We have a new look

Check out the new HealthInnovator.Org!

Since our last MeetUp event in April, on the surface we have been quiet, but behind the scenes we have been planning a series of events for the Fall, and giving our website a long-overdue facelift. 

We have been fortunate to have a team of top-notch professionals to take on the website redesign. The team has included Dr. Vera Ranguelova, Ed Butler, Jesse Bergeron, and Dr. Terri Butler. 

The original website, designed in 2013, was a vehicle for announcing our MeetUp events. Since 2013 we have developed original content, searchable in the categories shown. We plan to add to this new profiles of local innovators from the healthcare scene, including healthcare institutions doing new things, from the startup world, academia, and community groups. We’re proud to be in the Northwest and want to shine a light on the exciting things that originate here.

The 2019-2020 objectives for this website are (1) to continue building a grass-roots community of people interested in health innovation across industry segments (payer, provider, patient, life science, pharma, policy, etc); (2) to showcase local innovation and innovators; and (3) to promote and support in-person connections via events organized by us and by our community partners.

This summer we are preparing for an exciting fall season, with events focusing on investment opportunities, a tech showcase, and a reimagined “Health Innovator of the Year” awards program. We will be reaching out in coming weeks to provide new ways to get involved. Stay tuned!


Seattle Health Innovators Annual Awards 2018 Recap

What a night it was! On December 6th a crowd of nearly 150 people came out for the Fourth Annual Seattle Health Innovators Awards Ceremony to honor the 24 finalists and hear who this year’s winners of the four categories were. The categories included Collaboration, Customer Focus, Imagination, and Perseverance. Finalists came from healthtech, public health, pharma, digital imaging, and more.

Scott Kennedy, Treasurer of Seattle Health Innovators, led the program, introducing the finalists by category and highlighting the work of each. The range of contributions impressed the audience and led many in the crowd to reach out during the post-ceremony networking for deeper discussions.

Check out pictures from the awards.

The evening kicked off with the Collaboration category. First place was Elya Prystowsky, PhD, executive Director at Olympic Community of Health, who, as part of the Health Commons Team made up of Quad Aim Partners, Accountable Community of Care on the Olympic Peninsula and Greater Columbia and Puget Sound Fire, implemented digital systems to coordinate care efficiently, improving provider workflow and response times. Second place was Daphne Pie, of Public Health Seattle and King County, who took extraordinary strides to reduce the rate of populations without health insurance, resulting in King County’s rate of uninsured being only 4.5%

The Customer Focus category first place winner was Robbie Cape, co-founder and CEO of 98point6. The goal of 98point6 is to make primary care more affordable and accessible which the company does by harnessing the power of technology to support clinical staff and making a primary care doctor accessible through a phone-based app. Robbie’s exceptional focus on the user experience led to his nomination. Second place prize went to David Cerino, Product Leader for Digital Innovation at Providence, who led the Express Care program development and deployment, with exceptional focus on customer experience. Express Care is inside 40 Walgreens locations and is accessible via telehealth with an @Home service. The service has received high customer satisfaction ratings and evidenced by a Net Promoter Score of 70.

The Imagination category brought in the largest number of nominations with a roster of twelve. First place was won by University of Washington neurosurgical resident, Lynn McGrath, MD. Lynn and his team created PupilScreen, a phone-based app aiming to be a screening tool for traumatic brain injury such as concussion, not only useful in the hospital setting, but at the ball playing field. Second place was won by Shawn Iadonato, PhD, CEO of Kineta, a Seattle biotechnology company with several drugs in the pipeline, one which is a pain therapy acting on a physiologic pathway such that it would be a nonaddictive alternative to opioids.

Lastly, the Perseverance category first place winner was Beth Kolko, PhD, CEO of Shift Labs. Beth and her team developed DripAssist, a simple, easy to use IV drip rate monitor that replaces the pump at the hospital bedside. DripAssist is used across the US and around the world, but the journey to this point was long and arduous. Second place was won by Neal Sofian, who developed the first widely deployed smoking cessation program, Free and Clear (now called Quit for Life) in the ‘80s and has not stopped innovating since. He has always pushed the boundaries in healthcare and is currently CEO of a startup company called tuzag that aims to dramatically increase optimal use medical care through a conversational artificial intelligence concierge.

Check out all of the finalists in the previous blog announcement and watch our website for more photos and links to videos of the event, www.healthinnovator.org. We are grateful to our sponsor, Cambia Grove!

2018 Health Innovators of the Year Finalists

Seattle continues to grow a strong health innovation community, reflected by this years 2018 Finalists of the Seattle Innovators of the Year Awards.  Successful innovation in an industry as complex as healthcare requires a combination of Collaboration, Customer Focus, Imagination, and Perseverance. On December 6th at the Cambia Grove, Health Innovation NW will recognize a remarkable set of individuals who exemplify these qualities. Collaboration Carly Eckert, MD – KenSci  |  Elya Prystowsky, PhD – Olympic Community of Health  |  Daphne Pie – Public Health Seattle and King County  |  Oren Nissim – Brook Customer Focus David Cerino – Providence St Joseph Health  |  Jill Angelo – genneve  |  Robbie Cape – 98point6 Imagination Brad Walker – Orthopedic Wellness Laboratories  |  Christian Severt – CuraCloud  |  David Atkins, PhD – UW / Lyssn.io  |  Kerry M. Curran – Lung Technologies  |  Lynn McGrath, MD PupilScreen  |  Mahesh Mulumudi, MD  -Steth IO  |  Maitreyee Joshi – Microsoft  |  Michele Mehl – Excy  |  Peter Harris – Longevity Surgical, Inc.   |  Ran Baror – Gulp Baby  |  Shawn Iadonato, PhD – Kineta  |  Sundar Balasubramanian – Xealth Perseverance Beth Kolko – Shift Labs  |  Brian Ross, MD, PhD – Format Health / UW Medicine  |  Michael Domingo, DPT – GO PT  |  Neal Sofian – tuzag  |  Torben Nielsen – Premera Blue Cross If you would like to join us for our Annual Awards and Holiday Party and want to help us celebrate this year’s Health Innovators of the Year, please RSVP via our event page.


