What to Expect at the 2018 Prime Health Summit

Join us on May 10 for the 2018 Prime Health Innovation Summit, the premier gathering of Colorado’s healthcare technology ecosystem. Register to attend now!

On May 10, Prime Health and the Governor’s Office of eHealth Innovation (OeHI) will host the 2018 Prime Health Innovation Summit. Attended by clinicians, executives, and entrepreneurs from across the state, the summit is the premier gathering of Colorado’s healthcare technology ecosystem.

The Prime Health Innovation Summit will cover topics like data liquidity, patient engagement, and value-based care. It will feature talks by leading figures in Colorado’s healthcare industry, including Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne.  Most importantly, it will give our community the chance to work together to improve care for people throughout the state.

From the panel discussions to the keynote speakers, here’s your guide to the 2018 Prime Health Innovation Summit: Enhancing Care Coordination Through Digital Health.

The Role of Entrepreneurs in Colorado’s Health IT Roadmap

Nicole McNew, Executive Director of Prime Health, and Mary Anne Leach, Director of the Office of eHealth Innovation, will deliver the opening remarks. McNew and Leach will discuss the role that entrepreneurs will play in Colorado’s Health IT Roadmap.

Medicaid’s Priorities for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Kim Bimestefer, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, will deliver the morning keynote. The former chairwoman of Cigna Healthcare of Colorado will detail Medicaid’s priorities for innovation, and describe how entrepreneurs can collaborate with one of the nation’s largest payers.

Care Coordination: Orchestrating Services across the Continuum of Care

Achieving a better patient experience starts with understanding the journey of both the patient and the caregiver. Moderated by Lauren Ambrozic, Executive Director of Colorado Prevention Alliance, this panel will examine how healthcare organizations are working with communities to create a more holistic patient experience.


  • Kathryn Jantz, ACHM Director, Rocky Mountain Health Plan
  • Cindy Wilbur, Community Resource Network Director, Quality Health Network
  • Gary Drews, CEO, 9Health Fair
  • Robyn Dietz, Director of Account Management, CirrusMD

Data Liquidity: The Centerpoint of Population Health Management

This panel will explore how data can be leveraged to identify high-risk patients and coordinate care across primary care, specialists, and behavioral health settings. Sarah Nelson, Director of business technology at the Colorado Department of Health and Human Services, will moderate.


  • Patrick Gordon, Vice President, Rocky Mountain Health Plan
  • Robert Denson, Chief Information Officer, CORHIO
  • Jason McRoy, Director of Business Operations, Boulder County
  • Ako Quammie, Healthcare Information Technology Program Manager, Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM)
  • Marc Lassaux, Chief Technology Officer, Quality Health Network

The State of Colorado Health Innovation

In her keynote address at the summit, Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne will discuss the state of health innovation in Colorado and her vision for the future.

Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne addresses the attendees of last year’s Prime Health Innovation Summit.

Virtual Health: The Future of Healthcare Delivery

Peter Antall, Chief Medical Officer of American Well, and Todd Evenson, Chief Operating Officer of Medical Group Management Association, will discuss trends in the adoption of virtual care platforms and products across Colorado and the United States.

Using Technology Wisely: How technology helps providers integrate care in Colorado

Barbara Martin, Director of the Colorado State Innovation Model, will facilitate a high-level discussion on how technology can help or hinder a practice’s integration efforts. Panelists will talk about challenges to implementing technology for practices of all sizes and discuss how entrepreneurs can pave the way for better adoption across the health system spectrum.


  • Rachel Dixon, Director of Telehealth, AccessCare
  • Dr. Debra Boeldt, Program Manager, National Mental Health Innovation Center
  • Catherine Morrisey, QI Project Manager, Colorado Access

The Potential for Blockchain

Eric Kintner, Partner at Snell & Wilmer, and Morgan Honea, CEO of CORHIO, will explore the potential for blockchain technology across the healthcare industry while offering their perspectives on the barriers that persist from a legal and economic standpoint.

