Pseudo-VCing in the world of Health Technology

I’ve been participating in some of the reviews for applications to present at the Health Data Initiative Forum on June 9 sponsored by the Institute of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.  I gotta say, it is a lot of fun being the evaluator and hearing some really passionate entrepreneurs describe their health technology projects.

Many of the apps/teams/projects being presented are early-stage ideas, ones that are in the prototyping phase (but past the “just an idea” phase).  It’s actually been incredibly interesting watching the teams pitch their prototypes and apps on how to improve public health.  Many of the projects are awesome and impactful – but sadly I’ve got no money to invest in these projects.  In fact, I don’t think the government should play the role of an investor – this is tax-payer money after all and should be used somewhat conservatively.  However, the one thing the Department can do is help connect the projects with the right people to make things happen.  For example, we can make connections between app developers, government agencies, and industry players where some of their apps can be supported or be distributed to more users.

So what do I personally  look for when reviewing the pitches?

  1. Does the project fulfill a demonstrated need and provide a tangible benefit to users?
  2. Are customers better off after utilizing your project?
  3. Sustainability and scalability – does the project have potential beyond your prototype or beta-test base?
  4. How far along are you – are you just an idea or did you make something?
I’m not the only one reviewing these pitches, and the final decision is still forthcoming, but I gotta say that I’ve been loving the experience.  There is nothing more exciting than working on growing the healthcare technology industry and I can’t wait for the Health Data Initiative Forum on June 9; hope to see you there!
Ah, looks like it’s waitlist only now…  IMO, still worth it.
D.C. Health 2.0 STAT Logo

Revolutionizing Data Access:

Check out my talk on at the D.C. Health 2.0 STAT event this February!

As Todd Park, the Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services writes on the inaugural blog post, “ is a one-stop resource for the growing ecosystem of innovators who are turning data into new applications, services, and insights that can help improve health.”

Read more below:

Continue reading

Community Health Data Forum: Harnessing the Power of Information to Improve Health



This is it – it’s time for the Community Heath Data Forum!  Packed house at the National Academy of Sciences with some real heavy hitters in attendance.  Both Secretary Sebelius and Deputy Secretary Corr from the Department of Health and Human Services are here today.  I’m definitely looking forward to the presentations and the Expo afterward.

Dr. Finberg giving the opening talk of this event.  It definitely sounds like this is going to be a great event.

“Community Health Data Initiative is a perfect expression of those ideals of government”

“People in communities can improve the quality of their healthcare and healthcare system if they have the information to do it” – Secretary Sebelius.  This initiative combines two of the most important goals of the Obama Administration.  Transparency and Participation seems to be the key themes around this project and all things going forward.  “Transform fee for survice into a quality purchaser” – this really is where health reform meets open government.  That’s absolutely right, we need to ensure that the American public know what they’re purchasing.

This event is featuring a jab, punch, uppercut combo of Dr. Fineberg, Secretary Sebelius and Dep. Secretary Corr.  In less than 12 weeks a whole new of health applications were put togther: that’s pretty amazing stuff.  I got to say, it’s the video games that I’m most looking forward to!

HHS is planning on launching a data warehouse website that will feature easily downloadable data that can be incorporated into websites and applications.  What really is special is that HHS is letting the innovators take control of the data and do what they want with it.  That is really the value of innovation: letting the entrepreneurs come and try stuff out.

Palantir’s presentation focuses in on Texas’s data.  They’re comparing child poverty data with other data sets that might have relationships to one another.  There is a relationship between child poverty and teen birth rate across the US.  After removing the data, this relationship still holds in Texas.  Palantir is able to search services available to the population.  Amazing – the example shows that the areas with high levels of child poverty have low access to Boys and girls clubs, and also access to hospitals with acute care.

Android decided to mess up.  Pictures will be uploaded later.  As an aside – can’t wait for Froyo…

Bing has incorporated healthcare survey data and patient reports right into their map application and their search applications for hospitals.  This is pretty awesome.  Comparison of the data layer with the location of supermarkets successfully shows areas that might be underserved.

Sonoma County Network of Care utilizes health data to determine how to create a platform for change / health conscious community.