for the newsletter.
About Prime Health
Prime Health is a nationally leading health innovation ecosystem focused on improving health care through innovation and collaboration. Prime Health is a community made up of healthcare administrators, policymakers, providers, technologists, academics, entrepreneurs, investors, and more. Prime Health serves as a community integrator, accelerating the adoption and implementation of evidence-based emerging technologies that enhance access to care, improve clinical outcomes, and reduce costs for underserved Coloradans. The organization operates innovation programs and events that bring together community stakeholders to discuss needs, identify innovative solutions, provide training and capacity building, and scale partnerships that drive meaningful outcomes. To learn more, visit www.primehealthco.com.
About the Colorado Health Foundation
The Colorado Health Foundation is bringing health in reach for all Coloradans by engaging closely with communities across the state through investing, policy and advocacy, learning, and capacity building. For more information, please visit www.coloradohealth.org.