Paying for It All: Trends in Value-Based Reimbursement Models

When it comes to lowering costs while improving quality of care, what are payers looking for? Moderated by healthcare consultant Bill Lindsay, this panel will examine the latest thinking and the newest trends in payment reform among both private and public stakeholders.


  • Jed Ziegenhagen, Director for the Office of Community Living, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing
  • Scott Keim, Executive Director of Strategy and Operations & Accountable Care Solutions for the Western US, Aetna
  • Elizabeth Basket, Executive Director, Colorado Community Health Alliance
  • Bob Smith, Executive Director, Colorado Business Group on Health
  • Rick Lewis, EMS Bureau Chief, South Metro Fire Rescue Authority

Stick around after the panels for a Fiesta Happy Hour with Redox!

The 2018 Prime Health Innovation Summit is only a few weeks away! Register to attend now!

MGMA releases “Telehealth: Adoption + Best Practices,” a guide for medical groups

Text “PRIME” to 33550 to join MGMA Stat and receive access to the full report.

As consumer interest in telehealth services continues to increase, medical groups are paving the way by implementing these services in their practices. To help these practices, Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) released the MGMA Research & Analysis Report: Telehealth: Adoption + Best Practices.

According to a January 2018 MGMA Stat poll, more than 40 percent of medical groups state they are currently or are planning to offer telehealth services this year – indicating a significant number of medical groups are looking to adopt this technology. This follows recent research suggesting that consumers are increasingly interested in telehealth services and that a large majority of all patient visits do not require face-to-face interaction and could be done safely via virtual encounter.

These telehealth insights are among those examined by MGMA, whose members deliver nearly half of the healthcare in the United States. Throughout 2017 and early 2018, MGMA conducted research, including a survey, several polls and qualitative interviews, on the topic of telehealth in order to develop the MGMA Research & Analysis Report: Telehealth: Adoption + Best Practices. The report outlines a number of models that can help medical practices plan, implement, and operate telehealth services. It also details adoption trends, implementation challenges and tips, best practices, billing and reimbursement resources, onboarding checklists, and case studies.

“Understanding the drivers of telehealth services, as well as the operating requirements, will help ensure successful adoption of these services,” said Halee Fischer-Wright, MD, MMM, FAAP, CMPE, MGMA President and Chief Executive Officer. “Equally important, we must understand how healthcare consumers embrace telehealth services. Nearly two-thirds of patients would like their primary care provider to offer telehealth, so we need to get better at providing these services as an industry.”

The report also explores how practice leaders navigate the staffing, technological, and financial realities. Beyond possible new revenue, telehealth is generating ROI by reducing risk, lowering costs, increasing patient satisfaction and retention, and providing options for rural coverage.

“It’s not all about increasing revenues – in many cases, the work we are doing in telehealth is allowing our health system to save money by reducing risk,” said Chris Meyer, director of Marshfield Clinic Virtual Health. “As health systems start assuming more risk and enter capitation models with payers, they will need to find lower-cost ways to care for patients and, more importantly, find ways to keep patients healthy to reduce unnecessary visits. Using telehealth to remotely manage a chronically ill patient may show an ROI without ever generating a single penny of reimbursement.”

Even with the growing number of practices adopting telehealth, challenges remain. According to the report, barriers preventing the wider adoption of telehealth services in medical practices include high implementation costs, the required change in workflow, applications that don’t apply to all specialties, payer reimbursement policies not keeping pace with the technology, issues with clinician licensure, and concerns with medical liability.

Other key findings:

  • Service adoption trends suggest that organizations are most likely to implement because of wider geographical coverage, patient satisfaction, and access to specialists.
  • Practice leaders cite the primary reason their organizations have not added telehealth services as not knowing how to get reimbursed for these services.
  • Practices that have adopted telehealth services espouse the relative ease of getting patients to understand and accept telehealth.

The MGMA Research & Analysis Report: Telehealth: Adoption + Best Practices was delivered in partnership with American Well. The full report can be found at https://www.mgma.com/resources/resources/products/telehealth-adoption-and-best-practices-an-mgma.


