BioIntelliSense, founded in summer 2018, developed the BioSticker before working with UCHealth. Hospitals
But the company tapped UCHealth to act as a “beta test site” for the device, helping to refine the service and provide feedback into how to incorporate it into patient care, said Dr. James Mault, founder and CEO at BioIntelliSense.
That includes looking into how to present patient data to clinicians, as well as considerations like whether it’s better to give patients the BioSticker at the hospital or mail it to them at home.
UCHealth also played a role in the BioSticker’s Food and Drug Administration clearance, which the company received late last year, by helping with a human factors study to submit to the agency. “They’re really the clinical proving ground,” Mault said of UCHealth.
Baystate Health in Springfield, Mass., launched its digital innovation team, TechSpring, in 2014 to facilitate partnerships with tech companies. TechSpring mainly works with mid- to late-stage startups and established companies, rather than early-stage startups. Those partners have the opportunity to build, test and validate products at Baystate, with support from the TechSpring team.
In one project, TechSpring worked with startup Praxify Technologies—which has since been acquired by Athena- health—to refine a mobile app that links up to the health system’s EHR, essentially providing a quick way for physicians to access medical records while rounding, on call or otherwise not at their desktop.
The goal was to create an app that improved EHR usability and made workflow more convenient for physicians. Baystate began letting physicians download the app in 2018, and many have welcomed the option, said Joel Vengco, Baystate’s chief information officer and founder of TechSpring. He said about 60% of physicians have downloaded the app.
Baystate was not an investor in Praxify. In fact, Baystate doesn’t provide funding for projects that are part of TechSpring—instead, companies pay TechSpring for project management services and access to the health system.
In exchange for its work with Praxify, Baystate also received a less expensive software license, “commensurate to our sweat investment,” Vengco said. Working with outside partners helps health systems stay competitive and “keep their view on the horizon,” according to Vengco. That’s particularly the case as health systems see more nontraditional players—such as tech and retail companies—trying to disrupt the healthcare industry.
“We can get so caught up in what’s happening right now, and the fires that we’re dealing with right now, that sometimes we forget to look up at the horizon,” Vengco said of healthcare organizations. “That’s when nontraditional players and competitors start to come in to our space and innovate and start to take our market.”
When selecting a partner, startups and more established companies offer different benefits. Startups are often more nimble and able to move more quickly, less bogged down by bureaucracy. On the other hand, a more mature company will likely need less hand-holding, and could have more experience with the industry and these types of partnerships. “It’s a sliding scale,” said Allan Cohen, a partner in law firm Nixon Peabody’s healthcare group.
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