Carly Eckert, MD

Innovator: Carly Eckert, MD

Organization: KenSci Nominator: Corinne Strom Dr. Carly is a valued member of KenSci’s Research and Healthcare Insights Teams.  Each day, she uses her experience as a Medical Doctor, skills in epidemiology, and knowledge of clinical informatics on research and pilot efforts in both the US and United Kingdom, expanding the utilization of machine learning in healthcare across international borders. She spans both outbound activities – partnering with customers and research groups – and inbound work, ensuring that fellow “KenScientists” can build the next generation of solutions for customers.  On any given day, Carly might be collaborating with a front-end developer on reporting experiences, brainstorming data schemas, or co-leading a Machine Learning workshop for the IT team of an integrated delivery network.  She has become an evangelist for providers who augment their repertoire of knowledge and skills with the best outputs that Data Science can offer. Approachable, enthusiastic, and willing to roll up her sleeves and work in data, Dr. Carly Eckert is an ideal team member and collaborator. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Elya Prystowsky, PhD Innovator: Elya Prystowsky, PhD Organization: Health Commons Nominator: Rob Arnold With 12 years of training as an epidemiologist and five years of experience leading a local nonprofit health collaborative, Elya is grounded by the belief that healthcare is local, and therefore solutions to the problems that exist today must derive from the local experience. She drives toward improved population health by blending her experience and training with her passion for our communities. Through partnerships, Elya and the Health Commons Team (Quad Aim Partners, Accountable Community of Care on the Olympic peninsula and Greater Columbia and Puget Sound Fire) developed and implemented systems that coordinated care efficiently and effectively, made life better for the many providers implementing an easy and efficient digital system instead of clumsy and inefficient phone calls. (~80% of their calls are medical and social and caused by a small cohort of vulnerable people) This system is now implemented in Clallam County and soon to be implemented at Puget Sound Fire  and in central Washington. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________  Daphne Pie Innovator: Daphne Pie Organization: Public Health Seattle and King County Nominator: Pam MacEwan Daphne Pie has been laser focused on reaching and facilitating access to health care throughout King County since 2013, particularly for those who experience the most significant health disparities. Daphne has formed partnerships with organizations throughout King County to target outreach and enrollment efforts. She has been able to hire individuals from target communities as Navigators. Data shows that these targeted outreach efforts make a difference. The Office of Financial Management reported that from 2013 through 2016, King County reduced the rate of uninsured among its residents by 60%. Overall, despite having the largest population in Washington, King County has one of the lowest rates for residents who remain uninsured at only 4.5%. For every obstacle that presents itself, Daphne relentlessly pursues a solution. Her genuine passion, compassion for the people of her community, and her drive are an inspiration throughout the Navigator community. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Oren Nissim Innovator: Oren Nissim Organization: Brook Health Nominator: Heather King Oren approached the issue of chronic disease self-management from a place of trying to manage his own diabetes and not finding the ideal tools to do so. Brook Personal Health Companion was created to provide access and accountability to people who need to make many daily decisions to keep themselves healthy. Oren has worked tirelessly to partner with health insurance companies and other digital health tech companies to provide a user experience that truly delivers on its promise to always be there, working in the background. He is an inspirational leader in the field of health tech, with a focus on the individual user. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________  

Customer Focus

David Cerino Innovator: David Cerino Organization: Providence St Joseph Health Group Nominator: Mark Long David Cerino, Product Leader for Digital and Innovation, new “Express Care” service from Providence and Swedish. Developing relationships with patients, clinicians, payers, and health system leaders, David led the digital platform critical to Express Care’s success.  Express Care was launched at stand-alone locations, inside 40 Walgreens retail locations, via telehealth, and with @Home service.  In 3 years, Express Care has delivered 250,000 encounters to those who may have had to wait for a primary care opening, gone to the emergency room, or simply not had access to care.  The @Home service is critical to those with mobility issues or often when multiple family members need care.  Simply put, delayed care or lack of access is just bad care. In addition to growing a service from 0 to 250,000 encounters, David achieved a “Net Promoter Score” (NPS) of over 70. NPS measures the willingness of customers to recommend services to others.  For comparison, Amazon’s NPS is 64 and Apple’s is 70.  This is unheard of in the healthcare arena and a concrete measurement of David’s intense Customer Focus. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Jill Angelo Innovator: Jill Angelo Organization: genneve Nominator: Shannon Perry Jill Angelo, founder of Genneve, is addressing a gap in information and care for middle-aged women in the menopause years. So many women are under- or mis-informed about what to expect and how soon in life to expect it. Jill has been scouting partners in tech and healthcare to find ways to bring access to more women – especially those in rural areas facing a growing shortage of ob/gyns – via the company’s telehealth platform. Jill and her team have built a very solid foundation of health care advisors and a library of blogs and podcasts that are thoroughly researched. Next up for the company is a wearable, to collect data that will not only help the individual woman understand her body better but will hopefully help inform research decisions within the greater health care community. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Robbie Cape Innovator: Robbie Cape Organization: 98point6 Nominator: Bryan Gibbs Robbie Cape, co-founder of 98point6, passionately believes everyone deserves quality, affordable primary care. In 2015, he co-founded 98point6 to harness the power of technology to make primary care more accessible and affordable. The impetus and need for 98point6 was clear. Long wait times, rising costs and the inconvenience of getting to a doctor’s office has also contributed to consumer disengagement from a relationship with primary care.  98point6 offers diagnosis and treatment from board-certified physicians via in-app messaging, at a fraction of the cost of existing primary care options. The company leverages Artificial Intelligence to handle administrative tasks for physicians, so they can spend more time treating patients. Soon after starting 98point6, Robbie assembled a Medical Advisory Board, a team of 18 distinguished physicians to serve as strategic advisors to 98point6. Since launching its employer offering in January of 2018, 98point6 has already contracted with 33 companies across the nation and in a range of industries (including retail, technology, financial services, healthcare and manufacturing), and is on track to have 100,000 members under contract through employers by the end of the year. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________  


