100health Aims to Incubate Health IT Startups, Put Madison on Map

2/25/14Follow @XconomyWI

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in forming relationships with hospitals and health clinics and first identifying a problem to solve. This should make it easier for the ensuing startup to get a foot in the door with healthcare providers, ensuring a built-in pilot customer who can help the startup craft the product so it’s scalable.

“It gets over the risk-aversion problem within healthcare because they’ll know you,” Skievaski said.

But that’s no easy feat. 100health has a lot of work to do in forming those industry relationships, expanding its pools of entrepreneurs and mentors, and building a brand. To those ends, the company is meeting with healthcare executives this week at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference in Orlando, FL, Skievaski said.

One mentor already on board is Frank Byrne, president of St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison. He’s excited by the prospect of a hungry group of talented young professionals with various backgrounds, from IT to engineering to clinical settings, working together to “transform” healthcare.

The biggest obstacle to their success will be his own peers, Byrne said.

“I worry about some of these great ideas, that there won’t be people in positions of leadership in healthcare delivery that will have the courage to take the risk to implement them and try them and help make them better,” Byrne said. “I worry that some of these incredibly bright, energetic people who are going to help with these ideas will get discouraged if the first thing they try doesn’t work or isn’t successful for reasons beyond their control, and that they’ll give up. We need them.”

Skievaski’s measuring stick for 100health’s success won’t be how many investment dollars its startups raise—that’s another differentiator from most accelerators—but rather if they create products that are used by healthcare systems to improve care delivery and lower costs. The amount of avoidable healthcare costs—with estimates ranging from billions of dollars to trillions in the U.S. alone—makes healthcare ripe for disruption by entrepreneurship, Skievaski said.

Everyone knows this, of course, but few have been able to do much about it. “We know there’s going to be massive change that will need to happen” in healthcare, Skievaski said. “We want to accelerate that process. If one or two or three of our companies can be a substantial part of it, that would be successful.”

Jeff Engel is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @XconomyWI

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