Help for Health Tech Innovators from an EHR Giant

By Adrienne Burke | Small Business

If you’re running a young health tech business, here’s a resource you’ll want to know about. The healthcare industry giant athenahealth—a provider of cloud-based electronic health record, billing, patient engagement, and care coordination services with a market cap of $4.4 billion—wants to help entrepreneurs with innovative ideas designed to “driving connectivity and innovation across the continuum of care.”

The company, whose “More Disruption Please” events have convened over 2,500 health tech innovators and hackers since 2010, established a More Disruption Please Accelerator at its Watertown, Mass., headquarters in June. It is accepting applications on a rolling basis from startups that are committed to “open, interoperable, and disruptive technology.” Technologies must be provider-facing solutions and companies should have at least a beta version (cloud-based products preferred), pilot customers or active users, and a solid working team. Athenahealth says it is focused on high-potential early- or growth-stage companies that are committed to keeping at least half of their operation in the Boston area.

Smart Scheduling, the accelerator’s first portfolio company, gets mentorship from athenahealth’s in-house experts and partners, as well as access, through a developer portal, to the company’s APIs and exposure to its network of more than 55,000 health care providers. Smart Scheduling CEO Chris Moses calls those benefits “critical to the scalability and success” of his technology, which improves access to care by predicting doctors’ office no-shows and reducing scheduling errors.

Athenahealth says portfolio companies also get “substantial” seed funding in the form of a convertible note, free office space at the Watertown campus, introductions to its network of venture capitalists and angel investors, and direct feedback from a Physician Advisory Board and super users. During an 8-12 month residency, startups also have access to mentors who are experts in product strategy, development, marketing/PR, business development/sales, recruiting, culture, design, UX/UI, finance, government and regulatory issues.

The accelerator aims to bring “entrepreneurialism to health care through a tailored program that offers portfolio companies customized resources and programming to meet their individual needs,” says Kyle Armbrester, the company’s VP of business development. He says athenahealth “is deepening its commitment to creating a robust market for open health care technology—something doctors and patients demand to improve the quality of care.”

Learn more here about the More Disruption Please Accelerator eligibility criteria.

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