General Catalyst partners with MetroHealth, Banner Health, 7 others on digital innovation

General Catalyst is partnering with nine more hospitals and health systems as the venture capital firm aims to drive healthcare's digital transformation.

The latest General Catalyst "health assurance" partners are:

  • Banner Health (Phoenix)
  • Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
  • Hackensack Meridian Health (Edison, N.J.)
  • Health First (Rockledge, Fla.)
  • MetroHealth (Cleveland)
  • OhioHealth (Columbus)
  • MUSC Health (Columbia, S.C.)
  • UCI Health (Orange, Calif.)
  • Universal Health Services (King of Prussia, Pa.)

The nine hospitals and health systems join the venture capital firm's six previously announced partners of HCA Healthcare (Nashville, Tenn.), Jefferson Health (Philadelphia), Intermountain Healthcare (Salt Lake City), WellSpan Health (York, Pa.), Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust (United Kingdom), and UC Davis Health (Sacramento, Calif.)

The organizations span 43 states and include academic, children's, for-profit and nonprofit institutions that make up about 12 percent of U.S. healthcare revenue and 13 percent of the country's hospital beds.

"We have really good thinkers around technology and digital health that are part of the group, folks that have a strong rural presence as well as a very urban presence," Daryl Tol, head of health assurance for General Catalyst, told Becker's. "It's a really interesting team and they're excited to work together too, which will be part of the magic."

The partnerships could yield new companies, joint investments, further development of existing technologies at the health systems, or partnerships with General Catalyst's digital health portfolio companies, Mr. Tol said. They may focus on virtual care, telemental healthcare, process automation, data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and workforce transformation.

Yauheni Solad, MD, chief medical information officer for digital health and vice president of innovation at UC Davis Health, told Becker's the partnership with his system provides a unique opportunity because many digital solutions nowadays are developed without clinical input or validation.

"This is very appealing because, in this case, we are not in the role of a passive customer but, to a certain degree, have an ability to influence the future product," he said.

As part of the memorandums of understanding, each health system dedicates a point person and steering committee to the partnership. No funds are exchanged.

General Catalyst had planned to finalize five more of the partnerships by the end of 2022 but expanded that number because of all the interest it received from potential collaborators. Mr. Tol said the firm plans to stick with this "core group" of 15 for the foreseeable future but could add more partners down the road.

"There's a very broad recognition that more of the same isn't going to work — there are real challenges to leadership bandwidth in healthcare," said Mr. Tol, a former divisional president and CEO of Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based AdventHealth. "So the opportunity to have additional brainpower to help drive change is appealing as part of our partnership approach. There's a lot of noise, a lot of clamor in healthcare that's distracting for leaders, so any kind of curation or effort to make things a little more organized, or a bit easier, seems to be very welcome right now."

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