CU Anschutz Today

CU Innovations, StartUp Health create program for health care innovators

Health care providers and researchers face a changing world, where technological advances ranging from ever-improving machine learning to simple smartphone apps are altering the $2.8 trillion industry. It’s a challenge that doctors, insurance providers and academic medical centers, including the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, are going to have to confront, Chancellor Donald Elliman said at the launch celebration for StartUp Health Colorado.

Carm Huntress speaks at the StartUp Health Colorado launch event. He is the CEO and cofounder of RxREVU, the first private company to be part of StartUp Health Colorado.

“We know technology is going to change our landscape,” Elliman said. “I don’t think we’re going to recognize health care five years from now.”

The recent event at Krugman Conference Hall announced the start of a new partnership that brings together CU Anschutz, UCHealth, Children’s Hospital Colorado and StartUp Health. The latter is an organization formed with the goal of encouraging entrepreneurs to build digital health companies. StartUp Health also helps clinicians and researchers interested in forming companies to commercialize their ideas and technology, as well as matching them with investors.

StartUp Health is helping the three entities create an “innovation hub” on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. The hub is StartUp Health’s first in the U.S. and joins Finland as one of two in the world. StartUp Health Colorado will co-locate with CU Innovations on campus and have access to StartUp Health’s network of industry leaders, investors and entrepreneurs.

The goals of StartUp Health Colorado are to facilitate innovation and entrepreneurship at each of the partner institutions, and to build, validate and commercialize at least 30 health startups within three years.

Embracing the need to innovate

Health care innovation is a focus for Elliman. In his recent State of the Campus address, Elliman said encouraging CU Anschutz faculty and researchers to be bolder and less risk averse should be a priority.

Rethinking how doctors and researchers work with private companies is part of that change, Elliman said. “If we don’t do it, we’re going to get run over by somebody who does,” he said. “It’s that simple.”

“We’re very lucky that, collectively, we look at this world and say, ‘We know it’s going to change, and we embrace that concept,’” he continued. “We want to lead it.”

Call for Innovations

StartUp Health Colorado also released a “call for innovations.” The initial call is for entrepreneurs and startups that are developing novel solutions that impact three key areas of healthcare to apply to receive co-development, clinical validation and pilot opportunities at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus institutions. The goal is to identify and nurture companies that will improve clinical outcomes and performance; help create a seamless patient experience; or improve communication and accessibility.

Entrepreneurs and companies can apply online by Dec. 9. The selected companies will be announced next spring. StartUp Health already supports more than 175 companies in 16 countries around the world.