MedTech Advisory Group
Healthcare systems have the potential to apply emerging innovative technologies to create transformative patient experiences, improve outcomes and deliver care more efficiently and cost effectively. Key stakeholders in the greater Hartford region aspire to make this area a well-recognized and differentiated ecosystem that supports this activity. Together, members of Hartford’s emerging MedTech Innovation District initiative are committed to accelerating innovation and supporting economic development in the greater Hartford community through the development of a MedTech accelerator (Accelerator) focused on Digital Health.
The Accelerator in the Greater Hartford area would provide entrepreneurs and startups with a place to experiment and test their technology in a real-world integrated delivery care setting by linking entrepreneurs with the Hartford area’s robust ecosystem of clinical providers, payers, and academic and research institutions, including Hartford MedTech program partners:
As the anchor partner, HHC will provide financial support for this initiative in addition to key strategic assets and capabilities that could be leveraged as a “sandbox” milieu for emerging innovative Digital Health solutions, to accelerate them to market (Figure 1). The “sandbox” concept serves as a differentiator and recognizes that a vibrant healthcare delivery system such as HHC, can afford a remarkable opportunity to early stage companies: These key strategic assets include:
- The Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation (CESI): CESI is one of the country’s premier simulation centers and would be available as a resource to Accelerator participants, helping them pressure-test proposed advancements in healthcare and healthcare administration before finalizing their minimum viable products (MVPs).
- Care Logistics Center: HHC has created a “command center” to manage all patient movement/transfers within and between its system’s six acute care hospitals. The goal of this center is to ensure that the right level of care is provided to each patient at the right location. This center uses state-of-the-art technology to manage the flow of patients and would also serve as an ideal place for digital health companies to determine and test compatibility of new healthcare analytics, artificial intelligence and I0T-enabled technologies with a healthcare delivery system. HHC is also particularly interested in innovation to expand its own capabilities in this space.
- HHC@Home: HHC@Home is the largest home care nursing and hospice agency in Connecticut (CT). As part of a coordinated population health plan, home care is ripe for innovative digital and telehealth strategies. Experts from this unit will help emerging companies understand the specific needs of at-home patients and how to adapt technology for a non-clinical environment, in order to maximize benefit to patients and providers.
- Health Analytics, Information Technology (IT): HHC has made significant capital investments in IT and analytics including an integrated electronic health record (EHR) system (Epic) and advanced analytics capabilities – both descriptive and predictive. The analytics and IT teams are available as potential collaborators for startups providing a critical interface between expertise in technology and effective patient care.
- Clinical Institutes: HHC has developed a patient-centered approach to delivering care, focused on clinical institutes. Physicians of differing sub-specialties come together in the Institutes to provide cutting-edge coordinated care, which enhances quality, safety and the patient experience. The Institutes are charged with investing in continuous innovation and research in order to advance care and will be ready to serve as key sources of clinical feedback for emerging startups looking to improve patient outcomes. The following Institutes are fully operational:
- Heart and Vascular Institute
- Bone and Joint Institute
- Ayer Neurosciences Institute
- Cancer Institute (the charter member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance)
- Tallwood Kidney and Urology Institute
- HHC Behavioral Health Network – the largest provider of mental health services in CT and includes the Institute of Living on the campus of Hartford Hospital
- HHC Medical Group (HHCMG): HHCMG is a multi-specialty group encompassing physicians in more than 30 specialties in convenient offices across Central and Eastern CT.
- Integrated Care Partners (ICP): ICP is a physician-led, clinically integrated healthcare network whose mission is to assist its members in providing the highest quality care at the most reasonable cost for their patients in the current, rapidly changing medical environment.
- HHC Pharmacy: The HHC Specialty Pharmacy Program is an outpatient pharmacy program dedicated to providing patients with the support necessary to manage complex medication regimens. Pharmacists and liaisons work with an individual’s healthcare providers to ensure his/her specialty medication needs are delivered accurately and on time with the goal to provide the patient with fully integrated pharmacy services and the highest quality care.
- Research: HHC’s Research Administration program is organized to provide optimal services and oversight for the conduct of medical research at its institutions. The goal is to support and facilitate the growth of research and offer patients access to new and novel treatment options. To that end the department has developed a centralized infrastructure to meet the needs of research investigators across the HHC system.
To support a differentiated level of customized assistance to emerging digital health companies, HHC has established an Innovation Office. The Office and HHC staff will work in concert with the Accelerator, to map the capabilities and assets of the broader ecosystem against the needs of the digital health startups and entrepreneurs, and drive alignment of accelerator programming with the strategic priorities of the program partners.
