It’s no secret that the U.S. health care industry is in desperate need of a shake-up. The United States spends an estimated $2.2 trillion on health care every year—more than any other industrialized nation—and $1.2 trillion is wasted on unnecessary services and procedures (for fear of litigation), claims processing errors, and treatment for preventable conditions related to obesity. While we all sit around and wait for the Affordable Care Act to kick in, the private sector is booming with innovative health startups that are finding ways to disrupt an inefficient and downright reptilian system.
Since 2010, Rock Health has been nurturing these fledgling startups through its accelerator program, and the health non-profit announced Tuesday that it will now be providing each of its graduates with $100,000, courtesy of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mohr Davidow Ventures, the Mayo Clinic, and Aberdare Ventures. Previously, the program was providing graduates with an initial funding package of $20,000.
“It’s hard to believe that we’ve had three classes of startups complete our program. That’s 35 startups. 89 entrepreneurs. And over $25 million in follow-on funding,” wrote CEO Halle Tecco in a blog post. “We continue to refine our curriculum, grow our network of committed mentors, and throw pretty good parties. But this is still the beginning.”
Rock Health isn’t in the business of funding kitschy apps or websites that appeal to consumers’ need for health information without providing any real value. The world has enough calorie counting apps. The types of startups Rock Health is looking to support need to fill real voids in the health industry. On the types of startups Rock Health is looking for, Tecco wrote: “Big ideas executed by smart and driven entrepreneurs, to really move the needle in healthcare. Ideas should be addressing large problems in the system, with a business model that is sustainable and scalable.”
Some of the needs Rock Health is seeking to address include technology to reduce the cost of home health care for seniors, smart health sensors to bring down the costs of diagnostics and monitoring, and software or sensor applications that could monitor patients between doctor visits to alert their practitioner if a problem is detected.
Some of the startups that have already come out of Rock Health include Cardiio, a touch-free heart rate monitoring app, mental health solutions provider Cognitive Health Innovations, women’s personalized health platform ChickRx, cancer management tool Avva, and medical news and research platform Docphin, among others.
Rock Health is currently accepting applications for its fourth class of startups.
A number of health startups are currently addressing some of the needs in the market, particularly electronic health records. Companies like Practice Fusion and drchrono are finding innovative new ways to ease medical offices into the 21st century.