Executives across the Texas Medical Center got to know the 12 TMCx companies a little more intimately as they listened to them pitch their digital health care innovations Thursday, March 31, at the TMCx Expert Forum.
The companies are part of TMCx’s second installment, focused on digital health care, and are at the midpoint of their time in the program. The accelerator program serves as one of the core components of the Texas Medical Center’s (TMC) Innovation Institute.
Erik M. Halvorsen, Ph.D., director of the TMC Innovation Institute, welcomed the group and gave some more background on the Innovation Institute, including its TMCx, TMCx + and TMC Biodesign programs, as well as its newer corporate partnerships with Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s JLABS, AT&T Foundry and Apple.
He also announced that TMCx is moving forward with its third cohort later this summer that will focus on medical devices.
The second TMCx class was launched back in January, and their graduation will take place June 2, Halvorsen said.
“The Texas Medical Center does not take equity in any of these companies, so why do we do it?” he asked. “It is a reinvestment in our ecosystem.”
As part of the selection of the 12 companies, the TMCx team went out and met with CEOs and CIOs across the Texas Medical Center member institutions to find out the hurdles and challenges faced in the digital health space. Then the team did a needs assessment that was used as a heavy filter on the selection of the companies, Halvorsen said.
“We brought these companies in because we thought they were working on potential solutions that could benefit one or more of your organizations,” he explained.
In addition to that, the TMCx team asked and received participation from physicians and executives for mentoring.
“We have been fortunate to receive this kind of support over the past few months, and some of that has led to some pilots, so hopefully those have been of mutual benefit to you,” Halvorsen said.
Following his statement, each of the companies gave three-minute presentations on who they are, what they do and how they can address unmet needs within the Texas Medical Center. The audience had score sheets on which they could take notes on the presentations.
The first presenter was Katherine Chambers, CEO of The Right Place, which provides hospitals and post-acute providers with a reliable way to match patients with the right place of care.
Describing her application as “OpenTable for nursing homes,” she later discussed that hospitals are literally calling nursing homes looking for the right fit for their patients, and waiting to get an answer back. With her application, a hospital can look at an inventory of available space. The Right Place is also working on a way for consumers to search for places of care filtered by zip code or other search functions, as well as to read reviews.
“We have a relationship in Boston with Beth Isreal Deaconess Medical Center, which has 80 nursing homes, but we are a Houston-based companie, so we are looking for a partner hospital here,” Chambers said. “TMC has great connections, so our hope is to replicate that same connection we have in Boston.”
After showing a video of what his company can do, Adam Odesky, CEO of Sense.ly, a virtual nurse platform that helps clinicians better manage and communicate with their patients, later said the TMCx cohort and working in the medical center has been very relevant to his business.
“It is the perfect bullseye, in a way,” he explained. “Working with Texas Children’s and M.D. Anderson, these are great institutions. What other person or group is going to give you the same access?”
Austin Dirks, CEO of Greenlight Medical, an engine that helps hospitals control their technology purchases, closed out the presentations saying, “When you look around this room, you met a lot of companies, and now you know who we are.
“Don’t look at us as technology vendors, because we are not, we are potential partners,” he added. “We have the same goal you do in mind which is to advance health care, and with your help, we can.”
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