Former Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush joins Boston startup Firefly Health

More than a year after Jonathan Bush stepped down from his role as CEO of Athenahealth, the well-known health IT executive has landed a new gig as executive chairman of Boston-based Firefly Health.

The startup provides health navigation and concierge medicine services by providing primary care to patients through a mobile app and clinic visits.

"I have spent my entire career developing technologies and services to help providers better manage the more mundane aspects of healthcare," Bush said in a statement. "Firefly Health sets all of that aside. We take the best intelligence in modern physician medicine combined with the best digital technology, and we apply this new platform outside of the cumbersome and tedious claims-based medical system."

He added: "Linking a care team to a patient through their smartphone allows us to deliver a radically more convenient, proactive and intelligent model of care that leads to better care and overall patient experience—it's inspiring."

Bush co-founded electronic health record (EHR) and practice management company Athenahealth more than two decades ago. He resigned as CEO last June following several reports of unprofessional behavior and as the company was exploring "strategic alternatives," including a sale. 

RELATED: Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush steps down as board considers a sale

Bush's resignation also came on the heels of growing pressure from activist investor Elliott Management for the company to sell. In May 2018, Elliott publicized a $160-per-share offer and said it tried to engage the company in talks of a private takeover last November but was quickly rebuffed. 

The company was sold to Elliott Management and private equity firm Veritas Capital for $5.7 billion in November 2018.

During an interview on CBC’s “Squawk on the Street" in December, Bush discussed the future of the EHR company and his interactions with Elliott Management.

"My experience is running a company with a gun to your head is no way to run a company. Better to just say, 'Pull the trigger,'” Bush said, referring to his interactions with the activist investor.

RELATED: Athenahealth sold to Elliott Management and Veritas Capital for $5.7B, plans to merge with Virence Health

Firefly Health publicly announced Bush's role in the company Tuesday as it also disclosed its first major funding round. The company secured $10.2 million in a series A funding round led by F-Prime Capital Partners and Oak HC/FT.

Oak HC/FT General Partner Nancy Brown and Prime Capital Partner Carl Byers will join the firm's board; both were once executives at Athenahealth with Bush, according to The Boston Globe.

Firefly Health is primarily accessed through employers and is currently available to most commercially insured patients in Massachusetts. The company plans to enter several new markets in 2020.

"Firefly Health has been able to build a technology-enabled service that will provide patients access to care that is high quality, accessible and integrated into their lives via in-person visits, virtual visits, and mobile engagement," Brown said in a statement. "The team knows how to achieve an optimal cost and quality outcome including providing integrated physical and mental health."