Who are the entrepreneurs pushing hardest for technology advances that will connect patients with better healthcare? They’re people like Sean Duffy, who’s using the Web to help people make behavioral changes that could head off Type 2 diabetes at his startup Omada Health, and Joanne Rohde, whose company Axial Exchange is building systems that help patients stay in touch with their doctors before and after office visits.
That’s according to Rock Health, the San Francisco-based accelerator and seed fund for Health IT entrepreneurs, which named its 2013 “Top 50 in Digital Health” honorees at a downtown ceremony last night. The event helped to kick off the week-long J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference and was co-hosted by Goldman Sachs, Silicon Valley Bank, and Fenwick & West.
To pick the honorees, the four sponsoring organizations drew mostly from the ranks of startup co-founders and CEOs—but the list also included a few venture investors and nonprofit and university officials, such as UCSF Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellmann. The 50 people chosen “led the pack in making the largest impact on digital health in 2013,” the sponsors said in a joint statement. “From writing healthcare policy to steering corporate acquisitions to moving technology from the bench to the bedside, these 50 leaders are honored for their shared successes.”
Digital health ventures are poised to improve the lives of millions of people, said Micheal Esquivel, a partner in Fenwick & West’s corporate group. “While the list of change-makers far exceeds 50, it is an honor to celebrate these individuals who are dreaming big and achieving even more,” Esquivel said. “These are the people who inspire and motivate us by working to change the world for the healthier.”
On top of the 50 honorees, the evening’s organizers singled out five organizations and individuals for special recognition:
Most Prolific VC: Social+Capital Partnership
Most Prolific Corporate VC: Qualcomm Life
Entrepreneur’s Choice Award: Patrick Chung
Fastest Growing Company: Evolent Health (enterprise), Misfit (consumer)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Esther Dyson
At press time, photos for 33 out of the 50 honorees were available; they’re shown in the slide show above. For the full list of honorees and their biographical statements, compiled by Rock Health and Fenwick & West, read on:
Margaret Anderson, Executive Director, FasterCures
Margaret is a founding board member and past-president of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA, is a member of the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Advisory Council and Cures Acceleration Network Review Board, the National Health Council Board of Directors, United for Medical Research Steering Committee and the Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Drug Discovery, Development and Translation. Previously, Margaret was the deputy director and a team leader in the Center on AIDS & Community Health at the Academy for Educational Development, program director at the Society for Women’s Health Research; health science analyst at the American Public Health Association and analyst and project director at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment in the Biological Applications Program.
Erika Bliss, M.D, CEO, Qliance
Erika co-founded Qliance in 2006 and was promoted to CEO in 2011. While in medical school, Erika was a founding member of the Free Clinic Project of San Diego, a student-run project that delivers primary care to homeless and indigent people. She briefly worked for the Community Health Centers of King County before accepting a permanent position at Carolyn Downs Family Medical Center in Seattle, where she served as a staff physician, Clinical Site Director and Director of Clinical Quality. Not only has Erika focused on direct patient care, she has also been involved in organized medicine and health policy through her work with the American Academy of Family Physicians. Additionally, she served on the education task force for the Future of Family Medicine Project, a national effort to chart the direction of Family Medicine for future decades.
Dan Burton, CEO, Health Catalyst
Dan became involved as an investor and as the business leader of Health Catalyst when it was a three-person startup and has since seen its triple-digit annualized revenue growth. He is also the co-founder of HB Ventures, the original investor in Health Catalyst. Dan has held positions such as CEO, President, Board Member and Chief Marketing Officer with a number of other small-to-midsized companies affiliated with HB Ventures. Prior to Health Catalyst and HB Ventures, Mr. Burton led the Corporate Strategy Group at Micron Technology. He also spent eight years with Hewlett-Packard in strategy and marketing management roles. Before joining HP he was an associate consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, where he advised healthcare systems and technology companies.
Jonathan Bush, Co-Founder, President, and CEO, Athenahealth
In 1997, Jonathan co-founded athenahealth as a women’s health practice management company and took it public in 2007. Prior to founding athenahealth, Jonathan served as an EMT for the City of New Orleans, was trained as a medic in the U.S. Army and worked as a management consultant with Booz Allen & Hamilton. In 2013, Jonathan was named “CEO of the Year” by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (whose program is dubbed the “Academy Awards” of the state’s technology sector). The Boston Business Journal recently recognized athenahealth as one of the top 20 ‘Best Places to Work’ and the company was ranked 4th in the Forbes Fast Tech 25, a list of America’s 25 fastest-growing tech companies.
Jae Chung, Founder and President, goBalto
Jae Chung founded goBalto in 2008 and has served as CEO since December 2013 when he stepped into the role of president to manage corporate strategy, sales and business development. Prior to goBalto, he cofounded Celltrion, a contract biopharmaceutical group in Asia. Chung secured contract deals with Bristol-Myers Squibb and CSL and has been credited with landing the largest biomanufacturing supply agreement in Asia to date. Prior to Celltrion, Jae was a consultant at McKinsey & Company and an accountant at KPMG. Jae has also served as the Editor in Chief of Chromosome, a weblog dedicated to the discussion of news, industry trends and issues related to clinical research, since 2008.
