The Seattle Health Innovation Forum was organized by Ed Butler and Jessica Chao  in the Spring of 2013 to bring together people with an interest in health innovation from Seattle’s community of startups, health institutions, investors, and life sciences . Sparks of creativity can occur when bringing people from diverse backgrounds together. Health innovation opens the door to the incredible variety of talent in the Seattle area who are working on initiatives in life sciences, hospitals, clinics, health and wellness centers, and other areas. As a grass roots organization we were entirely funded through the $10 meeting fees from attendees and are grateful for the venue sponsorship by the SURF Incubator.

2013 forums included such topics as Population Health Management, Quantified Self, Big Data, Global Health, Clinical Trials, Health Startup Success stories, and most recently the program on non-profit healthcare ventures held with the Seattle Health 2.0 Chapter. We have had the opportunity to hear from some of the most exciting initiatives in the industry, and also to network with each other.



This chart shows our membership distribution (n-262) at the time of the analysis (October). The membership is currently over 310.

Here are the reasons why members have said they attend:


In December  2013 we  formed a program committee to take a deeper dive into the needs of the Seattle Health Innovation community. This diverse team of 10 volunteers are individually associated with providers, a payer, startups, a trade association, and the University of Washington. We have met twice in the past month to plan events for the coming year.  We reviewed the information from member’s profile pages to create an aggregate view of member characteristics shown in the chart above. In the spirit of customer-centered design, we brainstormed  personas representing the diversity of our membership, including investors, entrepreneurs, Health IT vendors, clinical providers, and a biotech/medical device developer. From these personas we crafted an online survey and are now planning out themes for 2014 Health Innovator programs.

The January survey was sent to members of the Seattle Health Innovators to learn about their interests, their preferences in venue and meeting format.  We asked respondents to rank order topic areas of interest. The top subject areas are, in order of preference, as follows:

  1. Healthcare Delivery Innovation
  2. Consumer Health and Wellness Tech
  3. Healthcare Industry Opportunities Overview
  4. Population Health Management
  5. Investing in Health Innovation
  6. Consulting and Design Best Practices

We are now working to define programs in these areas for the upcoming year.

Member preferences in meeting format overwhelmingly endorsed events that combine networking with panels and speakers (97%). Mid-week evenings with light food and drink were preferred by 89% of respondents.

Downtown Seattle was the “highly” preferred location by 63% of the respondents, followed by South Lake Union at 41% and Capitol Hill at 39%.

Next Steps

We are very optimistic about 2014 as a year that will see increased levels of team formation and collaboration across health industry sectors. We are targeting the first week of March for the first Seattle Health Innovation Forum of 2014.  The Program Committee will meet again in early February to confirm  topics. We will then publish events on the Health Innovator meetup site.  We are actively seeking speakers and panels.  For more information please contact us at

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