New Aegis Ventures consortium joins 9 health systems to co-develop digital solutions

Aegis Ventures has launched a digital health innovation collaborative with the backing of nine founding health systems.

The venture capital company's new Digital Consortium aims to put health systems at the center of digital health innovation to help address healthcare’s most pressing quality, equity and cost challenges. These health systems will co-develop, invest in and deploy health tech solutions alongside Aegis. 

Broadly, the problem areas Aegis expects to address are in the realms of health equity, digital access and burnout. But the venture studio remains flexible and committed to focusing on partner pain points, executives said.

The Digital Consortium’s founding members are:  

  • Stanford Health Care
  • Endeavor Health
  • Indiana University Health
  • Memorial Hermann Health System 
  • Northwell Health
  • Novant Health
  • Ochsner Health 
  • The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
  • Sharp Healthcare

Founding members were selected through a rigorous evaluation that looked at track records of leadership and innovation in care delivery and quality, Aegis said. Together, the members represent more than $65 billion in operating revenue and more than 300,000 employees. 

Aegis originally launched in 2020 in collaboration with Northwell Health. Together, Aegis and Northwell have partnered to build four companies in areas including patient engagement, women’s health, AI-enabled diagnostics, workflow automation and emotion analytics.

Since the beginning, its goal has been to establish a new approach to how entrepreneurs and health systems work together on technologies. Health systems are best suited to identify problems in need of solutions and drive meaningful adoption of products, John Beadle, Aegis co-founder and managing partner, told Fierce Healthcare. 

“There's been great results,” he said. “We’re now eager to bring it to a much broader set of health systems.”

Aegis' appeal is that it can offer more significant early-stage development support to health systems than has been given historically, alongside the opportunity to diversify margins, he added.

The venture studio offers wraparound support via teams with a deep understanding of health IT and the challenges that health systems face, according to Beadle. It helps partners identify their unique challenges, put together business plans and then build out prototypes with technical teams. The result often means getting solutions to end users for testing and feedback in a matter of weeks.

Once a product is designed for a particular system’s unique needs, the goal is to then offer it to others. Over time, the consortium will likely expand, Beadle said.

Involving providers in designing solutions is critical to their personal investment in them, said John Noseworthy, emeritus president and CEO of Mayo Clinic and chairman of the consortium.

“Health systems have a reputation of being difficult to work with because they’re dealing with difficult problems that no one’s been able to solve,” he told Fierce Healthcare. If they are a part of the process, “they change how they practice … immediately, because they believe the data, they’ve seen what’s happened." 

Between limited margins, growing burnout and the aftermath of COVID, there is broad recognition across the industry that something needs to change, he added. And technology is seen as a powerful potential way to do so. But for it to make sense and be effective, it will require collaboration and sharing best practices along the way. 

“This will be a lasting partnership of trusted people working together, for the reason they all went into healthcare in the first place—which is to provide better care to patients, families and communities,” Noseworthy said.