Questions for the qualitative interviews were developed by MGMA. Respondents are experts in the field of healthcare who have either implemented telehealth into their organizational structure or those in the process of doing so. The qualitative interviews were conducted between August and November 2017 by MGMA’s research and editorial teams over the phone, in person or via video conferencing.

Questions for the MGMA Telehealth Survey were developed by MGMA. Respondents were the MGMA Stat panel, a group of medical practice leaders who participate in MGMA’s weekly polling initiative. The survey launched on Nov. 2, 2017, and closed on Nov. 10, 2017. The survey was completed by a total of 131 healthcare leaders in the United States.

One of the Nation’s Largest Payers Wants to Talk to Health Innovators

Colorado Office of eHealth Innovation Director Mary Anne Leach (left) spoke at a recent meeting of Prime Health’s Safety Net Advisory Board.

For the past two years, several healthcare policy-makers, health system executives, and health-tech innovators have been gathering each quarter at a coworking space in downtown Denver. As members of Prime Health’s Safety Net Advisory Board, they have been meeting to answer a pressing question, “How can we get the latest in health technology to the patients who need it most?”

“We see innovation as a huge opportunity to partner with different communities and solve some persistent problems,” said Mary Anne Leach, Director of the Office of eHealth Innovation (OeHI), at last week’s meeting of the Safety Net Advisory Board. “We think there are many opportunities that are ripe for innovation and new thinking, and we’re excited to be working with you.”

Leach had been invited to speak by the Safety Net Advisory Board about Colorado’s Health IT Roadmap. Unveiled in November 2017, the roadmap consists of 16 initiatives designed to enhance care, lower costs, and improve health for all Coloradans. OeHI partnered with Prime Health to engage with health innovators and develop a common understanding of how technology can be leveraged in areas such as care coordination, quality measurement, and access to information.

“Access to information is still a problem,” Leach said. “We still have big gaps and information silos. There isn’t a lot of information sharing in some critical areas, particularly the safety net.”

Of the 16 initiatives in the roadmap, OeHI recently decided to request funding for nine of them. According to Leach, the organization wants to explore ways to uniquely identify patients and providers. It wants to promote the creation of a consumer portal, which will provide Colorado’s citizens with access to information about their health plans and care. OeHI is also interested in improving the state’s health information exchanges, and maximizing investment in health IT.

“We need affordable health IT,” said Leach. “We need affordable analytics. We need to find a way to give our rural communities better access to technology.”

Gabriel Tarin, Director of Strategic Projects at Metro Community Provider Network (MCPN), speaks with Kaakpema “KP” Yelpaala, CEO of access.mobile.

Several Prime Health companies were mentioned as potential partners for the nine initiatives. The patient engagement efforts of digital health startups like C3LXCareLoop, and Play-It-Health were highlighted. The telehealth platforms built by CirrusMDmyStrength, and TeleSpine were detailed. In a nod to the vulnerability of the medically underserved to public health issues like sexually transmitted diseases and the opioid crisis, the innovations developed by Preventative Technology SolutionsRxAssurance, and RxREVU were also discussed.

Listening to Leach, it became clear that the State of Colorado was receptive to new ideas, interested in experimenting with new approaches, and eager to leverage innovation to solve some of its toughest health problems.

“There’s a need for innovation,” said Leach. “There’s a desire to do new things to help this population.”

Near the end of the gathering, Leach invited health innovators to contact the Office of eHealth Innovation and attend one of its meetings, which are open to the public.

“We have many different grant opportunities for innovators,” Leach added. “There are ways to connect to our vendor system. It can be a little challenging navigating the size of the system. But the state does a great job of opening things up to the market.”

Kerry Sims (center left), VP of Hitachi Consulting, talks with Steve Adams (right), CEO of Prime Health, and others.

After the meeting was over, several members of the Safety Net Advisory Board stayed to discuss potential collaborations with Colorado’s Office of eHealth Innovation. Ideas were discussed, solutions described, and projects considered with a newfound eagerness.

