New York, New York…it’s a health tech town (Part 1)

New York, New York, a helluva town.
The Bronx is up, but the Battery’s down.
The people ride in a hole in the groun’.
New York, New York, it’s a helluva town!

From ‘On The Town’, lyrics Betty Comden/Adolph Green, music Leonard Bernstein

Last week’s three events convinced even The Gimlet Eye that New York City is finally a helluva town for many things eHealthy. There were full houses at both Health 2.0’s Matchpoint|East and Health 2.0 NYC’s first-ever Healthcare Pioneers: Healthcare 2020. CE Week, presented by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), prominently featured health tech on the packed show floor and hosted the Digital Health Summit (DHS). Matchpoint|East is our starting point in Part 1.

Matchpoint|East, Tuesday 25 June (@Goodwin Procter)

Health 2.0’s Matchpoint series combines general sessions held in a spacious corporate setting with designated 15-20 minute meetings/demos between ‘matched’ health tech entrepreneurs and large stakeholders, including Healthagen/Aetna, Humana, Hewlett-Packard, Athenahealth, Ziegler and numerous funders. It is organized to have generous networking, groups around tables and side meeting time in a compact five-hour session plus reception.

While your Editor did not have access to the stakeholder meetings, she saw early-stage entrepreneurs she knows, such as Serge Loncar of CareSpeak Communications [TA 14 May], readying their laptops and notes for these meetings–in business dress, with no jeans, sneakers, hoodies in sight. Mr. Loncar is a veteran with seven years building and evolving CareSpeak. On the other end of the spectrum was my lunch companion, Akhila Satish, CEO of CyberDoctor, who raised her targeted funding only last January on health crowdfunder MedStartr. Their Symptom Scan is a guided online form that delivers patient-reported symptom information directly to a clinician and Treatment Tracker records self-reported patient compliance, but Ms. Satish is already in her third iteration, Patient Partner, which enables patients to model their healthcare behaviors in a better way using a ‘third person’ device. It’s currently testing with non-compliant diabetics and scheduled to launch in September.

Other highlights:

Three big trends in healthcare innovation via Health 2.0’s co-chairman Matthew Holt: data mobility (Blue Button downloads), trackers (consumer engagement using sensor-based technology) and EMR usability (doctors moving away from EMRs which are difficult to use).

How entrepreneurs can mitigate risk from Goodwin Procter’s Jeff Klein (listen to your legal counsel!):

  • Know the customer’s purchasing cycle…their budget availability…their pressures…and how they acquire their customers
  • Your product has to address their problems (above)
  • Your contracting has to be scalable–the master services agreement (MSA) should apply to additional project/products.
  • Realize the process is complex and regulated. Privacy and security will be issues.
  • Make sure your contract has protected intellectual property and assignability if company is acquired or merges. (Templating a contract with the ‘ideal deal’ is highly advisable, not only to have on hand but also to work through issues.)
  • During the project, maintain momentum via excellent project management, milestoning/time management and moving forward.
  • Every touchpoint with the customer should be maximized

What you should pay attention to before you make a merger/acquisition deal (Christopher Austin–Goodwin Procter/Andy Colbert–Ziegler/Steve Chase–Medivo):

  • Have your financial house in order! Any kind of due diligence will expose the sketchy parts.
  • Don’t skip annual audits; it is tempting with overworked financial staff to do so and go to two years, but this will turn around and bite.
  • Really, really vet your financial staff–and bring in an outside CPA if needed to do so.

Funding and commercialization trends are changing (Unity Stoakes, StartUp Health, picture 1)…

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….and crowdfunding is working as an alternative early-stage source (Alex Fair, MedStartr, picture 2).  Crowd may very well be the ‘new seed funding’–example Avado raising over $7,500  on MedStartr during September 2012 and now raising $1 million through NY Digital Health Accelerator (NYDHA) and AngelList.

Protect your intellectual property (IP) via patents, but understand that they may be challenged. Bhaskar Rhamurthy and Mike Ure of patent intelligence company Lynx Patents explained the US Patent and Trademark Office is only concerned with the patent’s validity and not whether it infringes on another patent.

  • Having patent intelligence can help you defend your patents (being there first), determining exclusivity, assets (gaps in IP of potential acquirers) and licensing opportunities.
  • The most litigated patent area–a favorite of NPEs (non-practicing entities) which own patents (a/k/a ‘patent trolls’)–is patient self-management.

The five preferred ways of collaborating with health providers (Jahan Ali, Partnership Fund for NY)

  1. Treat the collaboration as feedback on your tech
  2. The first question is how to integrate it with their workflow and current systems
  3. The CMIO (chief medical informatics officer) should be your primary champion–but have multiple ones
  4. On pilots, think through issues on payment and how much it really costs to structure the deal
  5. Create ways to utilize the provider as a mentor

Editor Donna thanks Health 2.0’s Joy Bhosai and Alex Fair of MedStartr for arrangements.

Part 2CE Week

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