The energy at Union Hall on November 4 was contagious – no health care pun intended. Chief information officers, health care professionals, digital health startups, and venture capitalists gathered for the first-ever Innovation XChange: Health Edition.

The event, produced as a partnership between The Health Collaborative and Cintrifuse, brought entrepreneurs from across the country to Cincinnati to pitch their new technology, make some deals, and inspire other health entrepreneurs to take advantage of the area’s strong health technology and supportive startup infrastructure.

As the community’s neutral forum for all local stakeholders invested in the triple aim: better health, better care and lower cost, The Health Collaborative is committed to inspiring breakthroughs in health and health care.  Similarly, Cintrifuse facilitates the building of high-growth companies in Cincinnati, and fosters and maintains a network of funders, educators and talent in order to support startup companies throughout their life cycle.


Josh Rosenthal, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Rowdmap, kicked off the D4N_7227morning with a presentation on connecting open data to a meaningful business model and how health care providers can best leverage these previously unavailable data sources to improve care and operational performance.

Rosenthal says the reduction of unnecessary care is a huge opportunity to do just that. In fact, he says 30% of health care spend in the country goes to unnecessary care and treatment. Rosenthal challenged health care professionals and startups alike to find ways to use data to reduce unnecessary care, resulting in ultimately better health, better care, at lower cost.

The Pitches:

Taking the stage next were the startups – nine unique entrepreneurs representing health care verticals that included Patient Engagement, Analytics and Clinical Workflow.  In five-minute, high energy “burst” presentations, the startups pitched their solutions to some of health care’s most pressing challenges.


D3S_8554Their presentations compelling, the startups were in high-demand come the “speed-dating rounds” that followed. These brief meetings provided an opportunity for potential partners and investors to have one-on-one sessions with the startups to discuss opportunities for addressing unique needs of the health care industry in Cincinnati.

Keynote Aneesh Chopra Connects the Dots:

Following the one-on-one sessions, the audience was met with a pointed question as D4N_7510
the keynote speaker, former (and first) U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, took the stage: “How many of you sitting here today consider yourself an entrepreneur?” he asked of the crowd gathered in the beer hall.

Hands went up amongst the startups, chief information officers, health care professionals, and VCs.

“By the end of this presentation, my goal is that everyone in this room thinks of themselves as an entrepreneur,” Chopra added.

Chopra explained what providers can expect as the practice of connecting to third party data via open APIs  becomes an important part of patient care. Comparing the opportunities in health care to a “lean startup” environment, he argued that this is the most entrepreneurial time in health care’s history.

He identified the emerging policy changes toward open data, interoperability of health information technology and payment reform as fuel for innovation, to be harnessed by the private sector and transformed into a new culture of health care.

By 2018, 50% of health care payment will shift from fee-for-service models to alternative payment models specifically designed to reward better health outcomes. This, combined with the government’s open data initiatives, lends itself toward a patient-centered dynamic, where health care data is not only available, but accessible via any digital device the patient uses to download, share and interpret their health care data.

“The era of the trusted digital health advisor is coming,” he said.

Cincinnati’s Opportunity:

D3S_8372Under the guidance of Wendy Lea, CEO of Cintrifuse, and Craig Brammer, CEO of The Health Collaborative, the first #IXHealth was a success:  The Health Collaborative’s health care stakeholders were exposed to innovative technology solutions, and the startups curated by Cintrifuse had the opportunity to gain insight to Cincinnati’s unique strengths and opportunities in the health sector.

Moreover, the partnership of these two organizations proved Cincinnati is poised to be a leader in harnessing the opportunities within digital health to improve our region.