“Don’t be afraid to talk to the government,” said Leah Spielberg, grants manager at the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. “We’re never going to do your Series A. But we do $9 billion in direct service contracting just at my agency.”

“If you need a use case to take to VCs,” she added, “we could probably work with you on that.”


Interested in connecting with the members of Colorado’s digital health community? Join us at our next meet-up on February 22nd!

Prime Health Announces New CEO


Media Contact:
Mike Biselli
Board Member, Prime Health

Prime Health Announces Steve Adams as Interim CEO

Adams, a successful health care entrepreneur and long-time Prime Health board member, will assume executive operations on April 15th

DENVER, Colo. (April 10, 2017) – Prime Health, a business ecosystem of healthcare leaders and entrepreneurs dedicated to making Colorado the leading health innovation hub in the nation, announced today the appointment of Steve Adams as Interim CEO.

A well-known Colorado-based healthcare entrepreneur and community leader, Adams will assume the leadership role April 15th and guide the organization through the upcoming Prime Health Innovation Summit on May 4th and for the foreseeable future.

“Health innovation is at a critical inflection point across the country and here in Colorado and we could not be more pleased to have a proven innovator and leader at the helm of our organization at this exciting time,” said Mike Fitzgerald, Chairman of the Prime Health board of directors. “Steve’s dedication to collaboration and community, knowledge of the ecosystem and of our organization—as well as his deep experience in commercializing healthcare innovations—will all allow him to provide tremendous value to the companies in our community.”

When previous Prime Health CEO Jeffrey Nathanson announced his resignation in February, Fitzgerald formed a board sub-committee to manage the transition and seek new leadership. In the end, the organization needed to look no further than its own board for the strong, seasoned leadership it sought to find.

Adams is a serial entrepreneur and has been founder and chief executive of five companies over the course of decades. He founded Webb Interactive Services and served as CEO and Chairman from 1993 until 2000 and took the company public with a successful IPO in 1996. While at Webb, he was instrumental in developing MDGateway, an online system for continuing medical education for physicians as well as other innovative online healthcare solutions for health plans, hospital organizations and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

In 2000, Adams founded ReachMyDoctor and RMD Networks, which provides Collaborative Care Solutions™ that enhance healthcare communications and coordination of care among multiple providers and patients with complex health issues. RMD Networks was acquired by Alere in early 2010.

In 2012, Adams left Alere to pursue new opportunities in early stage digital health companies through Covalency, a firm that provides management services for early stage companies. He has also served as a State Commissioner of Colorado’s Information Management Commission, on the boards of technology companies and volunteer organizations, and has participated in a number of national health initiatives and organizations.

Adams added: “My main motivation for working in healthcare has always been driven by a passion to develop a more collaborative model where key healthcare stakeholders work together to improve care and reduce costs. I don’t think I could find a more active and innovative environment to do this work than with Prime Health. I am very excited and pleased to engage in this position of trust in the broader community.”

Adams will make public comments at the Prime Health Innovation Summit on May 4th, which will be hosted in partnership with the Governor’s Office of eHealth Innovation (OeHI) and will aim to develop a Statewide Strategic Action Plan to support health innovation across the state.

The event will convene hundreds of healthcare policy makers, health delivery systems, payers, providers, entrepreneurs and investors. Attendees will participate in facilitated breakout discussions resulting in an assessment of the state’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats in the areas of Behavioral Health & Substance Use Disorder and Integration, Chronic Disease Management, Social Determinants of Health, Transition from Fee-For-Service to Value-Based Care, and Information and Sharing – Breaking Down Silos.

Registration for the event is open to the public at http://bit.ly/2017PHSummit


About Prime Health

Founded in 2012 by Denver South Economic Development Partnership, Innovation Pavilion and the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, Prime Health is a business ecosystem of healthcare executives, providers, technologists, academics, entrepreneurs and investors dedicated to improving healthcare delivery through digital health innovations. Prime serves as a Digital Health Integrator, accelerating the adoption and implementation of digital health technologies that enhance access to care, improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs. A stand-alone non-profit organization since 2015, Prime Health is supported by its founding organizations as well as The Colorado Health Foundation, Aetna, Kaiser Permanente, EY, ViaWest, iTriage, 10.10.10, Catalyst HTI, Innosphere, Colorado Technology Association, Colorado BioScience Association and other community partners.