Brad Walker Innovator: Brad Walker Organization: Orthopedic Wellness Laboratories Nominator: Bill McClain With a mission to expand the range of pain-free movement, Brad Walker and his startup team are addressing an unmet need. The opportunity: Consider whiplash and concussion. The OWL device will provide patients with baseline and progress measurements before, during and after a rotational muscle strengthening rehab program and highlight individual patients’ progress. Stronger, rehabilitated muscles will help relieve pain, address alignment issues, and help prevent future injury. More than ever, athletic trainers, medical professionals and insurance companies want precise, objective measurement and documentation of baseline condition and progress during treatment, and controlled, adjustable resistance therapy. The OWL patent-pending device will connect to a smartphone app that records key measurements at baseline, and trends over time. The device will provide adjustable, uniform resistance and will be comfortable to use. Brad envisions a future where this device is standard equipment in all physical therapy, sports medicine and chiropractic clinics. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Christian Severt Innovator: Christian Severt Organization: CuraCloud Corporation Nominator: Ed Butler Christian Severt is the Information Security leader at CuraCloud, a healthcare AI startup in Seattle. He is a former US military Information Technology expert and has worked in the healthcare field for the past 3 years. Soon after joining the CuraCloud team he led the project to provide a HIPAA-compliant method for receiving data from healthcare providers to be used to build and test our deep learning models. He led the selection process, chose a consulting firm to support the effort and then led the design effort for our “Clean Room” project. This resulted in a new capability that will be useful for operating a HIPAA “hybrid” model in which a very limited number of employees have access to Protected Health Information, but ensures that AI developers only use de-identified data. The Clean Room project provides a way for healthcare providers with whom CuraCloud has a Business Associate Agreement to upload encrypted data and provides audit trails through the data cleansing process. After de-identification the data may be used for IRB-approved research projects without risk of loss of privacy. This innovation addresses one of the fundamental blockers in developing deep learning models by providing an effective way to protect patent privacy. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ David Atkins, PhD Innovator: David Atkins, PhD Organization: UW/Lyssn.io Nominator: Reza Hosseini Ghomi David Atkins, PhD. has been faculty and professor at University of Washington (UW) for over 10 years now and currently co-directs the Behavioral Research in Engineering and Technology (BRiTE) Center within the department of psychiatry at UW. Dave has been able to do something that few faculty members can. He has been able to successfully transfer his academic research into a new and successful company. Dave is a trained psychologist and has had interest in combining technology with psychology throughout his career. Collaborating with leaders in the natural language processing field from University of Southern California and The University of Utah, Dave was able to create a system, which would automatically listen to therapy in real time, transcribe and diarize the session, and provide feedback to the therapist. The first iteration has been validated for motivational interviewing and is being used in substance use clinics and psychology training programs in several states now. His company, Lyssn.io has signed several contracts now and continues to grow. Dave has taken a technology that provides a major advance in using powerful voice technology and is putting it to use in a highly impactful way. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Kerry M. Curran Innovator: Kerry M. Curran Organization: Lung Technologies Nominator: Shana Curran Kerry M. Curran teamed with the graduate mechanical engineering class at Seattle University to design, develop, test and prototype a revolutionary medical device for testing inhalation capacity called the VaLena 5000 Therapeutic Incentive Spirometer. Kerry and his team were able to have a completed working prototype completed in just 9 months. This prototype was so well conceived, engineered and thoroughly tested that they were able to prepare a FDA 510K pre-market approval to submit to the FDA. They also applied for function and design patents. Class II medical devices typically take years to develop and test, yet Kerry and his team did it in an incredible 9 months. This new Therapeutic Incentive Spirometer offers a user interface for the pulmonologist to be able to exactly gauge patient use and progress or more importantly, lack of progress. The pulmonologist can now change/alter care based on the accurate and factual data from the spirometer. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Lynn McGrath, MD Innovator: Lynn McGrath, MD Organization: UW Department of Neurosurgery/ PupilScreen Nominator: Rajeev Sen In developing PupilScreen, Lynn has done a phenomenal job identifying a gap in the capability of front-line providers to diagnose and triage traumatic brain injury both in the US and globally and addressing it with an accessible, affordable solution. The magnitude of the problem cannot be overstated as the inability of first responders to accurately diagnose traumatic brain injury leads to a 25% excess mortality in these patients in the United States alone. This number is significantly higher in low resource countries around the world, where TBI is the leading cause of premature death. While working a grueling schedule as a neurosurgery resident, Lynn managed to reach out and collaborate with Professor Shwetak Patel of the UW Computer Science department to create an inexpensive, easy to use app for the iPhone that replaces technology that was previously $8,000 and out of reach for all but the most sophisticated hospitals in the US. The app has generated nation-wide press coverage and is being currently being tested in the US and in a pilot study in Thailand to assess its use in the developing world. The project is a model for how UW can foster teamwork between clinicians and academic to achieve profound results with the potential to positively impact millions of lives in the US and abroad. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Mahesh Mulumudi, MD Innovator: Mahesh Mulumudi, MD Organization: Steth IO Nominator: Vikram Chalana Dr. Mahesh Mulumudi has invented Steth IO , an Artificial Intelligence-enabled smartphone stethoscope. The stethoscope is embedded into the case of a smartphone and machine learning is integrated into the technology to provide the output. With this, his team at Steth IO has created the “shazam for heart and lung sounds” — enabling automatic interpretation of these sounds to help physicians better diagnose health issues. This technology is bringing the ancient stethoscope into the 21st century, giving physicians improved confidence in listening to heart and lung sounds for early diagnosis. While working as a full-time interventional cardiologist, Dr. Mulumudi worked relentlessly to build and test this technology. After a few iterations, Steth IO was approved in 2017 by the FDA as a class-2 medical device. The device was also granted three utility patents and three design patents in the US and seven other countries. In 2018, the Steth IO team launched the product to market. