Last week's Health Data Initiative Forum in New York ended with a bang as Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology Officer of the U.S., announced StartUp Health, a public-private initiative designed to increase the access of health and wellness entrepreneurs to capital, education and resources.
The initiative, which will be led by Gerald Levin, former CEO of Time Warner, is part of the Administration's Startup America Partnership, designed to encourage entrepreneurship and create jobs. Specifically, StartUp Health will reduce barriers to health and wellness entrepreneurs by improving their access to technological tools and other resources, sector-specific investors, and collaborative communities of like-minded people.
The initiative will be launched with three roundtable discussions--the first two moderated by Startup America Partnership CEO Scott Case and Todd Park, chief technology officer of the Department of Health and Human Services.
While the program may prove to be an incubator for worthy startup firms, though, some investors remain largely uninterested in firms offering websites that help people to, say, stop smoking, lose weight, eat better, or improve their health in some other way, according to Glen Laffel of Pizaazz, a health IT blog. Experimental evidence, according to Laffel, does show that certain online health and wellness programs can help participants. Still, venture capital firms are put off by the high attrition rates on the websites that offer such programs.
"People stop accessing these programs because they lose motivation, can't find the time, or become frustrated by clunky interfaces and data entry requirements," Laffel points out. He adds that more research needs to be done on what will keep people coming back to these sites.
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