HIMSS acquires Healthbox to get in the innovation consulting game

By Tom Sullivan

HIMSS on Friday revealed that it has acquired Healthbox for its innovation consulting and fund management services.
"Healthcare organizations look at us asking if we can help them think through concepts around digital health or how to bring innovation into their systems," said Hal Wolf, HIMSS CEO. 

Healthbox, in fact, specializes in two sets of services: innovation consulting and fund management. 

In the innovation consulting realm, Healthbox will enable HIMSS to help healthcare organizations understand what innovation looks like, offer guidance along the path to innovation, whether that means finding apps and capabilities or deciding where to make investments in an internal team to commercialize products.

For fund management, the company works with healthcare organizations to set strategy and establish criteria for success, screen and score companies, engage executives in the investment process as a facilitator rather making decisions for them, said Healthbox President Neil Patel. 

"We play this hybrid role of traditional healthcare venture combined with a strategic investor," Patel said. "We keep our consulting and investment businesses very separate. We're not pushing our own companies."

Wolf said he and Patel first met in late October of 2017 at the Connected Health Conference in Boston after both worked at Chartis Group, though at different times, and set up a meeting soon thereafter. 

"We have incredibly similar thought about our contributions to health," Wolf said.

When Wolf drew out his plans for the future on a whiteboard doing that meeting, Patel said it was strikingly similar to his own vision. 

"It's where HIMSS is headed that fit nicely with the growth plans I was envisioning for Healthbox," Patel added. "There's a platform for us to do things HIMSS hasn't done yet but wants to do. I see this ability to go further because of it."

Healthbox will retain its name and operate as a subsidiary. 

At HIMSS18, Healthbox is in Innovation Live on Level 1 in Hall G, Booth 9900.