New healthcare accelerator to play matchmaker for hospitals, partners with HIMSS

Chris Seper–(MedCity News)–A new healthcare accelerator that will focus solely on connecting promising early stage companies with health systems has struck a partnership with HIMSS, has started scouting companies and will announce its first hospital partner in the coming months.

The HIMSS13 conference is AVIA’s coming-out party. The Chicago-based accelerator will serve as a matchmaker: It works with hospitals to learn their priorities and then goes out to find early stage companies that the health systems can work with. AVIA won’t always provide capital, but instead offer early stage companies access to key customers (the hospitals) who wouldn’t otherwise have the bandwidth to connect them. They also plan on running events that serve its hospital patrons.

Their premise is most hospitals don’t have the bandwidth to engage these early stage companies — but they do have the desire. They’ll act almost like a business development group working on behalf of a provider, according to co-founder Ted Meisel and chief operating officer Eric Jensen.

Because they work on behalf of hospitals, what they’re looking for will change as they add partners. But, generally, the AVIA team is scouting startups focused on patient engagement, analytics, clinical-decision support and telemedicine. Their ideal companies will be post-Rock Health/Blueprint/Healthbox/Startup Health companies that have a product and have built a little traction, Meisel and Jensen said.

AVIA’s CEO is Eric Langshur, co-founder of Abundant Venture Partners, who founded the healthcare social network CarePages, the digital health company Rise Health, among other things. Their advisory board includes the CEO of HIMSS and an executive from  Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

HIMSS and AVIA announced the partnership at the Health IT Angel Fair on Tuesday. Both sides said the final details of how HIMSS will work with AVIA are still being developed, as are final decisions about what deals will look like with startup companies. Meisel said their first health system partners should be announced this summer.

Chris Seper runs and contributes regularly to the site. He is the vice president of healthcare for Breaking Media, MedCity’s corporate owners.