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Mailtreyee Joshi Innovator: Maitreyee Joshi Organization: Microsoft Nominator: Neel Mehta Maitreyee’s Health Tech journey began when she almost went blind in high school. She discovered how few products there were to help people with medical conditions such as blindness, and made it her goal to develop medical technology. After learning from Accessibility Technology Specialists at the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center that independent indoor navigation is one of the toughest challenges that the blind face, Maitreyee set about trying to solve that problem. This led her to founding her first startup, BlindWalk, which built an iOS app to help the blind navigate through buildings 85% faster. Since then, Maitreyee has continually gone above and beyond in creating innovative solutions to help the disabled and cancer patients. She developed a tactile feedback system that enables amputees to feel tactile sensations through their prosthetic arms. She wrote a machine learning algorithm to detect DNA mutations that cause a particularly malignant cancerous brain tumor called Glioblastoma multiforme. Maitreyee’s latest project has been the most ambitious and innovative of all; she has been using computer vision and retinal prostheses to restore functional sight to the blind. There are almost 40 million blind individuals worldwide, a staggering 75% of whom are unemployed, causing an estimated global economic burden of approximately $3 trillion. Thus, Maitreyee calculated that the impact of curing blindness would have enormous quality of life, economic, and social implications. While Maitreyee’s research in restoring functional sight to the blind is ongoing, her efforts in using computer vision and retinal prostheses to restore functional sight the blind has the potential to radically change the lives for the blind in the future. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Michele Mehl Innovator: Michele Mehl Organization: Excy Nominator: Jill Angelo Michele has re-imagined how people can get the benefits of recumbent cycling no matter their disability or location. Her Excy device is a convenient recumbent cycling device that has proven beneficial for PT-patients struggling with injuries or disabilities at birth. She’s tenacious in her drive to bring this new technology to patients everywhere by partnering with physical therapists and other physical training centers focused on her target consumer. Her drive and innovation are inspiring! ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Peter Harris Innovator: Peter Harris Organization: Longevity Surgical, Inc. Nominator: Peter Harris Peter Harris designed a unique surgery approach for obesity known as laparoscopic gastric plication (LGP), plus a unique enabling surgical tool, LapProx™. All current existing surgeries (“band”, “bypass”, “sleeve”, etc.) are designed to be delivered from centers of excellence, because they have high risk to the patient, high failure rate, high cost, and need high surgeon skill, making them inaccessible to the majority of obesity/ T2D suffers, who are not high income or logistically accessible. LapProx will improve surgeon time from up to 152 minutes of difficult, stressful suturing to an easy, one-handed 20-25 min. An estimated 3,000 cases done by hand surgery, mostly outside of US. LGP/LapProx is designed to be safe, simple for the surgeon, low cost for self-pay, so can be done at local centers by moderately skilled surgeons. Studies have found LGP to be suitable for outpatient delivery instead of 2-3 days in hospital. In one review of 11 studies of LGP surgery, weight loss is found to be “comparable to sleeve gastrectomy”, with reoperations much lower at only 3% and conversion at 0.2%. In one T2D study, 92% of LGP patients went into remission compared to another study showing only 42% and 37% for band and sleeve patients respectively. LGP/LapProx is the only surgery that is low cost (self-pay), quick, easy, simple and safe enough to be offered for T2D by primary intent, with concomitant obesity reduction by secondary intent. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Ran Baror Innovator: Ran Baror Organization: Gulp Baby Nominator: Marc Miller Ran Baror is the entrepreneur behind Gulp Baby. Based on his family’s own difficulty with their baby’s breast feeding, he brought together a team that has created a very imaginative clinically validated digital, Machine Learning enhanced, solution to improve breast feeding results beginning in the hospital and continuing through a baby’s discharge home. Despite having multiple health benefits, 60% of mothers give up on breast feeding efforts before they intended to. In addition, breast feeding issues account for 11% of postpartum emergency department visits. Ran’s imagination has fueled a scalable, cost effective approach that combines a wearable, artificial intelligence, pro-active targeted lactation counseling to increase mother and child satisfaction, health status, and more efficient use of scarce healthcare resources for those entities at financial risk. In use today, building a trusting relationship early on, Gulp Baby envisions a future of additional user friendly, affordable beneficial services and information for new parents and their health care providers. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Shawn Iadonato, PhD Innovator: Shawn Iadonato, PhD Organization: Kineta Nominator: Craig Phillips In 2018, Dr. Shawn Iadonato lead his research team at Kineta in developing and partnering a potential lifesaving advance for the management of chronic pain. Each day in the US 50 people die from opioid overdose, this is a major health crisis with an enormous economic and societal impact on our country. Dr. Iadonato and his team have developed a non-opioid alternative to managing chronic pain thereby providing effective pain control with a safe and nonaddictive alternative. This novel drug target is not expressed in the central nervous system; this leads to a safer therapy with no centrally mediated toxicities. Unlike other chronic pain therapies, Kineta’s α9α10 nAChR antagonists are non-addictive and non-tolerizing. In the first half of 2018, Dr. Iadonato and his team successfully partnered the chronic pain program with Genentech/Roche one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the world. Kineta’s scientists – co lead by Eric Tarcha and Jose Mercado – located in South Lake Union in Seattle, will continue to drive the scientific advance of this exciting new technology. This new drug could replace opioids, thereby eliminating tens or even hundreds of thousands of overdoses each year. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Sundar Balasubramanian Innovator: Sundar Balasubramanian Organization: Xealth Nominator: David Cooper As a co-founder of Xealth, Sundar was instrumental in creating and scaling a product that has the potential to impact Hundreds of millions of people – and save healthcare systems over $1 million annually. Xealth makes it easier for providers to prescribe digital health solutions and integrate them into their workflow and patients to easily access these materials. Sundar spearheaded the innovation to allow providers to recommend non-durable medical goods to patients using Amazon. Rather than saying “Get some prenatal vitamins,” and then leaving the patient to figure out which ones to choose, doctors can now give patients one click access to the ones they’d prefer. This is the first time Amazon has been integrated with a health system and a unique use of its APIs to help improve patient choice. Sundar continues to be an unsung leader in health innovation here in Seattle in spite of the great strides he’s making for the field.