Prime Health’s goal is to help Colorado become the leading health innovation state in the U.S. by 2020.

Hey Health Care Entrepreneur, Why are You Doing This the Hard Way?

Hey Health Care Entrepreneur, Why are You Doing This the Hard Way?

Last year we met with a brilliant gentleman armed with the next “disruptor” in the Health field.  It was a novel way of looking at something that was broken and making it not just workable, but necessary to the market.  There comes an inflection point where the genius and work ethic of the entrepreneur is not always enough to translate to a successful business.   As earnest as he was, Bill squandered the opportunity to build a real business.  This is a simple cautionary tale to all entrepreneurs.

Bill wanted to build his business the old-fashioned way.  Because he was technically adept and had the assistance of several buddies that could moonlight their IT acumen, he thought it wise that they build their own internal IT infrastructure.  Do you know anyone like that?  After a few months of searching, he contracted for datacenter space.  He bought hardware.  He bought software.  He waited weeks for delivery.  His team spent weekends at the datacenter installing and optimizing.  Bill spent more than $50,000 and more than five months of his time invested in the infrastructure.

So, what is wrong with that, you ask?

The issue was the core competency of the business had nothing to do with being able to deploy, manage and sustain an IT infrastructure.  It was not a differentiator in any way.  It made no more sense than if my dentist had tried to do the same.  He’s owns a dentist practice, and although his practice uses computers, he’s not in the IT infrastructure business.  Bill wasted months of his time and money and more importantly, he wasted the opportunity to grow the core business at its most critical juncture.  Although we met Bill too late to help, here are four sage reasons that your company should leverage a managed service provider (MSP) focused specifically on healthcare.

Your Focus:

What is your time worth?  Can you afford to be distracted with anything that is not core to the business?  I can guess your day is filled with talking to investors, hiring great people, managing teams, networking and looking for revenue under every rock.  Look at IT in the same light as you would look at the plumbing in your office.  It should be a given that the IT infrastructure is in good working order just as you expect to get water when you turn on the faucet.

Experts on Demand:

This is big.  Many companies don’t understand just how big until faced with making a hiring decision that does not directly attribute to revenue.  Cash is king and it is scarce.  If your organization can leverage and only pay for experts when needed, there is no reason to hire that expertise internally.  Try hiring a CISO these days.  Not only is it nearly impossible, but there is a strong likelihood that hire will jump to another opportunity within a year.  What will be the cost of finding another CISO and what does that do to the consistency of your business?  There are hundreds of subject matter experts within managed service providers readily available.  These experts range from simple administrative tasks to advising on the most complicated of HIPAA compliance interpretations.  Because these experts service hundreds of companies with wide ranging needs, they have a global view of best practices and can recommend solutions immediately.  These are proven and salient solutions for your company, many of which can be automated and institutionalized.

HIPAA Compliance:

HIPAA is not prescriptive.  You won’t find a checklist out there that walks someone without intimate knowledge of HIPAA through the process.  Managed service providers with emphasis on HIPAA compliance spend millions of dollars hiring experts, developing process and governance, deploying resources, technical, security and other assets to assure compliance.  Many now have user friendly dashboards that immediately identify compliance status.  If an issue is not in compliance, not only will it identify the issue, it will offer a specific remedy.  Many of these functions are highly automated which translates into a guaranteed compliance measure.  The cost to replicate even a rudimentary environment is exponentially higher than the cost of a purpose built managed service provider.  A further point is that a wise company can actual defer much of the risk to the MSP.  Deference of risk is brilliant on many levels not least of which means they are firmly invested in assuring your compliance.  One important note, just because an MSP says they will sign your BAA, it does not mean your liability is fully covered.  Engage consultative and legal expertise to study and assure agreements.


