HIMSS-backed health accelerator Avia to launch soon

By Brian Dolan

approach-1Chicago-based health accelerator Avia announced that it had partnered with HIMSS to help connect health startups to hospital systems, according to a report in MedCity News. The accelerator plans to announce its first hospital partner by the summer. Avia plans to work with its hospital partners to first understand their needs and then seek out promising startups that might fill them. The obvious benefit to startups is the customer match-making, and providing capital is a secondary concern.

Avia's team includes CEO Eric Langshur, co-founder Ted Meisel, COO Eric Jensen, and Chief Strategy Officer Leslie Wainwright. Langshur is also a co-founder of Abundant Venture Partners, social networking site CarePages, and Rise Health. Meisel is a partner at venture capital firm Elevation Partners, which was co-founded by U2's Bono. Prior to Avia Jensen was with McKinsey and Wainwright was with Sg2.

Avia told MedCity News that they see their team acting like a business development group for its hospital clients. Avia is initially focused on startups working on patient engagement (including mobile health), analytics, clinical decision support, and telemedicine. Ideal startups would have a little more traction than those currently participating in one of the health incubators, but graduates of those programs might be a fit.

According to Avia's website, the team will help hospitals not just identify promising startup partners, but also "evaluate, select, and implement" the best ones that "align with their innovation priorities".

Avia's board of advisors includes HIMSS CEO Steve Lieber, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Innovation for Northwestern Memorial Hospital Dr. Lyle Berkowitz, and the Founder and Former President of hospital alliance Premier Alan Weinstein, among others.

Beyond Lieber's role as an advisor, the specifics around how HIMSS and Avia will work together have yet to be announced.

MobiHealthNews coverage of the HIMSS13 event in New Orleans is sponsored by AirStrip Technologies.