State Blues funds start-up health companies

Hoping to trigger new and innovative healthcare ideas addressing patient engagement, provider effectiveness and wellness, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is launching a three-month entrepreneurial program for 10 local health IT start-up companies.

The state's largest insurer has partnered with Healthbox, a company that supports early-stage healthcare innovation, to provide the participating start-ups with $50,000 in seed capital as well as business mentors and guidance, the Boston Herald reported.

"We're looking for things that can help improve the efficiency and affordability of healthcare," Allen Maltz, chief financial officer at Blue Cross, told the Boston Globe. "And of course, another important goal is stimulating innovation and helping to get the economy moving again."

Among the companies in Healthbox's Boston portfolio are:

  • Abiogenix, which offers an intelligent pillbox that "reminds, records and restricts when patients take their medication.
  • iQuartic, an electronic health records analytics network organizes and aggregates EHR data from multiple clinical care settings. The data then can be used to identify patient trends.
  • Smart Scheduling, which helps providers build schedules based on machine learning predictions on whether a patient will attend their next appointment.

Maltz added that Blue Cross hopes the program might enable new relationships with the participating companies. "We think we can learn from each other," he said. "They may be able to make us more efficient, and it could be good for us from an investment perspective if a few companies become home runs or doubles."

The program began Monday and will extend through November, ending with a conference for the companies to pitch their ideas to investors and healthcare leaders, reported the Boston Business Journal.

To learn more:
- see the Boston Globe article
- check out the Boston Herald article
- read the Boston Business Journal article
- check out profiles for all 10 companies in the Boston portfolio

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