Announcement & Events

  • HealthMap was recently featured in Healthcare Global for its work as one of the first global disease monitoring health systems triggered during the early cases of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The IDHA team working on COVID Near You has published a cross-sectional study in PLOS Journal on web and phone-based COVID-19 syndromic surveillance in Canada.
  • The Flu Near You team recently published a study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases on health-care seeking behavior for respiratory illness among Flu Near You participants in the United States.

Portfolio & Partnership Updates

  • Boston Children’s Hospital is excited to support Brightline, a virtual pediatric behavioral health care provider, in their launch of the COVID-19 Behavioral Health Indicator (COBI). This free online survey measures the potential impact of COVID-19 on a child’s mental and behavioral health.
  • Congratulations to Brightline for also raising $20M in Series A funding to transform pediatric behavioral healthcare. Boston Children’s was a strategic investor in the round.
  • IDHA launched a pilot with Aiva Health in the Stem Cell Transplant unit (6W) this quarter, with Cardiology (8E) soon to follow. Aiva’s voice powered care assistant platform will provide education and entertainment options for patients and families.
  • IDHA is happy to announce a partnership with KidsX, a consortium of 30+ children’s hospitals that formed an accelerator to support the development and adoption of pediatric health technologies.
  • IDHA will be launching a pilot by the end of the year with TytoCare, a FDA-approved medical device that allows families to conduct medical assessments from their home.
  • A pilot will also be launched by the end of the year with IDHA partner, NuvoAir, a digital therapeutic respiratory platform. Stay tuned for updates next quarter on the pilot’s early progress.
  • In partnership with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the HealthMap team re-launched VaccineFinder, aiming to support improved reporting of vaccine availability for the 2020-2021 influenza season.
  • In partnership with​ the CDC and Castlight Health, the HealthMap VaccineFinder team has launched an MVP dashboard for vaccine providers to report daily inventory of COVID-19 vaccine(s). Enrollment of COVID-19 vaccine providers will be coordinated with the CDC’s Vaccine Tracking System.
  • This quarter, IDHA spin-out, Dock Health launched two new pilots at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dock Health is a HIPAA-compliant task management system that allows clinical and administrative teams to coordinate on the completion of tasks. It is now available to all Boston Children’s staff – reach out to learn more:
  • Congratulations to IDHA partner, Abridge, for raising $15M in funding. Abridge empowers patients to securely record, review, and share their health care encounters & uses machine learning algorithms to highlight important takeaways and provide contextualized education.

Advisory Spotlight: Jessica A. Zeaske, PhD

As a Partner at Echo Health Ventures in Boston, Jessica A. Zeaske, PhD, identifies and invests in emerging and growth stage companies for Echo. She is a seasoned venture capitalist and board leader who has worked at independent, corporate, and university funds and written dozens of investment themes over the years. She previously served as Director of Healthcare Investments at GE Ventures, where she invested in precision health companies. Jessica came to GE Ventures from Lemhi Ventures, a fund investing in health care services with a focus on market disruption. Prior to joining Lemhi, Jessica worked on forming and spinning out MedTech and Life Science companies based on university intellectual property at University of Minnesota and Oregon Health & Science University.

Is there a common mistake(s) you notice earlier stage health tech companies making? What advice would you give them?
One mistake I continually see early stage health tech companies make is not doing enough market interviews around the problem they’re trying to solve. Entrepreneurs see a market size, they believe in a technology, have a business model and thus think that customers will appear. It’s not the case that if you build it, they will come. You need to hit a high priority problem area with a budget line. Entrepreneurs and enterprise customers do not always have the same perception of problems. Deep interviews and customer feedback can make or break an early business model, give insights on pricing, and lead to early customers. Not conducting these interviews can become a significant challenge that later requires these early companies to pivot.
What are some key differentiators that you look for when identifying emerging and growth stage companies?
This comes back again to customer understanding, but in a different sense. Understanding of implementation and workflows is a true differentiator. This knowledge is imperative and intrinsically tied to the strength of the team – a team with domain expertise, diversity of thought from different enterprise experiences, and empathy for the customer problem. Too often entrepreneurs feel that the technology is the differentiator in emerging and growth stage companies when in health care the true differentiators are getting it securely installed, building into the workflow, and building out the return on investment (ROI).
Do you think the COVID-19 pandemic will impact venture funding in digital health companies as we move into 2021? In what way(s)?
Although now overused, the word “unprecedented” continues to be accurate regarding venture financing during this time. We’re anticipating under COVID-19 to have a record amount of venture capital pour into our industry. I anticipate this will continue into 2021.
We have a situation where there is alignment on the need for innovation and new solutions and there is a capital overhang, so venture capitalists have the money to put to work. At the same time, entrepreneurs are seeing there’s an opportunity to be had in this market, especially as the IPO window stays open. Business-to-business enterprises are looking to buy if the return on investment and effectiveness can be demonstrated. All of those factors together creates huge opportunity for acceleration of growth and emerging stage companies.
We have significant challenges ahead of us as a country. Getting through the pandemic and through any economic turmoil will be a challenge to these companies. We can all hope that these emerging companies look at the current state of the country and focus on affordability, the social drivers of health, social justice, and the equality that is so needed throughout the healthcare system and beyond.
How do you think we, as an innovation group within a top pediatric hospital, can be most helpful to early stage startups in the digital health space?
The innovation group already provides funding, accelerator services, access to leading subject matter experts, critical insights on secure healthcare processes and honest feedback. There’s not much more a startup can ask for, especially the honest feedback. It’s a continuous challenge to show your value and differentiation and not everyone is aware of the services you offer, so it’s important for the group to continue getting your voice heard in the market.