By now it is starting to seem obvious.  We’re talking simple ECON101 tenets.  Cloud Economics is built on three pillars of agility.  These are Financial agility, Labor agility and Technological agility.  The three pillars play in concert to give today’s forward looking company the ability to scale up and down, pay only for resources used, decrease investment in non-revenue producing labor and the ability to pivot, fail-fast and any other euphemism that implies that ability to be agile in the truest sense.  At this stage, your company should be hiring developers, R&D and sales people.  Invest where you have a competitive advantage and a path to revenue.  If you are investing in assets that do not provide direct revenue, those commitments should be examined with a highly skeptical financial eye.  Keep in mind these providers are investing for scale and that is not something you can hope to replicate.

The core competency of your business is providing healthcare in its purest sense.  Is your competency also information technology, security, risk-mitigation and the costs to deliver a highly compliant practice?  Does it make sense to endure the expense of maintaining an IT staff in-house particularly if the result is less than what is available in the market at a fraction of the cost?  Would it not make more sense to obtain world-class experts on demand that handle the most complicated of security issues on a daily basis with healthcare organizations of all shapes and sizes?  One that will accept the risks of the often undefined and fuzzy world of HIPAA?

The ability to guarantee uptime, provide instantly available audit information, coupled with an acceptance of risk is readily available from numerous providers in the market.  The agility to make changes, consume and pay for only what is demanded should be a given for your business.  The ability to leverage Cloud Economics with compliance as the cornerstone will give your business a sustainable competitive advantage.

Bryce Lopez is a Partner with Avail Partners.  Avail Partners is an independent technology consulting agency transforming the way business leaders take advantage of cloud economics.  Avail has a long-standing healthcare focused practice.  Avail evaluates vendors daily on performance, price and contract terms for Infrastructure-as-a-Service, datacenter hosting, cloud platforms and networking services.  The agency provides market intelligence, solutions design and IT/revenue analysis, while protecting against disruptive vendor sales tactics by providing client anonymity.  Avail’s methodology results in time savings, confidence in due diligence, cost containment and increased revenue potential for clients.

Bryce can be contacted at Bryce.Lopez@availpartners.net or visit www.availpartners.net

The Bedrock of Colorado’s Health Innovation Ecosystem

Colorado is the nation’s top health innovation ecosystem. I’ve made this claim on several occasions now, from the 2016 Prime Health Challenge, to our recent joint meet-up with TechrIoT.

On each occasion, I’ve presented the case for our status as the number one community of health innovators in the country. I’ve even written extensively on the subject, detailing my reasons for making this claim, while providing readers with a framework by which to assess and rank their own ecosystems.

But, as of yet, I haven’t discussed the economic conditions that have served as the bedrock of our community, haven’t addressed the underlying factors that have given rise to Colorado’s thriving health innovation ecosystem.

First among these is location. Statewide, Coloradans enjoy an average of 300 sunny days per year. To the west of Boulder, Rocky Mountain National Park annually attracts over three million visitors. And, only a short drive from Denver, several world-class ski resorts can be found. Our state’s climate, its natural beauty, and the active lifestyle they promote make Colorado a desirable destination for both established companies looking to re-locate, and young entrepreneurs looking to start-up.

Around the country, people are beginning to recognize this. According to the US Census Bureau, Colorado’s population increased by more than 100,000 residents in 2014, making it the nation’s second fastest growing state. Millennials constituted over ten percent of that population gain.

This is important to note, because Millennials are often digital natives. They use computers everyday, understand the need for strong interfaces, and appreciate a well-designed user experience. For tech companies, they represent the future.

Prompted by the mass migration of Millennials to Denver, US News & World Report recently ranked the city the best place to live in the country. When taken into account with the fact that Colorado is currently the nation’s second most educated state, the arrival of these digital natives further enhances an already formidable workforce – one that Forbes has named the nation’s top labor supply.

On their own, geographic, demographic, and economic factors of this kind would provide a sufficient basis for a thriving health innovation ecosystem anywhere. But Colorado possesses two other factors that make our ecosystem number one.

