Ideas we’d like to fund

Applications for Rock Health’s fourth class open next week!  You bring the idea and team, and we’ll provide the funding and support to turn your startup into a success.  What do we look for?  Big ideas executed by smart and driven entrepreneurs, to really move the needle in healthcare.  Ideas should be addressing large problems in the system, with a business model that is sustainable and scalable.

 Here are a few examples of ideas we’d like to see:

  • Reinventing delivery:  What if we applied new models of access and payment to primary care visits.  What would it mean to blow up the current insurance model and rebuild it based on getting highly personalized care, wherever you live or work? How could we apply technology to return to the days of doctor visits? We want to hear from people that are crazy enough to try.
  • Smart health sensors / gadgets: What are the simple, direct to consumer sensors we could deploy into the home?  Particularly those that bring down the cost of diagnostics or monitoring — like Rock Health alum CellScope and Sano. What ideas do you have to leverage mobile and tablet technology to stay healthy, manage chronic disease, and help bring down healthcare costs?
  • Disrupting health insurance: Health insurance markets are often highly concentrated with one insurer accounting for over 50% of the market. The market structure of the health insurance and hospital industries may have played a role in rising health care costs and in limiting access to affordable health insurance and health care. Some argue market concentration has led to higher health care prices (1). What about a “Snapshot” for health- Progressive insurance gives drivers a personalized rate based on driving.  Can you do the same for health?
  • Home health and aging in place:  In 2011, about 3.4 million Medicare beneficiaries received home health services from almost 11,900 home health agencies. Medicare spent about $19.4 billion on home health services (2).  By 2020, the percentage of the U.S. population ages 65 and older is expected to increase to 17%, or 50 million Americans.  We’d like to see technologies that help deliver better care, reduce costs, and detect problems earlier.
  • Big data and novel analytics tools:  The volume of data that businesses collect is exploding, which is positively impacting industries like banking.  Research suggests that companies using this kind of “big data” and business analytics to guide their decisions are more productive and have higher returns than competitors that do not.  We want to see the use of big data in healthcare, to allow healthcare professionals to provide better care based on numbers.
  • EMR interoperability: There are more than 600 EHR’s in the market today. We’d like someone to propose a model, technology, and service for interchanging all of the data in a secure, standard format so that other companies can take advantage of data, and also push data into the EMR ecosystem. Rather than see the EMR market as closed, slow, or incompetent, we’re looking for people providing key technology on top of an EMR – an Amazon of Healthcare, so to speak.
  • A solution to the “black hole”: Once patients leave the provider setting they are suddenly “off the grid”, meaning their mental and physical states (and therefore compliance to the care plan and health outcomes) aren’t observable by their doctor.  The low tech way of solving this problem is to have a nurse or office worker call the patient to check-in, but we know there are software and sensor applications that could remotely monitor the patient between visits, provide interconnectivity between the multiple and currently disconnected care providers detect problems earlier,  improve efficiency, and reduce readmissions rates.
  • Your Black Swan idea to bring technology  to this balkanized, archaic industry.  Think big, bold, and out-of-the-box.  We can’t wait to hear from you!

* Thanks to our mentors, partners, and advisors for helping curate this list.


(1) American Medical Association, Competition in Health Insurance: A Comprehensive Study of U.S. Markets ( 2008)
(2) Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), Home health care ser vices: Assessing payment adequacy and updating payments (2012)
(3) Progressive Insurance Snapshot: