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Prime Health Challenge 2017: Your health is tech’s next frontier.

See the apps and ideas revolutionizing your next doctor’s appointment.

 

Better balance. Integrated systems. Enhanced mobility. Pain-free documentation.

Big ideas took center stage at the Prime Health Challenge.

At the back of the room, there’s a young guy in a tailored suit. He’s grinning – gleefully, childlike. His apple pie sundae, catered by The Inventing Room, looks like a steaming cauldron thanks to ice cream made with liquid nitrogen. Pop Rock eruptions burst through the mist. It’s fun, it’s unique, it’s exciting – and it sets the tone for the evening.

It’s the fourth annual Prime Health Challenge, organized by the eponymous Prime Health and supported by the Colorado Health Foundation.

The foundation generously donated the $150k prize up for grabs by tonight’s pitches. Prime Health and the Colorado Health Foundation continue to team up to encourage innovation and help physicians meet the needs of underserved communities across the state.

“What more noble effort is there than to improve healthcare?”

– Steve Adams, Prime Health CEO

Steve Adams, CEO, kicks us off as the crowd mills around the moodily lit EXDO Event Center, munching on Caesar salad spring rolls and mini baked potatoes with crispy pork belly and scallion jelly. The crowd is particularly dense near the bar, where black-clad bartenders pour wine, beer, and cocktails. Everyone is loose, chatty, and eager to witness what tomorrow holds for healthcare.

Steve Adams defines the challenge’s goal: to make Colorado the healthiest state in the country.

And Prime Health and all its supporters, collaborators and participants agree: the best way to do this is through radical, industry-disrupting innovation – the kind Colorado, and Denver South in particular, are known for.

Steve tells the crowd the forthcoming pitches have the potential to drive down costs and bring access to underserved, disadvantaged communities. This is met with enthusiastic applause. These are noble goals, practical even. Technology is often sleek and cold. The applications of the Prime Health Challenge are some of these things, yes, but they are also distinctly human. They are emotional, impactful, and personal. Everyone here – pitchers, hosts, judges, emcees, and audience members – we all have a stake in how nimble and effective Colorado’s healthcare can be.

Lives will be improved by the challenge, but this is, after all, a competition.

“I have a vision of Mike,” Steve Adams says, introducing Mike Biselli, CEO at Catalyst HTI. “I have a vision of him sliding onto to the stage on his knees doing a riff on a Stratocaster.”

Mike, “Healthcare Rockstar” and the night’s emcee, takes the mic and explains the rules:

  • 6 innovative, tech-driven approaches to healthcare.
  • 6-minute pitches.
  • 5-minute Q&As.
  • 5-minute bidding wars.
  • And then, finally, 4 big cash prizes.

The audience is filled with representatives from healthcare institutions around the state: from Kaiser Permanente and HealthONE to Northwest Colorado Health and Clinica Tepeyac. After each pitch, the hosts raise a hand and publicly announce their interest in a pilot program at their institution.

Another group, silent, serious and unignorable, takes notes. They are the judges, and they determine which four pitches will get a share of the Colorado Health Foundation’s $150k cash prize.

The crowd settles in as the first contestant takes the stage.

Ride Health

Patients can’t get care when they can’t get to their provider. To drive the point home, Imran Cronk tells us a story. Coordinating with a provider, Ride Health’s tech helped a homeless man get to and from his chemotherapy visits. And Imran knows how proud we are of our reputation for innovation – that’s why they’ve chosen to court CO for their pilot.

“Patients undergoing chemotherapy should not be sleeping in train stations.”
– Imran Cronk, CEO at Ride Health

The crowd has no questions; they just want to bid. Three institutions raise their hand.

AI Health’s Getting Home™

AI Health’s co-founder, Dr. Ken Bellian, and his team want to make post-acute care decisions clearer and easier. And it’s personal. Ken recounts his frustration after receiving a vague list of providers when his mother was released from the hospital. For such a vital decision – and a potentially costly one – the one-size-fits-all approach didn’t cut it. Getting Home gives vital care guidance at a vital time, so patients get the best care for their unique needs.

“We aim to deliver on the promise that healthcare doesn’t have to be complicated and messy.”
– Ken Bellian, Co-Founder at AI Health

After a series of logistical questions, the crowd is satisfied, and several institutions make a bid.

Nymbl Health

Ed Likovich knows falls are a boogeyman for seniors. When he tells of his grandfather’s rapidly decline after taking a fall, heads around the room nod. Everyone’s family knows this story. The Nymbl app acts as an assessment and training system that dramatically reduces falls when compared to control samples.

“Nymbl takes a squishy topic like balance and gives it a number.”
– Ed Likovich , Head of Operations at Nymbl

The bidding is competitive. It’s clear several institutions came prepared. Four hands and four very strong arguments send Ed off the stage, grinning ear to ear.

Redox

Erin Trimble takes the stage looking every bit the seasoned pro. And it’s probably because she is: Redox is already helping institutions across the U.S. integrate their tech – from new wave apps to legacy systems. At the Q&A, a host asks the question on everyone’s mind: What are you doing here at the Prime Health Challenge among much younger, early-stage companies? Erin says it frankly: They used to focus on vendors, now they’re courting healthcare providers directly.

“Integration should be a catalyst for progress and innovation.”
– Erin Trimble , VP of Business Development at Redox

Well, that’s good enough for us. Redox happily accepts a smattering of bids.

Cliexa

Mehmet Kazgan has a taken his company to big places. Already he has functioning pilots the country over. His team’s goal is to close the feedback loop when treating chronic diseases such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, and arthritis. Through their easy-to-use app, patients can report symptoms, get treatment, avoid the ER, and save time – both theirs and their physician’s.

“We want to make the treatment of chronic disease quicker and more accurate.”
– Mehmet Kazgan, CEO at Cliexa

Listen.MD

For CEO Patrick Leonard, the numbers tell the whole story: Physicians only spend 27 percent of their day face-to-face with patients, with paperwork and documentation stealing away a bulk of their time. Listen.MD’s system uses top-of-the-line voice recognition to record and document patient-doctor conversations in real time. Right now, the pilot is targeted specifically to orthopedic teams and, lucky for Listen.MD, two CO orthopedic offices express interest and place bids.

“Healthcare is a 3 trillion dollar industry with a 1 trillion dollar waste component.”
– Patrick Leonard, CEO at Listen.MD

The pitches have concluded. The crowd refreshes their drinks and debate which teams will place.
The judges huddle. Some pitchers work the crowd to keep their minds off the impending announcement.

On stage, a “fireside chat” gets into the challenges of Medicare and how CO can better serve disadvantaged communities. After hearing the six pitches, it’s not hard to make the connection between how tech and community-focused goals can work together to improve lives.

The crowd is raucous, but as the judges take the stage, all becomes hushed.

The $45k safety-net prize goes to AI Health’s Getting Home team. In third place, taking home $25k, is Listen.MD. In second is Redox, earning a cool $35k. This is a win for all players, as many of these pilots need integrated systems to run smoothly. The team, all grins, takes the stage alongside Listen.MD and AI Health.

Finally, after a dazzling night where attendees, hosts, and judges got the privilege to watch the fruit of so many innovative, daring minds come to life, it’s time to award the first place, $45k prize. An agonizing moment passes. And it’s Nymbl, the balancing app whose easy, elegant solution touched the audience and judges alike.

It’s been a great night for healthcare, for tomorrow’s patients, and for Colorado’s innovators, always working to make our state stronger, more competitive, and healthier.

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