The power of AVIA’s Venture Network: Investing for success with Bon Secours Mercy Health, Ballad Health, and EvidenceCare


bon secours evidencecare and ballad logos in green circles

As the COVID-19 pandemic starkly demonstrated, health systems must embrace digital innovation in order to survive in a rapidly changing care landscape. Strategic digital investments have proved to be essential components of many healthcare organizations’ digital transformation strategies, allowing them to diversify their asset bases, accelerate digital solution implementation, and generate significant financial return. In the first half of 2021 alone, digital health companies secured $14.7 billion in funding, already surpassing all of 2020’s funding. 

The AVIA Venture Network was created to help health systems sift through today’s noisy digital health landscape and better identify solution companies for investment, showcasing pre-vetted investment opportunities to a group of like-minded health system strategic investors. 

“We provide our health system Members a channel to review and invest in curated investment opportunities, backed by deep AVIA diligence and IP,” said John Perez, Senior Manager & Venture Network Lead at AVIA. “Members also socialize and vet current opportunities with other health system leaders, supporting the decision-making process and encouraging co-investments. 

The power of the AVIA Venture Network in practice is evident with AVIA Members Bon Secours Mercy Health and Ballad Health and their partnership with EvidenceCare, a robust digital clinical decision support solution. 

Tapping into the power of the Venture Network

When Bon Secours Mercy Health joined as an AVIA Member, they were immediately attracted to the concept of the Venture Network as a way to explore and highlight investments on their radar to other health systems in the Network. 

The Venture Network provides a venue for like-minded health care leaders, who are passionate about investing in emerging healthcare technology, to convene and discuss trends or share ideas,” says Chris Wainscott, Director of Innovation Investments and Operations at Bon Secours Mercy Health. “Engaging with health systems of varying size, and investment maturity, allows for unique perspectives to be shared and debated.”

The Venture Network provides a venue for like-minded health care leaders... Engaging with health systems of varying size, and investment maturity, allows for unique perspectives to be shared and debated.

Ballad Health joined AVIA’s Venture Network as part of their first foray into the venture space. While they had the money in their portfolio to invest in companies, it sat unused for the first two years. The system quickly realized there was a significant learning curve to successfully join the venture space, which is where the Venture Network played a crucial role. 

“AVIA and the Venture Network became the conduit to engage, collaborate, and have conversations with like-minded folks to understand how they had built their venture structure,” said Bo Wilkes, Managing Director at Ballad Health Innovation Center. “Having that sounding board to understand how a health system approaches venture was highly valuable.”

Joining forces to invest in EvidenceCare

EvidenceCare is a unique clinical decision support company focused on optimizing clinical workflows to improve provider efficiency and clinical outcomes. Their AdmissionCare tool offer clinicians an added layer of care guidance at the point of order, curated for every scenario, and delivered directly into clinical workflow. As a startup, one of the biggest challenges facing EvidenceCare was to get in front of the right health system stakeholders to showcase the value they would provide to the system. 

When Jim Jamieson and Brian Fengler, MD, co-founders of EvidenceCare, approached Bon Secours Mercy Health with their digital solution, they found a receptive team that signed on as investors and strategic partners. Bon Secours Mercy Health then surfaced the company to the broader Venture Network and shared the story of their successful partnership, which connected the EvidenceCare team with another enthusiastic investor in Ballad Health. 

“As an early-stage digital health company, our goal is to be innovative and disruptive to the marketplace, but the reality is the disruptive model doesn’t align at most hospitals that are just struggling to keep the status quo,” said Fengler. “We love that the AVIA Network is a prescreened network of innovative health systems with the funds to invest in digital transformation and a culture of innovation. The AVIA Network brings us to the right people at the right innovative client.”

The partnership between health systems and digital health companies upon investment extends far beyond a financial transaction, as evidenced by the relationship between Bon Secours Mercy Health, Ballad Health, and EvidenceCare. 

“When you invest in a company, it becomes an intimate relationship,” said Wainscott. “A strategic partnership allows for teams to build deeper relationships beyond a typical vendor engagement. If there are roadblocks or challenges, you work through them together to provide the best solutions for clinicians that impacts patient care, quality, and revenue.”

“Investing together is always a big win-win-win in our book,” emphasized Perez. “These collaborative partnerships supercharge the ability to innovate and improve outcomes across the board, which is really what AVIA’s Venture Network is all about.”

AVIA is the leading digital transformation partner for over 50 health systems across the US, including Bon Secours Mercy Health and Ballad Health. To learn more about how you can become an AVIA Member and join the Venture Network, contact us today.