22 Aug NOLA Health Innovators: The Value Isn’t Prize Money, It’s Access to Potential Funders and Clients Worth Over $4 Billion.

NEW ORLEANS – As the executive director of Lafayette General Health’s Innovation Fund, Cian Robinson wasn’t sure what the New Orleans Business Alliance’s inaugural Health Innovators challenge would accomplish.

Sure, the Business Alliance promoted the event as an opportunity to bring cutting edge health solutions/technology to help local healthcare companies while attracting healthcare industry start-ups to the city. But being Cian-Robinson-Lafayette-General-Healthone of the first healthcare-focused challenge events in the region, outcomes were an unknown. Yet, Robinson took a leap of faith and brought Lafayette General on as a partner.

Now, Robinson knows exactly what to expect, and that’s why he and his hospital system’s multi-million-dollar fund are in for the next Health Innovators event. And, because of his amazing experience during the first event, he’s bringing other Lafayette healthcare market leaders worth over $4 billion to the table this time.

Reaching High Value Investors and Clients

Robinson’s experience and enthusiasm are part of what makes the New Orleans Business Alliance’s Health Innovators event so powerful. It’s not just sponsored by companies willing to risk capital through prize money or start-up investments, they are looking to become clients of the competing companies as well.

In Lafayette General’s case, Robinson and his team hoped to address a key technology issue that plagues virtually all medical organizations – a need for greater data interoperability allowing both patients and clinicians to access and retrieve medical records.

So, when SimplyVital Health made its pitch, Robinson noticed, and today the start-up is on a path that could change the it’s trajectory.

In one transformational moment, SimplyVital Health captured Lafayette General’s attention by introducing blockchain technology into the patient information system, giving access to medical records and billing information while offering healthcare providers interoperability and less costly management systems.

“The company’s solution was very elegant,” Robinson said. During a subsequent meeting with Kat Kuzmeskas, SimplyVital Health’s CEO, a handful of Lafayette General’s executives were stopped in their tracks by her story. “They were about evaluate two or three other vendors who could help us, and they stopped, looked at me, and said ‘Do you think we can invest in her?’ And I said, ‘I know we can invest in her company.’”

And a deeply important match was made.

Real Value: Solving Healthcare Issues, Growing Businesses

“What’s really cool is that Kat was only interested in investors that would sign on as a client. What’s really funny is that’s our model. We will only invest in you if we are going to buy your products and services,” said Robinson. “With Lafayette General’s Innovation Fund alone, we’re positioned to consider a Series A investment in SimplyVital Health as well as a contracting opportunity.”

In addition, Lafayette General’s willingness to invest, Robinson introduced SimplyVital Health to other potential partners and customers including LHC Group, Schumacher Clinical Partners, Acadian Ambulance and a few others during a visit to Lafayette. Kuzmeskas also met with senior technology officials for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In all, the New Orleans Health Innovators event introduced SimplyVital Health to businesses worth more than $4 billion, and the largest governmental purchaser of healthcare information technology.

“That’s the real value of this great program,” Robinson concluded about the New Orleans Health Innovators event. Connecting start-ups with established companies that will solve problems and create jobs and grow businesses through investments.

As for the New Orleans Business Alliance, if it introduces innovations that bring the brightest new ideas and startups to our city and benefits the patient population while landing new companies and creating new jobs, it’s a win-win for everyone.


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