How We Chose the Semi-Finalists of the 2016 Prime Health Challenge

Last week, something remarkable occurred. On the evening of Tuesday, August 23rd, 47 members of our health innovation ecosystem, including physicians, entrepreneurs, technologists, executives, administrators, and investors, gathered at INDUSTRY to judge the applicants of the 2016 Prime Health Challenge. It was the single largest gathering of judges in the Challenge’s three-year history.

Now, let me be clear. We did not hire these judges. They were volunteers. And while they came from different parts of the ecosystem – with some representing the payer organizations, and others representing the healthcare providers, and still others representing the innovation community – they had all agreed to be judges in this year’s Challenge for the same reason.

They understand that our healthcare system is in dire straits. They recognize that something needs to be done. And they believe that the process we’ve developed for evaluating health-tech startups can ensure that necessary innovations are integrated into the healthcare system sooner rather than later.

Before gathering on Tuesday, the judges spent a week evaluating the startups that had applied for the Challenge. We tasked each judge with the assessment of up to five companies, which we matched them to according to their areas of expertise. With the help of our online evaluation platform, Prime Health Qualify, the judges analyzed their startups according to several key metrics, including industry attractiveness, technology validation, and potential market size.

By Tuesday, the judges had all reached their own conclusions about the readiness of the startups to be integrated into the healthcare system. They had entered their evaluations into Prime Health Qualify, which had aggregated them, generating a composite score for each company. Importantly, the Prime Health Qualify platform had also identified areas of disagreement between the judges.

Those areas of disagreement became the focus of our discussion on Tuesday.

Objective, Repeatable, Scalable

We’ve known for years now that the digital transformation of the healthcare industry is going to be a slow process. Prime Health Qualify is an attempt to accelerate that process.

By enlisting the members of our health innovation ecosystem in the evaluation of new technologies, we’re developing as comprehensive an assessment as possible. By using our platform to then aggregate those evaluations, we’re trying to reach a level of accuracy and objectivity that an individual judge wouldn’t be able to achieve on their own.

And by giving our judges a chance to discuss areas where their assessments diverged, we’re ensuring that nothing is overlooked in our evaluations.

This last point is critical. Every insight our judges can bring to the evaluation of these companies matters, because what we’re doing has never been done before. Prime Health Qualify represents something entirely new to health innovation: a standardized, repeatable, and scalable means of evaluating new digital health technologies.

After two hours of discussion on Tuesday, we completed our first round of evaluations for the 2016 Prime Health Challenge. Of the more than forty companies that had applied, fifteen were chosen to advance to the semi-finals round. Those companies were:

Bear Systems
Doctor Speak
Lung Direct
Medical Simulation Corporation
Nymbl Science
Orderly Health
Preventative Technology Solutions
Quantant Technology
Sleep Shepherd
Symbia Allergy
TOMR2 Development

Though all of those who applied for the 2016 Prime Health Challenge will be able to use their evaluations to improve their presentations, this year’s semi-finalists will enjoy the added advantage of doing so within the Prime Health Qualify process.

They will be matched with mentors who will help them sharpen their pitches, demonstrate clinical efficacy, and refine their understanding of the healthcare market. Those who reach the finals round of the Prime Health Challenge will be able to meet with healthcare providers and payers interested in piloting their solutions. And they will have the chance to pitch their innovations to those providers and payers in front of an audience of hundreds on October 19th.

Most importantly, they will join the ranks of those companies that have already been evaluated using Prime Health Qualify. In the past two years, the companies we’ve assessed have collectively raised $34 million. We expect the startups in this year’s Challenge to experience the same benefits.

And it all begins with our judges.

Jeffrey Nathanson
President & CEO
Prime Health