Beth Kolko Innovator: Beth Kolko Organization: Shift Labs Nominator: Brad Youngren Beth has been working away at solving a medical device problem in the global health space. The DripAssist creates a new modality for monitoring IV infusions in environments where pumps are not financially feasible. This problem was two-fold, prototype & build, and then figuring out how to distribute a product that is most beneficial to healthcare delivery systems that are likely the most financially constrained. She has persevered through building the product, securing funding and support through Y-Combinator, and then has embarked on a 6-year mission to develop a completely new market segment. She continues to innovate on the platform, winning awards in the global space. Slow, but persistent growth has allowed the company to have the product added into infusion textbooks as a new category of device. Further innovations are on the horizon that have the purpose of increasing safe medication delivery around the world. Beth’s tenacity and perseverance are impressive in a very tough market. Through demonstrated projects in Haiti and Africa, it is clear the impact this device can have in hospitals around the world. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Brian Ross, MD, PhD Innovator: Brian Ross, MD, PhD Organization: Format Health/UW Medicine Nominators: Phillip Wong and Graham Kim Brian Ross MD, PhD is Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Format Health, a digital health company based on technology he developed at the University of Washington Medical Center, “RevivePro”. Dr. Ross has been persevering for YEARS working to improve the cardiac arrest resuscitation process. Many years ago, as an anesthesiologist at the University of Washington Medical Center, he developed a cardiac arrest resuscitation documentation and guidance system. Throughout the years, he has been improving the system, and the system was commercialized two years ago, and Format Health was founded. Especially in the last two years, as the Chief Medical Officer of Format Health, he has persevered through the thick and thin of digital health entrepreneurship, and it is finally being used in emergency departments and ICUs in hospitals across the country! His pursuit for constant innovation, and fearlessness in disrupting the status quo is driven by his true passion for the well-being of the patients. His drive, thoughtfulness, and ability to overcome challenges is infectious and inspires those around him to join him on his quest. Dr. Ross, his achievements, and his impact on countless lives, is truly the finest example of perseverance in a health innovator. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Michael Domingo, DPT Innovator: Michael Domingo, DPT Organization:  GO PT Nominator: Shivani Patel Michael started his physical therapy practice 4 years ago as a small home-health practice. Home health came with lots of challenges as he would have to carry his treatment table up flights of stairs or would spend time circling his patient’s neighborhoods simply looking for a parking spot. While he was very interested in the idea of home-health services, it simply wasn’t allowing him the space or equipment to give his patients the high-quality care they deserved. He moved on to rent a room from a gym that gave him access to equipment and space, but came with its own obstacles. The gym just wasn’t set up to welcome patients recovering from injuries so after more than a year of trying to renovate the gym space, decided it was time to look for a place of his own to tailor the environment for patient comfort. Two years ago, he purchased a physical therapy practice in much need of TLC and he had just the right touch for it. That practice started with only two therapists and now has grown to 7 physical therapists, offering care in the same model that was important to Michael even during his humble beginnings. He never got discouraged after having to switch locations multiple times and he looks at every challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow. He is the definition of perseverance in healthcare! ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Neal Sofian Innovator: Neal Sofian Organization: tuzag Nominator: Ron Cornell Neal Sofian is a public health guy, an innovator, and funny. He has lots of mantras that are his guiding stars in his work. The one he uses the most is, “It ain’t dog food if the dog don’t eat it.” For the past 35 years Neal has explored innovative ways to use technology to extend the reach and impact of health behavior change; getting lots more dogs eating. This has required creating solutions that can simultaneously scale and remain highly personal. In 1986 telephone behavior change coaching didn’t exist. Neal took the research and translated it into Free & Clear, currently called Quit for Life with 3.5 million participants, now the largest smoking cessation program in the U.S. They were able to replicate this for arthritis, aging, and end of life care and support, reaching millions of users. Ultimately NewSof was sold to Resolution Health which was acquired by Anthem Blue Cross. While at Premera Blue Cross, in partnership with Guiding Stars, Edenred, and Wellness Layers, Neal created Serve It Up!, an online and mobile site focused on helping out members and the general community eat healthier and save a few bucks in the process. Yet, perhaps he has saved the best for last. There are literally over a 100,000 applications and services available in the health space. However, not enough people are using them. The real problem is engagement itself. So, at 65, Neal became the CEO of a startup company, tuzag, whose purpose is to dramatically increase the optimal use of care, products and services through a conversational AI concierge that helps people maximize their health and well-being. Neal represents what we need in this field, a willingness to explore the boundaries of healthcare and the persistence to translate crazy ideas into realities that change millions of lives ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Torben Nielsen Innovator: Torben Nielsen Organization: Premera Blue Cross Nominator: Patti Brooke Torben has been committed to improving the patient journey through health care since 2006 by introducing and championing digital tools and doorways where they did not exist previously. Torben joined Premera in 2017 after five years at Portland-based HealthSparq, the $25M startup Torben co-founded in 2012. Under his leadership, it grew to number 196 on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing U.S. companies in 2016. Prior to HealthSparq, Torben oversaw digital solutions at the Regence Group (now Cambia Health Solutions) where he was instrumental in successfully launching first-in-nation plan capabilities of price transparency and patient reviews of providers to members. Torben has been a long-time champion of corporate innovation on behalf of the patient. Now he’s focused on expanding customer experience innovations at Premera Blue Cross by working closely with internal and external stakeholders. In his role as VP of Innovation and Strategic Investments, he has convinced the organization to introduce enterprise-wide crowdsourcing challenges and co-design efforts with technology start-ups. Additionally, he has been the advocate of the patient experience in Premera’s new offering, Peak Care, the result of a new partnership between Premera and MultiCare. Torben’s persistence and creative thinking enable him to advocate piloting new technologies, learning and iterating. There are a number of pilot projects underway out of the Premera Test Kitchen, under Torben, with the goal to learn what will work in making health care work better for everyone.

