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YNHHS Center for Health Care Innovation hosts first HealthTech Forum


The HealthTech Forum included a pitch competition in which area innovators presented their ideas. From left are Peter Schulam, MD, YNHHS chief innovation and transformation officer; Marna Borgstrom, YNHHS CEO; Tom Balcezak, MD, YNHHS chief medical officer; and Jon Soderstrom, Yale Office of Cooperative Research managing director, with pitch competition winners CorMobi (Hyung Chun); autoupdatER (Rohit Sangal, MD, David Chen and Gus Roman); and Multi-Alarm Viewer (John Humphrys, RN).

The Center for Health Care Innovation held its first HealthTech Forum Nov. 5, drawing innovators, clinicians, researchers, faculty and students from across Yale New Haven Health System, Yale University and the broader Connecticut innovation community.

The event, held at the Yale School of Management, also marked the official launch of the Center for Health Care Innovation (CHI), a joint initiative between Yale New Haven Health and Yale University. Peter Schulam, MD, YNHHS chief innovation and transformation officer, and Lisa Stump, senior vice president and chief information officer, YNHHS and Yale School of Medicine, introduced the CHI, its mission and their vision for innovation.

The HealthTech Forum led the audience on an innovation journey, showcasing health systems that have successfully built innovation cultures; entrepreneurs who have taken the first steps; and practical approaches to promote an innovative mindset to improve all aspects of health care.

“The best place to start innovating is with empathy, and understanding the problem that needs to be solved,” said Rebecca Stametz, associate vice president of Product Innovation, Geisinger Health System. “Innovation is about pushing meaning, not tech. To do this, you have to talk to humans. A lot.”

Cristina Ripperger, partner and global head of health with ?WhatIf! Innovation, led a design-thinking session, which was followed by a conversation between Onyeka Obiocha, managing director of Yale University’s Tsai Center for Innovating Thinking, and Maxwell Laurans, MD, Yale New Haven Hospital executive director and chief of Perioperative Services. Dr. Laurans discussed how he created a health-tech company, Nomad Health.

The program included two panel discussions. A healthcare entrepreneur panel moderated by Amy Stevens, AVIA, featured Kate Wolin, ScD, Coeus Health; Jen Horonjeff, PhD, Savvy Cooperative; Alexei Mlodinow, Surgical Innovation Associates; and Jeremy Friese, MD, Verata Health. Topics included taking first steps to start a venture, transitioning from academia, firsthand experience as a patient and clinical practice.

An investor panel, moderated by Sean Day, Rock Health, focused on the state of healthcare startup investing. Panelists were Tripp Peake, LRV Health; Rob Bettigole, Elm Street Ventures; Matt Storeygard, Connecticut Innovations; and Vesela Bikova-Sam, Cigna Ventures.

The forum culminated in a pitch competition, with five finalists presenting their health innovations to compete for a top prize of $5,000. The winner was CorMobi – a wearable technology for outpatient heart failure management; second prize went to Multi-Alarm Viewer, a novel solution for alarm management and alarm fatigue reduction. The audience award went to AutopdatER, which provides patients with a visual tracker of their care delivery process.