Health IT, Top Story, Startups

Kaiser Permanente Ventures senior managing director talks about his return (Q&A)

The move back to Kaiser Permanente Ventures comes after a year of working with New Leaf Venture Partners.

Brasch_Sam_20_HiRes(1)Sam Brasch has moved back to Kaiser Permanente Ventures, the investment arm of the Kaiser Permanente health system, this time as senior managing director. The move comes after a year of working with New Leaf Venture Partners, which invests in early to late stage companies in biopharma, medical device and health tech sectors. Brasch responded to emailed questions on making the move back to the corporate venture investor.

What’s it like making the jump from a venture investment firm to a corporate venture investor?

For me, the jump back into corporate is an easy one. The ability to understand firsthand from world-class clinical and operational leaders what is happening on the front lines of health care is a tremendous asset as we look to identify and support entrepreneurs.

I’m thrilled to be back at KP Ventures. This group has proven its ability to identify and meaningfully support entrepreneurs tackling the key challenges facing the U.S. health care system. I’m excited by the opportunity to build on these successes as we look to help advance innovations that improve health and health care in the U.S.

What are some of the investment decisions that you have made that have paid off?

On a personal level, I made a number of investments when I was with KP Ventures from 2011-2014. It’s great to come back now and see the progress those companies have made since then and the impact they are having on healthcare. One company, iRhythm , has now helped diagnose arrhythmia’s in hundreds of thousands of patients with their Zio service, leading to incredibly valuable insights into the nature and burden of atrial fibrillation. Another company, Health Catalyst, has proven to be an instrumental partner to health systems around driving operational and clinical outcomes improvements.
What is one area of health tech investment that excites your curiosity, but you have not made an investment yet?

We are in the midst of a tremendous opportunity in healthcare. The larger U.S. health care system is in the midst of a transition to a value-based orientation that is in many ways in line with Kaiser Permanente’s integrated care delivery model. To make this transition successful, and to help Kaiser Permanente continue to advance its own efforts to deliver high-quality, accessible, and cost-effective care, we need to continue finding the innovations and entrepreneurs that understand where the system is headed and can help enable its future success.