Career Resilience for Health Innovators

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change (especially in Health Care Innovation!)” – Heraclitus

by Kristin Helps, RN  

The concept of one lifelong linear career is over! You might not be able to predict exactly where your career path will take you but if you can learn how to be resilient, you can be successful. If you are a clinician who is interested in expanding your career into the technology space or someone with a business or IT background with no medical background looking to transition into the health care space join us to hear from individuals who have done it!

Come meet a diverse panel of Seattle area health care technology and innovation leaders and learn how you can enhance your own career resilience. You will hear their unique perspectives on the strategies they have used to manage their own careers, what they have done to expand their skill sets, how they tackle uncertainty, drive innovation in their organizations and are transforming what it means to be in healthcare innovation. Making a change in healthcare is a marathon, not a sprint and we want to help our community prepare for the opportunities ahead. ​ Sponsored by the Cambia Grove, Seattle Health Innovators, and Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

This event is $12 in advance (plus transaction fee), $15 at the door. In addition to your RSVP, please register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/career-resilience-managing-your-future-in-health-care-innovation-tickets-36593281490 get the advance ticket price.

Our panel:

Mark Long, PhD – Senior VP of Digital Innovation at Providence St. Joseph Health

Dr. Melissa DeCapua, DNP, PMHNNP – Design Researcher at Microsoft

Cassie Wallender – Chief Product Officer & Co-Founder at Invio

Kristin Helps, RN, BSN, MS Informatics – Clinical Faculty at University of Washington


5:00 – 5:30 Happy (Half) Hour, Check-in, light refreshments

5:30 – 5:40 Community Announcements

5:40 – 6:4​0 Panel Discussion

6:4​0 – 7:00 Adjourn and Networking

About the Emerging Leaders Series:

Join us at the Cambia Grove in a three-part series for Emerging Leaders. Health care innovation and technology is growing in our region with many new and diverse career opportunities. This series will focus on personal and professional development, both for people looking to enter this field and for those looking to take the next step in their career. You’ll learn more about these exciting new opportunities, how to transition your career into this innovative space or into a leadership position, and how to build your personal brand. Come network with other professionals, and meet and hear from leaders in this industry. Sponsored by the Cambia Grove, Seattle Health Innovators, and Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Parking in the 1800 9th building is now $10 after 3pm!

*All tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable*

Who are the 2016 Health Innovators of the Year?