Trinity College is providing financial support for this initiative, including 4,000 square feet of dedicated innovation-focused space on the third floor of One Constitution Plaza, which will also house a new partnership between Trinity and Infosys, the global technology consulting firm. The Accelerator will have shared common space between these two programs for events and gatherings. The goal is to create synergies for its participants, while connecting them to the resources of Hartford’s innovation ecosystem. In addition, Trinity will strive to develop opportunities for both faculty and student engagement in accelerator activities, such as:
- Serving as advisers/consultants and connecting undergraduate STEM students to projects or internships linked to the Accelerator; and
- Recruiting faculty with relevant research interests from Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science (including Bio-information), Health Fellows Program, Neuroscience, the Health Professions Advisory Group and an emerging Health Humanities program.
The University of Connecticut Office for the Vice President of Research & Technology Commercialization Services and School of Business, will also be committing significant staff time in key areas of need by participating entrepreneurs, including:
- Support of intellectual property assessment and market assessment through UConn Technology Commercialization Services Office;
- Matching of faculty expertise;
- Access to Entrepreneur-in-Residence expertise and mentor office hours in the UConn incubator (business, legal and inventors);
- Access to UConn incubator space (office and lab);
- Funding and business mentoring opportunities for teams in which a UConn student, UConn faculty or UConn alum may be part of that team (START, SPARK or UCONN Innovation Fund as well as Accelerate UConn);
- Faculty and student assistance from the university’s Center for the Advancement of Business Analytics; and
- Access to support through the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
- Nurture entrepreneurs: Identify, attract, nurture and retain entrepreneurs in the MedTech arena relevant to the partners’ core business and innovation goals.
- Spur economic growth in Hartford: Develop an ecosystem of companies - new and existing - that will enable growth in the broader Hartford area. Digital health is a high growth area, and one in which risk capital sources (i.e. venture capitalists), are particularly interested in growing their visibility and participation.
- Create new jobs: Attract talent and develop talent from surrounding educational institutions.
- Develop a differentiated ecosystem: Develop an Accelerator, and a network of surrounding assets that sets Hartford apart, by linking it to HHC’s Digital Health “sandbox”, coordinated by HHC’s Innovation Office, and other assets and resources contributed by partner organizations and regional stakeholders.
In doing so, Hartford has an opportunity to develop a robust cluster of entrepreneurship activity that could lead a new wave of growth for both investors and the local economy.
SCOPE OF WORK:
Applicants will submit proposals to develop and operate an Accelerator in Hartford, CT. This Accelerator program will support emerging companies that are developing new digital health technologies that can drive meaningful transformation of the healthcare industry. The focus of the Accelerator for the next 12-24 months will be:
- Advanced Analytics: Applying machine learning and advanced predictive and prescriptive analytic frameworks to clinical and operational transformational opportunities.
- Virtual Care: Providing a consumer-centric experience to deliver care more conveniently and to distribute scarce resource more efficiently. These opportunities will be centered on the remote provision of healthcare using telehealth and supportive IoT technologies. This includes care at home, tele-intensive care unit and “hub and spoke” connectivity.
- Home-Based Care: Reengineering consumer-focused healthcare delivery by applying biometric device integration, wellness indicators and virtual health - integrated into HHC’s system-wide Epic EHR.
- Simulation: Pressure-testing medical device MVPs through HHC’s CESI.
- Automation: Using Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and other technology enablers to improve efficiency, productivity and throughput. Automation has strong potential to reduce waste and costs in a healthcare system.
- Precision Medicine: Leveraging analytics and genomics in the development of personalized care pathways for patients. The initial driver of this work will be the HHC Cancer Institute, but other Institutes including Heart and Vascular and Neurosciences also require these developing capabilities.
Since one of the goals of the program is to maximize the chances that Accelerator participants permanently relocate in Hartford, and to create new jobs locally, the Accelerator program will target at least some early-stage companies with an interest and ability to locate some operations in Hartford. It will also be desirable for a participant to have demonstrated initial signs of traction against its concept by having raised $150,000-$500,000 and assembled at least an advisory group of technology experts to help provide operational and governance support.
The Accelerator will also be complemented by other efforts to create a robust innovation ecosystem in Hartford. Some of these local assets include:
- Hartford InsurTech Hub
- Stanley + TechStars
- Upward Hartford
- Connecticut Innovations
- Connecticut Bioscience Innovation Fund
Information about the funding environment for digital health startups in CT is included in the appendices. While none of these efforts are operated or governed by the Accelerator, resources and synergies will be explored with each of these programs. The Greater Hartford area is also home to a number of other organizations who may become valuable partners in providing comprehensive market feedback to emerging digital health companies. Insights into how to grow the ecosystem through the involvement of additional stakeholders would also be welcome as part of this proposal.