First, our state is a leading recipient of funding from the National Science Foundation. Why is this important? Public investment in the sciences is critical to the development of new technologies. And, if we’ve learned anything from the current boom in health innovation, it’s that new technologies – regardless of their industry of origin – have the potential to revolutionize healthcare by lowering costs, increasing satisfaction, and improving outcomes.

Our state is also home to the largest startup week in the country. This event annually convenes a community of entrepreneurs that spans the Front Range, from Fort Collins in the north, down through Boulder and Denver, to Colorado Springs in the south. By reinforcing our state’s culture of entrepreneurship, Denver Startup Week encourages a sense of solidarity among the members of Colorado’s booming entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Our state is a desirable location. It’s the top destination for young professionals. It’s the recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars in research funding. And it’s home to a thriving startup community.

Taken together, these factors represent the bedrock of our health innovation ecosystem. They ensure a consistent stream of talented innovators into our community. They allow companies to form and grow with fewer obstacles. They permit the development of innovation support systems like the Boomtown Health-Tech Accelerator10.10.10 HealthPrime Health, and Catalyst HTI. And they encourage successful entrepreneurs to pursue their next ventures here in Colorado, with innovators from digital health giants like iTriageTrizetto, and HealthGrades staying in our state to launch startups like DispatchHealthListenMD, and MDValuate.

With a foundation like this below our feet, is it any wonder we’re number one?

Jeffrey Nathanson
President & CEO
Prime Health

10 Reasons Why Colorado is the Nation’s Top Health Innovation Ecosystem

During the 2016 Prime Health Challenge, I announced that Colorado was the top health innovation ecosystem in the nation. A number of factors influenced this announcement, including Colorado’s ranking as the country’s fastest growing economy, top labor supply, and best place to live.

But it was also influenced by an assessment of our statewide health innovation ecosystem according to 10 metrics adapted from the Rotman School of Management’s Report on Global Accelerators and Innovation Hubs.

Today, I’m sharing this assessment to substantiate Prime Health’s claim to the number one ranking, and to challenge other regions to rank their own ecosystems according to these metrics.

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

Our statewide health innovation ecosystem is dedicated to using digital technology to transform the delivery of care. Organizations like Boomtown Health-Tech Accelerator in Boulder, meetups like Colorado Emerging Medical Device in Denver, and initiatives like Innosphere’s digital health program in cities throughout the Front Range exemplify this focus.

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

The members of our ecosystem include several established healthcare organizations capable of supporting large-scale initiatives, such as Kaiser Permanente, Centura, and HCA. Additionally, the ecosystem itself has been developing this capacity through broad mobilizations like 10.10.10 Health and the Prime Health Challenge, which have consistently convened hundreds of clinicians, executives, technologists, entrepreneurs, and investors to accelerate the adoption of innovation within the healthcare system.

This capacity is further augmented by the State of Colorado, which has implemented a Medicaid expansion, created a state-run health insurance exchange, and is currently the recipient of a $65 million grant from CMS to build a State Innovation Model focused on transforming clinical practice.

3. Is the ecosystem partnered with healthcare providers?

The healthcare system’s current transition from a fee-for-service model to value-based care has motivated a multitude of providers to participate in Colorado’s health innovation ecosystem. Prime Health has identified 46 such providers currently engaging with our ecosystem, including Children’s Hospital Colorado, Denver Health, and Florida Hospital.

4. Is the ecosystem partnered with corporations?

Because corporations can drive the adoption of innovation by serving as highly effective channel partners for startups, we view corporate partnerships as vital to the health of our ecosystem. Prime Health is currently working with a range of corporate partners, from Davita and Google, to the members of the Colorado Business Group on Health.

5. Is the ecosystem partnered with investors?

While our corporate partners are driving the adoption of innovation in Colorado, investors are fueling its growth. Our organization has identified 15 investment firms currently funding Prime Health’s portfolio companies, including Grayhawk Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, and Arsenal Ventures.

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

Strong partnerships with regulatory bodies are vital to developing reimbursement measures for digital health interventions. With this in mind, Prime Health is working closely with the State of Colorado’s eHealth Commission, as well as its Office of Health Innovation, which oversees the development of policy regarding the funding of Medicaid in Colorado.

