For those that don’t know me, I am the founder of Basis as well as a serial entrepreneur. I started my first company, an entertainment venture, in high school and have been involved in start-ups and new ventures ever since. My entrepreneurial experience, especially in the entertainment space, coupled with a desire to help people live healthier lives is what led me to Basis and our mission of engaging people in their wellness.
Last month, we had the great honor of joining the inaugural class of the StartUp Health Academy, a recently-launched program to support entrepreneurs and innovators building new businesses in healthcare. I’ll save the details of the Academy for another post (or you can review their site on your own). What I will say today is that Startup Health founders Steve Krein and Unity Stoakes have an incredible vision – a revolutionary new model for helping private sector innovation succeed in the challenging landscape of the health and wellness sector. The academy is one-part school, one-part think tank and one-part entrepreneur community. It has been an invaluable experience for us here at Basis as we get expertise, support and feedback on our way towards launch.
Being part of the Academy also allows us to participate in broader discussions with thought leaders on the transformation of healthcare and how Basis can be part of that change. The most recent opportunity was to travel to Washington D.C. to meet with Todd Park, the United States Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President, and his staff for a roundtable discussion on transforming healthcare.
My arrival at the White House.
Now I imagine some of you are wondering why entrepreneurs are meeting with the U.S. Government – an entity not known for fast-paced innovation. Fair question. To start, anyone would acknowledge that we have a healthcare crisis along with a broken healthcare system. And, regardless of political affiliation, we need to address both issues. What got me involved was Todd Park’s desire to have the private sector, specifically entrepreneurs, brainstorm new ways that technological innovation can solve these systemic issues. This was an opportunity to exchange ideas with leaders in the field, discuss the challenges we all face and, of course, incorporate those lessons into our thinking at Basis . What made Mr. Park well suited to lead this discussion (and further increased my interest) is that he’s also an entrepreneur – he founded both Athenahealth and Castlight Health, two innovative companies in the health/health IT space.
We covered a range of discussion topics, but the primary focus was one near to my heart: leveraging extensive public data sets to truly understand the trajectory of our nation’s physical health and how we might address it. Of course, this isn’t about allowing public access to people’s private health data. It’s about the private sector using vast amounts of historical, aggregated and anonymous public health data to provide context and insights to individual’s own health data. It is the same approach with the Internet, weather data and GPS systems that allowed technology companies to invent many of the products and services that we all use everyday.
Todd Park, US CTO, leading the discussion.
There is always more discussion to have and action to be to taken, but with the legacy of Aneesh Chopra (former US CTO) and Todd Park, along with his staff at the CTO’s office, there is real hope for transforming healthcare in this country. It is also re-validated our mission here at Basis and reminded me that we are at the forefront of this change.
To wellness in abundance for all,
Founder and Chief Alliance Officer