Dec 13

A Conversation with Seattle’s Disruptive Healthcare Non-Profits

A biometric platform for telemedicine in Sierra Leone and a concierge medical clinic in South Seattle were the topics of discussion at this month’s joint Health Innovators/Seattle Health 2.0 holiday event.

SHI panel 120513

Pictured are Jessica Chao, co-founder of Seattle Health Innovators,  David Kwok of HopeCentral , Donte Parks VP of Culture for Substantial,  and Michael Olberg, Development Officer for iRespond.

The term “disruptive innovation” was coined by Harvard’s Clayton Christensen to describe a process by which a product or service is introduced at the bottom of a market and then moves up the value chain and eventually displaces established competitors or non-consumption. I know that the term is often misapplied. I believe that it fits both of the organizations who presented this month.

SHI December audience

Over 100 people attended the event, including investors, entrepreneurs, healthcare providers, payers, researchers, developers, and allied health professionals.

HopeCentral is a new pediatric and behavioral health primary care practice located in Southeast Seattle. This area is home to several minority and  immigrant communities speaking dozens of languages. It includes  “working poor” families ineligible for Medicaid but who cannot afford health insurance. HopeCentral is using an innovative business model based on a  sliding scale monthly subscription rather than the traditional pay for procedure model. Concierge medicine was originally for affluent patients who didn’t need health insurance and who wanted more time with providers than the routine 7 minute timeslots.  By applying this model in an economically challenged area, HopeCentral hopes to create a sustainable institution that multiplies the impact of charitable donations by blending it with subscription revenue.

iRespond is a Seattle-based international non-profit with a biometric authentication and data collection system suitable for use in remote parts of the world.  It uses fingerprint and iris scanners to assign a unique identifier to a person. This makes the platform ideal for public health applications, such as tracking immunizations, disaster response, and long term population health management. It does not replace Master Patient Index solutions- it augments them with a unique identifier that can be associated with demographic and clinical profiles maintained in other systems. Their secure patient database can be used off the grid and then synched when back in contact with wireless networks.

Michael Olberg described iRespond’s project with the government of Sierra Leone where an entirely new infrastructure is being designed to support telemedicine applications.  The disruption here is to compete with non-consumption, extending services to untapped markets.

This holiday event was not all panel discussion, of course. There was plenty of opportunity to network with an amazingly diverse set of people, many of whom are working on fascinating projects. Seattle is increasingly becoming a center for health innovation and the possibilities for leveraging Seattle’s talent and world-class institutions in 2014 are bright.

Ed at meetup

Ed Butler is a founder of the Seattle Health Innovation Forum

Nov 19

December Happenings: Health Innovator/Health 2.0 Holiday Party


The Seattle Health Innovators and the Health 2.0 Seattle Chapter are co-hosting our first holiday party featuring non-profits who are innovating health in our local and international underserved communities.

Come join our holiday celebration and learn how you can help the community!  

Featured Non-profits:

HopeCentral is a medical clinic serving the Rainier Valley pediatric community with an innovative delivery and pricing model. Dave Kwok, Executive Director, will share stories from how the clinic got started to how to run an innovative non-profit.  Dave is a graduate of University of Chicago MBA with CFO experience of over $10M budget.  Dave is passionate for social justice and organizational effectiveness.

iRespond is a Seattle based, international technology company founded in 2010 that provides secure, encrypted, and accurate health-care data collection system using biometrics identifiers. Representatives from iRespond will share how the company got started and stories from their international adventures.


6:00 – 6:30 Mingling, refreshments (will be available throughout the event)

6:30 – 6:45 Community Announcements

6:45 – 7:15 Non-profits Panel

7:15 – 7:30 Non-profits Panel Q&A

7:30 – 10:00 More mingling and refreshments

Bring your friends and colleagues who are passionate about innovating health; and enjoy an evening of conversation, festive treats & drinks!!

Parking: Street parking

Event ticket: Free with RSVP

Oct 09

Seattle Health Innovation Forum Highlights- October 2013


October 2, 2013 Seattle Health Innovation Meetup

This was the third event that we’ve organized over the past 5 months. The Seattle Health Innovation Forum is a grass roots network of people working in the health industry, including research, financing, care delivery, and wellness sectors who come together to informally share insights, product ideas, and to connect with each other to help make a difference.

During the October meeting about 70 participants gathered to network with each other and to meet the founders of several new Seattle-based companies who have gained traction.  Some are with startups, some are with established companies,  some are students and members of the community. Participants range from executives, designers, engineers, bench scientists  to people from various walks of life who heard about the event. Nametags typically do not show affiliation in part to help provide members in prominent leadership roles the freedom to be present as individual members of the community.

  • Wade Webster, MD, founder of Prima-Temp, described a new product to help couples determine periods of highest fertility based on  wearable deep body temperature sensor technology. Dr. Webster described the process of going from concept to product, including the regulatory implications.
  • Bonnie Cech, founder of CadenceMD illustrated the patient flow bottlenecks that occur in ambulatory clinics and demonstrated how avoidable delays moving patients through clinic visits cost the average physician group over $50,000 per MD, as well as impacting patient satisfaction from from their own waiting time.
  • Ryan Luce, founder of Corengi, showed how, with the help of NIH SBIR funding his company has enabled diabetes patients to find relevant clinical trials. He described the process of getting funding and his plans for broadening the range of clinical conditions covered by his service. He generously offered to provide examples to others interested in the SBIR funding process.

