Health startups plan for new year: “Our horses are assembled; in 2013, we ride”

Healthcare accelerators kept growing in 2012 and helped startups find investors and refine elevator pitches. We asked a few of these startups what their plans are for 2013. Here is what they said:

Ryan Luce, president and founder, Corengi

Ryan Luce

Biggest challenge in 2013: Staying focused on our key business goals, driving investment and having fun!

Hope for 2013: Leverage the SBIR grant we received from NIH into matching tools for more conditions, helping more people learn and connect with clinical trials.

Sean Duffy, CEO, Omada Health

Sean Duffy

Biggest challenge in 2013: Navigating the complicated channels in enterprise health care while scaling up our sales force strategically and effectively.

Hope for 2013: 1. More fee-for-service providers decide to take on risk and 2. These providers take a more active role in managing their population health.

Charlie Zei, co-founder and chief operating officer, PUSH Wellness Solutions, Inc.

Biggest challenge in 2013: Our biggest challenge will be overcoming the noise in the very fractured wellness space and articulating how we’re different/better. According to one of the big benefit consulting firms, the wellness industry has grown from about 5,000 vendors to over 7,500 in just the past few years. A lot of those vendors are doing the same thing and doing the wrong things. We need to effectively communicate to employers, partners and investors how our approach is different and more effective.

Hope for 2013: Our greatest hope is that PUSH Wellness will “make the leap” from promising startup to legitimate player in the wellness space in 2013. We had a great year in 2012: Healthbox, our first sales, raising seed funds, etc. We now have a year’s worth of very strong results — lots of people losing weight, quitting smoking and improving their BP, cholesterol and fitness using our program — to back our claims that our progress-based approach to incentives is uniquely fair and effective. It’s time to grow the business so we can share this solution and impact as many lives as possible.

Jonathan Sheena

Jonathan Sheena, chief technology officer, Natera

Biggest challenge in 2013: Natera’s focus in the coming year is the launch of Panorama, our next-generation noninvasive prenatal test (NIPT) for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome and sex chromosome abnormalities. We continue to conduct activities that will educate physicians, geneticists and healthcare providers about our test. The data we have reported to date, including recent results demonstrating the test’s 100 percent accuracy across chromosomal abnormalities, provide added validation for Panorama and will help ensure that it meets the needs of physicians and pregnant mothers.

Hope for 2013: In the next year, I expect to see that clinical applications for sequencing will move from rudimentary counting approaches to the use of sophisticated algorithms, which in turn expand the uses of the technology. Advanced sequencing technologies can be applied to create improved noninvasive prenatal tests as well as target additional areas such as oncology.

In addition, as the technology behind noninvasive prenatal tests advances, I expect that the number of chromosomal abnormalities that can be detected will expand, for example, to sub-chromosomal abnormalities such as microdeletions, which will provide parents with more comprehensive information that will enable them to prepare for the birth of their child.
Emily Stinson, co-founder, eProvision

eProvizion helps manage access to EHRs

Emily Stinson

Biggest challenge in 2013: We have been approached by larger companies in our space interested in our product as an add-on to their product or suite of products. Continue to mine strategic relationships like these as part of our marketing and sales strategy for 2013.

Hope for 2013: The new audit protocol released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be more heavily enforced this year and we expect the need for solutions such as eProvision will be in high demand. We feel our product is well suited to help reduce cost and improve efficiency and provisioning, privacy as well as meeting a large portion of the security section of the new HHS HIPAA protocol.

We just got back from the inaugural HIMSS Privacy and Security national conference. The director of the Office of Civil Rights, Health and Human Services spoke and released findings from the 2012 pilot study that audited more than 100 hospitals around the country to see how they were matching up with the new audit protocol and regs around privacy, security and HIPAA.

At the conference we were able to continue to validate our solution against the great need for products like ours. We got interest in our solution from National Health Care IT consults looking for solutions like ours for their clients.


Dr. Ron Clark

Dr. Ron Clark, co-founder and chief strategy officer, QUICK

Biggest challenge in 2013: Personal health information privacy in the context of personal health data storage and transmission to third parties. Our smart device enabled real-time personal health data communication platform will be tested in 2013 to determine accuracy, reproducibility and reliability of the diagnostic platform.

As we are developing noninvasive testing platforms for glucose, alcohol, drugs and other substances, there are numerous opportunities for end users to improve their health by communicating their personal health status to healthcare providers, hospital systems, insurance companies, social support systems, both government-based and private as well as social media sites including Facebook and Twitter.

Hope for 2013: We are currently partnering with hardware manufacturers, software developers, scientific and regulatory consultants, academic institutions and healthcare systems to develop next-generation smart device capabilities that have the potential to modify or enhance personal health choices in real-time. This QUICK platform could have a diabetic end user’s smartphone display that her glucose is too high and she needs to call her doctor or go to the hospital, or that an end user who is drinking alcohol has an alcohol level that is too high and they should not drive. We will work with our software partners to ensure personal data privacy through encryption and other means.

Our horses are assembled; in 2013, we ride.
Victor Gane, Ph.D., founder and CEO, DermLink.md

Biggest challenge in 2013: Continue to leverage our partnership with Dossia, a consortium of Fortune 100 companies with more than 3 million employees, which provides employees access to a marketplace of healthcare solutions. DermLink.md is the dermatology service provider for the companies in the Dossia consortium.

Hope for 2013: Keep helping dermatologists identify skin cancer patients using the DermLink.md software

We have the largest and fastest-growing online network of board certified dermatologists in the U.S. (over 20 states). We also released an updated iPhone app and are currently developing an Android version.

Additional reporting by Deanna Pogorelc and Stephanie Baum

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