Seattle is growing a strong health innovation community and the 2016 recipients of the Health Innovation NW Innovator of the Year awards prove it. Successful innovation in an industry as complex as healthcare requires a combination of imagination, customer focus, collaboration, and perseverance. This year we are recognizing a remarkable set of individuals who exemplify these qualities:


This award recognizes individual achievement in conceiving new ways of solving problems in the health sector via new methods, ideas, products, services, or business models. The 2016 awardee is Dr. Ingrid Swanson Pultz.


Ingrid Swanson Pultz, Ph.D is the Chief Scientific Officer at PvP Biologics.  Dr. Pultz co-led an undergraduate team in 2011 that conceived of the KumaMax project that identified an enzyme that could be used for improved digestion of the gluten protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. As a post-doc, and then as the Principal Investigator of her own lab (the Pultz Lab) at the UW Institute of Protein Design, she built upon this work generating next-generation enzyme candidates using computational protein design. She and her colleagues designed and tested a synthetic enzyme to digest gluten before it gets to the small intestine, where it causes inflammation for people with Celiac Disease. At PvP Biologics, Dr. Pultz is working towards getting FDA approval for this new drug for sufferers of Celiac Disease.

Customer-Focus in a Startup Company

This award recognizes an individual member of health innovation startup team who maintains focus on the customer and builds deep, long-term relationships by better understanding, anticipating, and fulfilling customer needs. The 2016 awardee is Jared Munir.


Jared Munir, M.Eng. is a Technical Account Manager at Translational Software. Mr. Munir provides customer support to the clinical labs who are customers of Translational Software’s interpretive reports. He was nominated by many customers whose testimonials describe exceptional performance. Typical comments describe “unwavering commitment to help anyone in our organization regardless of their need for technical background”, “even through email, Jared gives off a sense of cheerfulness that helps the laboratory work through these issues without added frustration or stress”, and “exemplifies the exact type of mentality, attitude, and focus on customer care that every business dreams to achieve.” These customer stories bring to life the impact that is possible by working at an individual level to achieve better results. 

Customer-focus in a Healthcare Delivery Organization

This award recognizes an individual working for a healthcare delivery organization who maintains focus on those served, builds deep relationships, and fulfills stated and latent needs.The 2016 awardee is Kim Wicklund.


Kim Wicklund, MPH, is Manager, Patient Engagement at Group Health Cooperative. Ms. Wicklund spearheaded the Plain Language Initiative at Group Health where she led a multidisciplinary group that collaborated to remove jargon from patient-facing communications and advocated for making plain language a Group Health communication standard. She also provides leadership around shared decision-making and self-management support for chronically ill patients. The “Living Well with Chronic Conditions” program has been successful for many years. However, her team observed that for many patients with chronic illnesses, the very action of coming to Group Health for a program meeting was infeasible. To this end, she sought funding through an internal grant mechanism to test the feasibility and acceptability of an online version of this self-management program. That program has since served over 1300 Group Health members.

Collaboration of Healthcare Institutions with Startups

This award recognizes exemplary performance by an individual with a healthcare institution who established effective relationships working with innovators in startup companies.The 2016 awardee is Dr. Douglas Maurer.


COL Douglas Maurer, DO, MPH, FAAFP practices full-service Family Medicine to a diverse patient population at Madigan Army Medical Center. A practicing physician and teacher, with a full-time job, Dr. Maurer makes time to meet with, support and perform research with early stage health companies. This provides growing companies with access to and understanding of a large real-world healthcare system. Dr. Maurer’s work provides an inspiring example of how an individual in a large organization can champion and collaborate with innovators to advance progress in healthcare.

Collaboration Across Healthcare Institutions

This award recognizes exemplary performance by an individual within a healthcare institution who has put aside organizational boundaries and established effective relationships with innovators in other institutions. The 2016 awardee is Dr. Lisa McFerrin.


Lisa McFerrin, Ph.D. is the Bioinformatics Project Manager for Seattle Translational Tumor Research at Fred Hutch.  Her progressive work on developing Oncoscape creates a collaborative platform and community that unites the clinical, genetic, and computational fields to advance the understanding of cancer biology and improve patient care. Lisa’s work has been truly forward-thinking in recognizing that the future of healthcare will rely on bioinformaticists working hand in hand with researchers and clinicians.  Oncoscape under Lisa’s management is helping to create an open source tool that unifies researchers, clinicians, programmers and patient data across the world to work together and learn from each other to speed translational research and cure cancer.

Perseverance in Healthcare Delivery Innovation

This award recognizes exemplary performance by an individual within a healthcare institution who has demonstrated tenacity over time and has transformed challenges into opportunities. The 2016 awardee is Dr. Sunita Mishra.


Sunita Mishra, MD, MBA is the Medical Director, Innovation for Providence St. Joseph Health. For over 15 years that she has practiced medicine she has brought a visionary quality to her work, from her advocacy of evidence based protocols in a medical group in Singapore in the 1990’s to her current role leading innovation strategy at a large care delivery system. Initiatives that have been rolled out with her partnership include the new Express Care service that has provided more convenient access to over 20,000 patients, offering virtual visits, home visits, and retail clinics. Dr. Mishra has also advised digital health startups in their go-to-market strategies. She is interested in learning how we can use technology to make healthcare more consumer centric and how health systems can use technology to enhance their care delivery.

Perseverance in Health Transformation Advocacy

This award recognizes long term individual achievement in the advocacy of human-centered transformation of the healthcare system. The 2016 awardee is Dave Chase.


Dave Chase is the co-founder of the Health Rosetta Institute and the Executive Director of “The Big Heist”, a satirical film about the need for change in the healthcare system. Mr. Chase has been a change agent in healthcare for over 20 years, from his role growing Microsoft’s healthcare vertical, through his journey as the founder of a patient-engagement company, Avado, and its successful exit to WebMD in 2013. Dave is a passionate advocate in the battle to fix the broken American healthcare system. He understands it inside and out and writes provocative pieces for Forbes and on LinkedIn. He’s honest about the journey as an entrepreneur, and yet supports innovative businesses through his role as a VC at Quad Aim Fund and Cascadia Capital. He’s the champion of Health Rosetta, an open source project aimed at creating a new health ecosystem.


2016 Seattle Health Innovators Holiday Party and Awards Night

Please join us as we celebrate another great year in Seattle’s health innovation community by honoring these individuals and by also recognizing the efforts of everyone involved in working for better health and better health care. Our Holiday Party is Thursday evening from 5:30-8:00 at the SURF Incubator, 999 Third Avenue, Seattle WA 98104. Prior registration is appreciated at this link.



Is the ‘Seattle Freeze” Real?

A common experience among people, especially those new to Seattle, is known as the “Seattle Freeze”. This is what it feels like. You go to a networking event and meet some incredibly interesting, friendly, and apparently receptive people. You follow-up with a successful LinkedIn connection. You feel excited that you’ve found new friends and colleagues. Yet, afterwards, when it comes to building relationships and getting to know people on a more personal level, that is proving more difficult. Would you agree?

This is the 5th in a series about Seattle’s prospects as a health innovation hub from the perspective of health startups. In prior posts we have looked at these criteria:

  • Cost of doing business – Seattle ranks in the middle.
  • Financial capital – Seattle is lowest of the comparison cities in the amount invested in healthcare; 30% of angels are specifically associated with healthcare.
  • Human capital –Highest ranked city in our study with the largest share of college grads[i]; hub for technology and sciences.
  • Health Institutions– Seattle has world-class academic and research institutions, like the comparison cities, but lags Boston, New York, and San Francisco in the amount of funding. Seattle’s healthcare delivery systems are seen as relatively complacent and risk averse when it comes to working with local health startups.
  • Regional culture- this post.

Perhaps one of the more important criteria in deciding where to locate a new venture is a startup-friendly culture. Being in a location where startups thrive and can support each other can be a powerful advantage. How open and friendly is the startup culture in the metro area?  Is it cut-throat competitive? How likely is it that other companies will poach your team? Typically startup entrepreneurs need help or advice when building their company. Quality of life for our teams is critical to being able to recruit the best people. Despite the media hype around startups, it is not all about late night sprints and cold pizza. Living in a beautiful area with diverse cultural resources (museums, concerts, parks) and the ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to build relationships all contribute to building a sustainable team and an amazing company.

To answer these and other questions we worked with Amy Young, of ZenCloud Consulting, to conduct a survey of the membership of the Seattle Health Innovators group. With 120 responses we have some interesting findings.



Overall, most Seattle area healthcare innovators feel the community is collaborative, open and trusting. This is an overwhelming endorsement of the quality of the health innovation community here, and is possibly a differentiator of Seattle from socially colder and more established communities. We did not survey the comparison cities so this article focuses only on Seattle.

Start-up vs Non Start-up

By “health startup” we mean new ventures building products and services in the health sector. Our sample includes all stages of startups, from self-funded/bootstrap through angel, seed, A,and B rounds. About half of the survey sample works in startups, the other half in non-startup organizations including healthcare delivery organizations, payers, consulting firms, and research/academic organizations. While the majority in both segments finds Seattle a trusting culture, we found a difference in responses based on where people worked. In Seattle, those who are working for a health industry start-up are more likely to agree Seattle is an open and trusting place to work, 73% vs 58%.


Yet when it comes to meeting and getting to know people in Seattle, health innovator start-ups are feeling the “freeze”(62%), to a greater extent than those in non-start-ups (55%).


This experience is by no means universal- more than a third of the respondents disagreed that the so-called “freeze” is real. We suspect there are many variables contributing to this experience, but it seems to be felt by enough people to acknowledge as a socially experienced fact. It is helpful to understand this desire for more personal connection so that we can design experiences that facilitate building on what could become one of the region’s most competitive advantages.

Assessing our Impact and our Competitive Advantage

We will share more insights from our Startup Location Attractiveness survey at the November 4th Seattle Health Innovation Forum:Assessing our Impact and our Competitive Advantage. At this event we will also learn about findings from the new release of the WA State HealthCare Sector Economic Development Report, sponsored by the Cambia Grove, the Washington Biotech and Biomedical Association, and the WA Department of Commerce. This will lead to a town-hall discussion of what we can do to improve the competitiveness of the health innovation community in our region, Please join us on Nov 4th at 5:30pm in Seattle to help thaw the “Seattle Freeze” and to connect with others interested in our region’s health innovation community.





Amy Young, President ZenCoud Consulting, moved to Seattle from Anchorage in 2014. She joined the Health Innovators Research team’s Startup Location Attractiveness Study in March 2015.


Ed Butler, a co-founder of Videris Health, moved to Seattle in 2001. In 2013 he organized the Seattle Health Innovation Forum, a grass-roots community of people interested in transforming health and healthcare.


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