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

With major healthcare providers like Kaiser Permanente, Centura, and HCA, large payer organizations like Aetna, United Healthcare, and Blue Cross Blue Shield, and benefit management consultancies like Lockton, Mercer, and Gallagher serving Colorado’s more than 5 million residents, the answer is emphatically yes. Thanks to organizations like 10.10.10 Health, Prime Health, and Startup Health Colorado, the stream of new technologies flowing into these channels is sure to remain constant.

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

The physical support structure for entrepreneurs that exists within Colorado is remarkable. Innovators in our state have access to co-working spaces like Galvanize, accelerators like TechStars, and incubators like Innovation Pavilion. To support these entrepreneurs virtually, Prime Health recently launched Prime Health Collaborate, an online collaboration platform powered by the Salesforce Foundation.

9. How accessible is information within the ecosystem?

Colorado is home to one of the largest startup weeks in the country, which provides attendees with more than 300 learning sessions. Prime Health further improves access to information for the members of our ecosystem through its monthly meetups, quarterly summits, and annual challenge.

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

As of this year’s Prime Health Challenge, our organization has funded 15 health innovation pilots with $430,000 from the Colorado Health Foundation. Using Prime Health Qualify, we have vetted 69 digital health companies, which have collectively raised $34 million.

Jeffrey Nathanson
President & CEO
Prime Health

Emerging Opportunities for Digital Health Technology

On October 7th, I had the honor to participate in a workshop in Phoenix, Arizona as part of the Society of General Internal Medicine Mountain West Regional Meeting.  General Internists from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and Wyoming participated in our workshop titled “There’s an App for That! Emerging Opportunities for Digital Health Technology in General Internal Medicine.”

For this workshop, I was joined by Drew Bolton, MD, a third year primary care resident from the University of Colorado, Chip Brunk, CEO of TestAppropriate, and Zach Johnson, Product Lead for C3LX, 2 digital health companies located in the Denver area.  I first met Chip and Zach through the PrimeHealth 2015 Digital Health Challenge, and we have continued to work together since that meeting to test their products within our clinic.

The first part of the workshop was an overview of the definition of digital health and a review of some of the medical literature regarding digital health research.  The group had a spirited discussion debating and dissecting the studies, and even though overall the initial data is somewhat limited and disappointing, the opportunity to learn from these early trials to develop new protocols was energizing.

Dr Bolton and I discussed how existing digital health apps such as the AHRQ ePSS app, the ASCVD Risk app, Calorific and Up-to-Date can be used to educate medical students, medical residents and patients in the clinic at the point of care.  I even served as a test subject to demonstrate the Kardia device and app, which records a cardiac rhythm strip using a smartphone (I am proud to say my heart rate stayed below 80!).

The third part of our workshop included Chip providing an overview of TestAppropriate, educating the internists about the upcoming changes as a result of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA) that will require internists to confirm that they have proactively used a validated tool when ordering cardiac and imaging studies to meet Appropriate Utilization Criteria.  Also presented at the workshop was data from a chart review of 3 years of cardiac testing from Uptown Primary Care that showed 28% of the non-invasive cardiac tests ordered by our physicians were not the most appropriate test, and 57% of the orders were not lowest cost appropriate test.  This provides us with a benchmark to see if implementation of a digital health product such as TestAppropriate will help improve these metrics.

Zach closed out our workshop by describing how general internists can act as advisors and form partnerships with digital health developers that will serve to define and refine digital health products to add value to clinical care, and how digital health developers raise capital in a competitive environment.  As a result of this workshop in the high desert of Arizona, some new contacts were made, new opportunities were presented, the efforts of Colorado in being a regional and national leader in Digital Health were highlighted, and opportunities for the specialty of general internal medicine to advance digital health were promoted.

Dr. Scott Joy 
Medical Director
Uptown Primary Care
Presbyterian/St Luke’s Medical Center/The Colorado Health Foundation

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.