Miami Children’s Health System offers breeding ground for innovative digital health startups

Blue screen for health technology
Miami Children's is investing in digital health startups and providing new companies with a place to test their products.

By partnering with a local startup incubator and investing its own money into digital health companies, Miami Children’s Health System is looking to position itself as an industry innovator.

For the last five years, Miami Children’s Health System has sought out companies that could solve some of the specific challenges associated with caring for a pediatric population, according to the Miami Herald. By partnering with a Miami digital health incubator called Startupbootcamp, the health system has opened up its facility to digital innovators that can test their products in the clinical environment.

“We want to make this an ingrained part of the way we do business,” Miami Children’s CEO Narendra Kini, M.D., told the Herald, adding that the system has invested “quite a few million dollars” in several startups developed in-house.

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Babyscripts, which uses a “mommy kit” to collect data from expecting mothers and alerts a physician if there are abnormal results, is one of several startups that have worked with Miami Children’s. Another startup, called Aces Health, streamlines data collection efforts for clinical trials. Partnering with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital gave Aces access to clinical experts and helped the company navigate FDA regulations.  

“They have opened up an opportunity for us to showcase our ability in a really good testing ground,” said Aces Health founder David Heenan.

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The hospital’s focus on providing a breeding ground for digital health companies reflects a growing trend across the country in which health systems are investing in technology. Last week, Michigan-based Spectrum Health announced plans to invest $100 million in health IT through a newly formed venture capital arm.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has adopted a similar approach through UPMC Enterprises, which aims to provide the system with “diversified revenue,” according to UPMC Enterprises President Talbot C. "Tal" Heppenstall.

Heppenstall previously told FierceHealthcare that the diversified approach makes UPMC well-positioned for any changes to the Affordable Care Act.