ADDITIONAL RELEVANT INFORMATION:
The Hartford/East Hartford Innovation Place initiative is part of a state-funded program to increase innovation and entrepreneurship activity in CT communities and make them magnets for top talent. More information about the Innovation Places program is available at: https://ctnext.com/innovation-places/
A MedTech Advisory Group (Advisory Group) has been established to guide the development and implementation of the Accelerator. Membership includes:
- Beth Chaty, (Chief of Staff, HHC)
- Rocco Orlando, MD (Chief Medical Officer, HHC)
- Barry Stein, MD (Chief Clinical Innovation Officer, HHC)
- Steven Shichman, MD (Executive Director, CESI, HHC)
- Jason Rojas (Chief of Staff, Trinity)
- Sonia Cardenas (Dean of Academic Affairs and Strategic Initiatives, Trinity)
- Karen Woodward (Industry Liaison, Life Sciences and Healthcare, UConn)
- Jennifer Murphy (Program Manager, Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation)
- Jennifer Eigo (Associate Director of Center for the Advancement of Business Analytics, UConn)
- Eric Rosow (Founder and CEO, Diameter Health)
- Paul Mounds (VP of Policy and Communications, Connecticut Health Foundation)
- Martha Kalen, (Program Manager, Hartford/East Hartford Innovation Place Program)
- Michelle Cote, (Director, Hartford/East Hartford Innovation Place Program)
SCHEDULE FOR RESPONSE AND EVALUATION:
- October 1, 2018: Request for proposal (RFP) issued
- October 9, 2018: Due Date for letter of intent (LOI) to submit proposal
- October 22, 2018: Due Date for final proposals from respondents
- November 5, 2018: Presentations by Accelerator respondents to Advisory Group
SUBMISSION FORMAT AND REQUIREMENTS:
LOI: A letter or email, stating the intention to submit a proposal in response to the RFP addressed to coordinator of the Advisory Group, listed in the Contact section of this RFP.
Proposal: Outlining responses to the following:
- Firm profile, experience and description of services provided
- Team members and organizational chart
- Team members and responsibilities including percent of time each will spend in Hartford
- Team member resumes/bios
- Program governance model
- Description of key roles and responsibilities for the program
- Description of processes for making key decisions
- Proposed metrics or indicators of success
- Proposed business model for Accelerator
- Program costs:
- Total cost of operating Accelerator
- Minimum amount of funding required from program partners to implement the Accelerator
- Length of the financial commitment (i.e. one year, two years, etc.)
- Any additional costs associated with effectively running the Accelerator
- Descriptions of relevant experience and comparable program models, including:
- Description of experience working with healthcare organizations and/or providers
- Description of experience with technologies relevant to Digital Health (Advanced Analytics, IoT, Virtual Care, Home-based Care, Simulation, Precision Medicine, Automation)
- Approach to building and managing an active mentor network
- Selection criteria for startup participants
- Description of working relationship with program/corporate participants
- Description (if any) of residency requirements for startup participants
- Size of cohort/# of cohorts per year
- Description (if any) of equity investments made in startup participants
- Summary of program’s value proposition for the following stakeholders:
- Startup participants
- Program partners
- Government entities (such as CT Next, City of Hartford, etc.)
- General public and community
- Schedule of key milestones and deliverables
- References of three current or former clients for whom the organization has performed similar work. Contact information and a description of the work performed should be included
Members of the Advisory Group will select an accelerator model based on the respondent’s ability to:
- Recruit startups with technologies relevant to sponsors’ core business and innovation goals;
- Provide program participants with high quality business development and launch support;
- Integrate business acceleration program activities with other important sources of feedback and support, such as those being developed in HHC’s Digital Health Sandbox; and
- Build a thriving MedTech ecosystem in Hartford and the surrounding area.
The Advisory Group also seeks to work with a team that possesses:
- Knowledge of Connecticut and specifically the Greater Hartford Region (its specific strengths and weaknesses, and potential for collaboration/complementary to goals of other members of the state – including government);
- Knowledge and experience in creating the non-accelerator related conditions and factors needed to encourage and support innovation and entrepreneurship within a specific geographic location;
- Ability to bring additional resources and investments into the community;
- Experience working as part of a multi-stakeholder community to achieve shared goals; and
- Clear, collaborative and transparent communication style, with an aptitude for providing information that may include program financials; milestones and deliverables; lessons learned through program implementation; and needs from the community to the Advisory Group and other stakeholders in a timely manner.
Questions, letters of intent, and proposals should be directed to Beth Chaty, coordinator for the Advisory Group: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Appendix 1: Investment Climate for Digital Health in Connecticut
- Appendix 2: Connecticut Innovations Funding Offerings