Aegis Ventures unveils founding members for its Digital Consortium

Steven Loeb · April 3, 2024 · Short URL:

Nine health systems will work with Aegis to develop, invest in, and deploy AI solutions

In January, New York-based digital health-focused venture studio Aegis Ventures unveiled its Digital Consortium, which it described as "a select group of health systems partnering to build, launch, and deploy digital health products addressing core challenges in care delivery and operational efficiency." The idea is to partner with these health systems to address their most pressing problems.

Now the Consortium has taken a big step forward as Aegis announced this week that it chosen nine health systems to be founding members, including Endeavor Health, Indiana University Health, Memorial Hermann Health System, Northwell Health, Novant Health, Ochsner Health, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Sharp HealthCare, and Stanford Health Care.

These founding members, which represent over $65 billion in operating revenue combined, and more than 300,000 employees.

"Since first announcing the Digital Consortium in January, we have been working to select its founding members through a rigorous evaluation process, taking into consideration health systems’ track records of leadership and innovation in care delivery and quality," Aegis Ventures co-founder and Managing Partner John Beadle told VatorNews.

"We were looking for health system partners who spanned a wide geographic footprint, served both rural and urban populations, and had a mix of different payment models."

Members of the Digital Consortium will have the option to co-develop new solutions with Aegis, become customers of existing Aegis companies, and/or become investors in all existing and future Aegis portfolio companies. In addition, they'll also gain first access to investment and co-development opportunities within Aegis' pipeline, with the option for a seat at the table and early-stage ownership in its portfolio of health tech companies. 

"Co-development partners will receive early-stage ownership economics commensurate with the value they add to the enterprise value of the companies we build together," Beadle said.

"Our seed stage investments have been larger than typical seed rounds because we are building scalable, enterprise-grade solutions tailored to meet the needs of leading health systems."

On top of that, Digital Consortium members will receive tailored support for digital transformation, and gain access to a network of health system executives for collaborative learning, as well as shared insights on digital advancements. 

The origins of the digital consortium

The initial idea for the Digital Consortium came from Aegis talking with health systems about care delivery transformation, where a common theme emerged: many healthtech companies were offering solutions in search of a problem, and, even though the new technologies were sophisticated and novel, they weren't able to meet the unique needs of health systems, partially because they don't integrate with one another, which often exacerbated underlying issues rather than solving them.

"Healthcare is about people caring for people, and it’s built on trust. Despite rapid technological advancements, health systems have struggled to translate technology’s promise into tangible improvements for patients and providers," said Beadle. 

"We believe that successful partnerships begin by recognizing what health systems have achieved, and how their approaches may be developed further to assist care delivery. Aligned incentives are critical to adoption. Health systems aren't simply users; they are our closest partners, co-developers, and investors, which is why we want to work with them directly."

To test out this thesis, Aegis entered into a partnership with Northwell Health, New York’s largest health system, three years ago; through this partnership, the two organization built four companies spanning patient engagement, emotion analytics, AI-enabled diagnostics, clinical risk stratification, and women’s health. 

In partnering with Northwell Health, Aegis sought to apply everything it learned to the systematic development of an ecosystem of digital health companies to broaden its impact, Beadle explained.

"The Digital Consortium is a collaborative alliance of health systems partnering to build, launch, and deploy digital health products that directly address core challenges in care delivery and operational efficiency. We’ve gained valuable insights partnering with Northwell Health; however, the journey to revolutionize healthcare is far from over," he said.

"By relying on health systems’ expertise, we can build new ventures faster than typical health tech start-ups. As things change across the health tech ecosystem, we're poised to expand this partnership model to additional healthcare systems, catalyzing innovation across the nation." 

Focusing on AI

One of the unifying themes across the Digital Consortium portfolio will be AI and automation as one of the most consistent challenges for health systems currently is the need to automate manual, back-office processes.

This has become even more important as burnout and understaffing have become a significant issue, especially since the pandemic.

'It’s no secret that AI has been making waves in healthcare. Through Ascertain, one of our portfolio companies with Northwell Health, we are using generative AI to assist in day-to-day operations that can be labor intensive, like paperwork between a payer and provider to discharge someone from the hospital and move them into post-acute facilities," said Beadle.

"With AI assisting with tasks like this, health system staff can work at the top of their license and better focus on patient care."

Going forward, Aegis will listen to every level of the organization, from the CEO to those leading the supply chain, to continue to generate ideas for transformation, while continuing its mission of putting health systems back in the driver’s seat for healthcare innovation.

"By convening the Digital Consortium partners, we believe we can better address healthcare’s fundamental challenges through a model that accelerates the translation of ideas into tangible solutions that put patients at the center and helps relieve provider burnout. Through the Digital Consortium, we hope to harness health systems’ collective expertise to foster innovation, redefining healthcare delivery for the better," explained Beadle.

"Over the coming months, we will work together with our Digital Consortium partners to define what success looks like for all of us. Ultimately though, we want to hold ourselves accountable to help, one, improve quality and access to care, two, reduce workforce burnout, three, health systems diversify revenue source and accelerate growth, and, four, increase health system operational efficiencies via smart use of AI."

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