Greg Henderson, MD was the keynote speaker. He described his experience as one of the only physicians left in New Orleans after Katrina that exposed him to what happens when the ordinary infrastructure supporting medical care completely breaks down. He went on the describe the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti and his efforts to assemble a team of pathologists around the globe who are continuing to volunteer to provide diagnostic consultations for Haitian women who have undergone biopsies.

Jessica Chao, co-organizer of the meetup provided an update on progress building a  supportive ecosystem for health IT innovation in the Northwest and proposed that we have a benefit holiday party in early December.

This program was the result of a group effort. All of the speakers were invited from a much larger set of candidates based on their relevance to the needs of this audience, their innovative content, and their ability to confidently interact with this expert audience.  In addition to these speakers, thanks also go to all those who helped me to envision, organize and set up logistics for this event –  Jessica Chao, Miwa Monji,  Scott Kennedy, Tim Reha, and Will Mehigan.

Ed Butler

Sep 04

October Seattle Health Innovation Forum

Register here for an evening of networking and informative updates from Seattle-area startups and institutional innovators on October 2, 2013. Experience for yourself the diverse, talented, and entertaining Seattle health community.

What does it take to transform healthcare? We are pleased to announce our speakers for our October 2nd networking and educational event at SURF’s beautiful new venue, the Dice Cabana. Participate in rapid-fire presentations/Q&A sessions with these health entrepreneurs who are making a difference in patient’s lives and in the practice of medicine:

·  Wade Webster MD, Prima-Temp, a medical device company developing innovative biometric approaches to early disease detection and reproductive medicine. A practicing emergency department physician, Dr. Webster has developed a smartphone solution involving deep body temperature sensors and peak reproductive fertility

·  Bonnie Cech, CadenceMD. This solution enables doctors to improve the profitability of their practices and their patients’ experiences by discovering and eliminating waste in clinic schedules. Building on her deep experience managing patient flow, CadenceMD provides workflow analytics helping physicians streamline their patient flow for optimal productivity. An alumna of both the Founder Institute and 9 Mile Labs, Bonnie is an expert in early-stage business-to-business growth strategies.

·  Ryan Luce, Corengi. Corengi helps individuals discover more about clinical trials that may be appropriate for them. Ryan funded development of Corengi in part through a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the NIH and by winning  pitch contests. He is an expert in the multi-sided business models that are so important in healthcare.

Our keynote speaker is Greg Henderson, MD, PhD. Dr. Henderson is the President of Pacific Pathology Partners, PLLC and the founder of PathforceDx. He has an inspiring personal narrative that will take us through the aftermaths of Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti. He has a compelling vision for the potentially disruptive role of digital pathology for global health and is working on a new startup that will do just that.


5:30 – 6:15 Networking, food, refreshments (will be available throughout event)

6:15 – 6:30 Community announcements

6:30 – 7:00 Health Innovator Rapid Fire 5×5’s

Wade Webster MD, PrimaTemp Chief Medical Officer

Bonnie Cech, CadenceMD Founder and CEO

Ryan Luce, Corengi Founder and President

7:30 – 7:45

Keynote – Greg Henderson, Pacific Pathology Partners PLLC

7:45 – 8:15 Q&A and more networking


Please note that the doors to the Exchange Building automatically lock at 6pm, so please try to arrive before 6. After 6:00 please knock on the 2nd Avenue door or call us. The new venue, the “Dice Cabana”, is on the right as you enter the 2nd street lobby just past the Tully’s. If you are entering from 1st street before 6 take the elevator to the 4th floor and it will be across the lobby.

Directions, Parking, Public Transit

The venue is at 821 Second Avenue, Seattle WA 98110. It is across 2nd Avenue from the Metropolitan Grill. Paid evening parking is available from 2 decks on 1st and Columbia and other lots in the Pioneer Square area. It is a short walk to dozens of King Metro routes that frequent nearby bus stops on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd streets. The Pioneer Square transit station is about 3 blocks away for convenient access to bus routes and to lite rail. Frequent Eastside routes, such as the 550 from Mercer Island and Bellevue use the freeway’s bus lanes for quick access to downtown during rush hour. For bus routes enter “2nd and Marion” as your destination using


Sep 04

Welcome to the Health Innovation Blog


The picture above is from the August 29, 2013 Seattle Health Innovation meetup held at the SURF Incubator in downtown Seattle.

We have organized “Seattle Health Innovators” to support the individuals actively making health innovation happen. This community consists of entrepreneurs in businesses, innovators working within health institutions, activated patients, employers, and the general public. It is for anyone who is working to make a difference in healthcare.

This forum will allow health innovators to informally share market insight, product ideas, and to connect with each other. Ultimately it is about building a health innovation community in Seattle that can be successful in transforming care, lowering costs, and improving the quality of lives. We see this as a commons where innovators can network, form creative alliances, make new relationships, and gain market insight from colleagues, patients, and experts in aligned fields.

This is the first of what will be a series of blog entries from the Seattle Health Innovation Forum. We just launched this blog  a few days ago so please expect the content and format to improve dramatically in coming weeks.

Ed Butler

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