DENVER, CO – It was only in the last five years that health-tech entrepreneur Mike Biselli began to see things changing for the better.
“A lot of opportunity was starting to show itself in positive ways,” Biselli said. “At least from my perspective as an innovator, it was positive. For the old guard in healthcare, maybe not so much.”
After getting his start in the healthcare industry working with a variety of medical device companies during the late 2000s, Biselli co-founded a digital health startup, MedPassage, which he exited in 2013. Then, upon realizing that his desire to fundamentally transform healthcare through innovation was far from satisfied, Biselli jumped at the opportunity to work with the Colorado-based non-profit organization Prime Health.
“Prime Health started to bring people together in 2011,” Biselli explained. “The organization was intent on coalescing anyone who had a sincere interest in digital health, regardless of whether they were physicians, entrepreneurs, academics, or engineers.”
While serving as a board member of Prime Health, Biselli first observed the collaborative spirit that would later become a hallmark of the digital health community in Colorado. “It caused many of us to consider how far we might rise on the national level if we could manage to motivate everyone in this community to share in the goal of reimagining healthcare,” said Biselli.
Inspired by the potential of Colorado’s digital health movement, Biselli began to contemplate the best ways to harness its power.
“I realized that we weren’t going to reimagine healthcare with just startups alone. And I knew that the large healthcare providers weren’t going to budge until they had to. That’s when I asked myself, ‘Why can’t we build an innovation campus where we encourage startups and Fortune 20 healthcare organizations to work together to transform healthcare?”
And the idea for Catalyst HTI was born.
A Growing Community
At first glance, the Catalyst HTI project can seem overly ambitious. Biselli has plans to bring together not only startup entrepreneurs and Fortune 20 healthcare executives, but also venture capitalists, government officials, and renowned academics.
“We want to channel the next wave of talent into Catalyst HTI,” Biselli said while explaining his involvement with institutions of higher learning like Regis University, the University of Denver, and the University of Colorado. “We want to build a software coding academy, and market it around the globe to bring engineers here and teach them healthcare IT skillsets.”
Yet Biselli has gradually been making this seemingly impossible project a reality.
Over 30 Colorado digital health startups have already committed to becoming tenants of the building when it opens its doors in early 2017, including CirrusMD, Telespine, and burstIQ. Additionally, Boomtown and Colorado Permanente Medical Group’s recently launched health-tech accelerator stated in its inaugural press release that its main offices would be located in Catalyst HTI.
Increasing the excitement that has already gathered around this project, both the governor of Colorado and the state’s Office of Economic Development have written letters of support for Catalyst HTI, and a variety of major universities and healthcare organizations are currently exploring potential partnerships with the upcoming digital health hub.
“The reception has been overwhelming,” Biselli admitted. “One thing that I’m most pleased about and more importantly most humbled about is the tearing down of silos. With this project, we are now witnessing government, academia, and private enterprise coming together as one.”
An Innovative Environment
For Biselli, the incentives for joining Catalyst HTI are strikingly apparent.
“When you start talking to leaders at Kaiser, Catholic Health, Aetna, Anthem, and companies like them” he explained, “they now want to be around startups, because they want to be at the cutting edge of technology.”
“Of course, the technologists and entrepreneurs would love to be around the healthcare organizations as well,” he added, “because those are the consumers of what they’re building with their startups.”
But Biselli is not content to let the clear need for a collaborative environment like Catalyst HTI be its sole attraction. That’s why he’s doing everything in his power to enhance the interactions he foresees occurring inside the building.
According to Biselli, Catalyst HTI will possess innovation labs where entrepreneurs will be able to develop prototypes of wearable and IoT devices. The building will also feature a large conference hall where lectures, symposiums, and pitch competitions will be held.
Most importantly, the interior of Catalyst HTI will be designed to encourage tenants to engage with one another in what Biselli calls “serendipitous collisions.”
“We’re going to build a mentor and advisor network,” he revealed, “where we’ll have academics, business leaders, physicians, and entrepreneurs working together to discover new ideas and forge new partnerships.”
Yet for all the advantages that these features will confer, Biselli envisions Catalyst HTI’s inclusiveness as the true source of its eventual success.
“Anyone who’s passionate about reimagining healthcare will have a seat at our table,” he promised. “That’s how we’re going to be the best in everything we do.”
Now is the Time
A sense of urgency underlies Biselli’s determination to house Colorado’s digital health ecosystem in Catalyst HTI.
“No longer are we just talking about innovation in healthcare,” he explained. “It is here. And we are forced to embrace it. There are mandates upon us as leaders in this industry.”
Alongside his team of real estate developers, architects, and consultants, Biselli intends to build an environment that will accelerate the digital transformation of the healthcare industry, because, as he told CyberMed News, “Now is the time to change healthcare for our nation.”