Patrick Chung, Partner, NEA
Patrick is co-head of NEA’s Seed-stage investing practice and a founding partner of The Experiment Fund, an on-campus venture fund founded by NEA and Harvard (www.xfund.com). He is a director of 23andMe, Curalate, Euclid, Fanhattan, Lytro, MeCommerce and Philo, and is actively involved with Coursera, CrowdMed, IFTTT, Ravel, Rock Health and Upworthy. Prior to joining NEA, Patrick helped to grow ZEFER, an Internet services firm (acquired by NEC) to more than $100 million in annual revenues and more than 700 people across six global offices. Prior to ZEFER, Patrick was with McKinsey & Company, where he specialized in hardware, software and services companies.
Giovanni Colella, M.D., Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Castlight Health
Giovanni co-founded Castlight Health in 2008, along with Todd Park (currently U.S. chief technology officer and formerly the CTO of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and Bryan Roberts of Venrock. Prior to co-founding Castlight, Giovanni was Founder, President and CEO of RelayHealth which was acquired by McKesson, and a partner at SAI, a healthcare advisory firm in New York which was sold to Perot Systems in 1997. Prior to SAI, Giovanni was a consultant with The Boston Consulting Group. Giovanni was an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University and practiced psychiatry for 10 years.
Susan Desmond-Hellmann, M.D., Chancellor, University of California, San Francisco
Susan assumed her post at UCSF in August 2009. Formerly, she served as president of product development at Genentech. Susan joined Genentech in 1995 as a clinical scientist and was named chief medical officer in 1996. In 1999, she was named executive vice president of development and product operations. Prior to joining Genentech, Susan was associate director of clinical cancer research at Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute. Susan has been named by Forbes magazine as one of the world’s seven most “powerful innovators,” listed among Fortune magazine’s “top 50 most powerful women in business” and honored by the Wall Street Journal as one of its “women to watch.” In December 2013, Susan was hired as the new CEO of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, effective May 1.
M. Bridget Duffy, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Vocera
Prior to her current role, Bridget was the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at ExperiaHealth, now a subsidiary of Vocera, and the Chief Experience Officer of the Cleveland Clinic. Bridget is a frequent speaker on the subject of why patient experience matters and how it impacts clinical outcomes. Her work has earned her the Quantum Leap Award for taking the risk to spur internal change in her field and has led her to be featured in HealthLeaders magazine as one of “20 People Who Make Healthcare Better.” Bridget’s work has included creating one of the nation’s first Hospitalist programs, leading the movement to integrate complimentary therapies with traditional medical therapies to improve health outcomes and a founding member of the Bakken Heart Brain Institute at the Cleveland Clinic.
Sean Duffy, Co-Founder and CEO, Omada Health
Sean is an entrepreneur at heart: while working for Google’s People Analytics division, he created Excel Everest software to train Google employees to become Excel ninjas. Sean was also a rising star within IDEO’s Health & Wellness practice, where he on worked on innovations ranging from medication adherence to new models of primary care. Sean also writes for edgadget.com. He was named one of the “40 Under 40″ Top Medtech Innovators by MDDI.
Esther Dyson, Chairman, HICCup
Esther is an active angel investor in health (as well as space travel, Russian Internet, etc.). She is currently setting up HICCup, an initiative to set up citywide health intervention programs in several cities. Esther maintains board seats at EDventures, WPP Group, IBS Group, Meetup, Eventful.com, Yandex, 23andMe, Sunlight Foundation and Credo Ventures. She sold her business EDventure Holdings to CNET Networks in 2004. Esther is a quantified-selfer with her genome published at personalgenome.org.
Judy Faulkner, Founder and CEO, Epic Systems
Judy founded Epic in 1979 with the original name of Human Services Computing. She taught computer science for several years in the University of Wisconsin system and before working as a healthcare software developer, creating one of the first databases organized around a patient record. In 2013 Forbes magazine called her “the most powerful woman in healthcare.” Faulkner graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Dickinson College and Master’s degree in Computer Science from University of Wisconsin.
Naomi Fried, Ph.D., Chief Innovation Officer, Boston Children’s Hospital
As the first CIO of Boston Children’s Hospital, Naomi is building the Innovation Acceleration Program which focuses on enhancing the innovation culture by supporting strategic innovation initiatives resourcing grass roots innovation, and identifying unmet innovation opportunities. Previously, she was the Vice President of Innovation and Advanced Technology at Kaiser Permanente (KP) and Managing Director of KP’s Archimedes Project. Before KP, Naomi advised two venture capital firms on life science and health care information technology investments, served as the General Manager and Vice President for Business Development of 1747 and was instrumental in the formation of the medical informatics internet start-up company (e-SKOLAR, formerly SHINE) spun out of Stanford School of Medicine, serving as interim President for its first year.
Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy.