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MDP Accelerator Year 1: Learning, Expanding and Maturing

by Mandira Singh, Senior Manager, Business Development and More Disruption Please

The athenahealth More Disruption Please (MDP) Accelerator program has now been underway for a year, and a lot has happened in that time.

Most notably, we’ve expanded Accelerator office space beyond our Watertown headquarters, opening spaces in our San Francisco and Austin locations. And our first Accelerator portfolio company – Arsenal Health, formerly Smart Scheduling – has graduated from the program. After spending a year in the Watertown Accelerator, Arsenal Health now offers a successful and proven solution to health care providers on the athenahealth Marketplace.

When they joined our program, Arsenal Health had one pilot customer. They’ve now grown to more than 15 clients using their service, and we are thrilled with the progress we have made together. As Arsenal Health CEO Chris Moses said in a past blog post, “It takes a village to raise a startup. With the MDP Accelerator, we’ve found a collaborative ecosystem that is helping us grow our company, one delighted customer at a time.” 

We’ve also learned some great lessons in our Accelerator program over the past 12 months:

  • Engage the community
    In January, we decided to open up our Accelerator spaces to companies that want to rent desks and use the Accelerator as co-working space. We have been delighted to see the value that additional innovative thinkers can bring. An exciting community has developed as a result of this decision, with our portfolio companies engaging with others in our broader ecosystem. Health care is a challenging environment to innovate in – we believe the collaborative rising tide will truly raise all ships here.

  • Expand our resource offerings
    From media training to fundraising, we have broadened the ways we can help our portfolio companies as we have learned more about their needs. From providing template contracts to contributing compliance and public relations help, we have been able to use athenahealth expertise to cater to the varied needs of our portfolio companies so they can focus on growth.

  • Finding common ground and mutual success
    By tapping into our open, cloud network of 64,000 health care providers, our Accelerator portfolios can easily integrate onto our API-friendly platform and test a solution with real providers. As the solution proves itself, there’s an opportunity to rapidly scale it across the network, gaining access to all engaged clients.
  • In exchange for these benefits, we ask our portfolio companies for a few things in return. For starters, we encourage them to ‘play well with others,’ to develop on other platforms and grow their list of strategic partnerships. However, should one of our portfolio companies contemplate a strategic event – to raise a large round of equity or receive an acquisition offer, for instance – we ask for ‘right of first notice,’ simply giving us a seat at the table before these events occur. Ultimately, our unconventional approach allows us to execute a program like none other.

As part of our early maturation, we’ve grown the program to these six portfolio companies and expect to keep up the momentum throughout 2015.  

  1. PatientPop – comprehensive marketing platform designed to grow and maintain a practice’s patient base and reputation
  2. Hale Health – clinical communications platform that connects providers and their patients between visits, delivering remote care
  3. LifeSquare – health data solution that securely relays a patient’s essential health information to qualified health care professionals via a quick response (QR) code
  4. RubiconMD – connects primary care providers to specialists for remote opinions
  5. CredSimple – software and services that significantly improve credentialing efficiencies and improve data quality
  6. Arsenal Health (formerly Smart Scheduling) – opens up hidden appointment availability by inserting additional open slots in a practice’s schedule 

As we enter our second year with the MDP Accelerator program, we plan to broaden our ability to help high-potential companies gain better access to the market they want to serve. And as we expand our athenahealth offering into the inpatient setting, we expect to leverage our Accelerator program to identify companies that target hospitals as clients – perhaps bundling them with our own services – continuing our efforts to bring a variety of benefits where they’re needed in health care.

If you’re a disruptive health care entrepreneur with an innovative solution for providers, we invite you to join us! Apply to one of our Accelerator offices today!

And, for those of you in the Austin, Texas area, participate in athenahealth’s More Disruption Please (MDP) Austin Hackathon, bringing together great minds to help solve health care’s biggest problems. The MDP Hackathon will take place in the new athenahealth Austin office, July 24-26th.



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