Intermountain Healthcare taps VC firm General Catalyst to accelerate innovation, value-based care

Intermountain Healthcare is teaming up with West Coast venture capital firm General Catalyst to inject digital innovation across its health system.

Key to the partnership will be access to General Catalyst's portfolio of health tech startups, including Transcarent, Olive, Sprinter Health, Commure and Cadence, and broader access to the ecosystem of emerging digital health companies.

The collaboration will involve jointly exploring opportunities within the Intermountain system and within healthcare in general to accelerate the shift to value-based care through digital and other solutions offered by companies in the VC firm's network of "Health Assurance, according to the organizations.

The two organizations also will focus on expanding value-based care, reducing total costs of care, providing world-class patient experiences and achieving health equity objectives. The partnership will establish a rigorous process for identifying and scoping specific needs, assessing and co-developing feasible and effective solutions, and scaling those solutions across the health system to drive positive outcomes.

"We have long believed in the need for ‘radical collaboration’ between technology investors and leading healthcare systems, and these collaborations are great examples of how these two worlds can come together to dramatically improve the patient and provider experience. Neither one of us, acting alone, can make as much progress as the two of us working together," Hemant Taneja, managing partner at General Catalyst told Fierce Healthcare.

"We think by bringing together our ecosystem of healthcare portfolio companies to work more directly with hospital systems—who have the real-world use cases and patient/provider empathy and insight—we can accelerate our impact," he added.

General Catalyst's portfolio includes well-funded startups such as Livongo founder Glen Tullman's newest startup, Transcarent, which has already hit a $1.62 valuation after launching a year ago. The company is focused on overhauling the employer-sponsored benefits space. Another digital health "unicorn," Cadence provides a remote care platform to help patients manage chronic conditions at home and at scale. Sprinter Health is an on-demand mobile health company that sends full-time nurses and phlebotomists, who the company calls "sprinters," into patients' homes for lab draws, vitals checks like blood pressure and heart rate and COVID-19 testing.

This is the venture capital firm's third big collaboration in the past year. General Catalyst notched a partnership with HCA Healthcare last July and teamed up with Jefferson Health last November.

Intermountain has been a driving force in the migration to value-based care, Taneja said, and executives at the health system "deeply understand the importance of interconnectedness and interoperability as core aspects of making that happen."

He noted that the move to value-based care is an essential unlock in the VC firm's goal to reduce the gross domestic product of healthcare by 20% by 2030. 

At Intermountain Healthcare, providers participating in risk-based care arrangements had more than 10% savings in 2021 compared to providers not in those same value-based care arrangements, the health system reported. Prior to the recent merger with SCL Health, more patient-derived revenue at Intermountain came from value-based care than patient revenue from volume-based, or fee-for-service, care. 

“We’ve historically been on the cutting edge of health innovation, especially when it comes to providing high-quality care that keeps people healthier at more affordable costs,” said Intermountain Healthcare president and CEO Marc Harrison, M.D., in a statement. “This collaboration between Intermountain and General Catalyst can help turbocharge the movement towards population health and value-based care by connecting us with a network of innovators outside the traditional healthcare space.”

Based in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain operates 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, approximately 3,800 employed physicians and advanced practice providers and a health plans division (SelectHealth) with more than 1 million members.

Last October, Intermountain teamed with Presbyterian Health Services and SSM Health to launch Graphite Health–a member-led non-profit company with the goal of creating a common data language and a standardized, interoperable data platform.  The goal is to create the ‘app store’ for healthcare to facilitate the distribution of digital tools for both health systems and entrepreneurs alike.

Building on Graphite’s early momentum, General Catalyst hopes to leverage many of its healthtech portfolio companies to accelerate progress and provide a suite of modern and connected solutions for delivering value-based care, Taneja said.

He sees many opportunities for collaboration, but one key area is around building standards and systems of interoperability.  

"Intermountain already has good momentum, with Graphite Health, but many of our portfolio companies have also done some great work here.  This is absolutely key to creating a seamless 'clicks and mortar' healthcare system," he said.