This story has been updated to clarify some details about the program, including that the data involved will be de-identified.
Payer giant Anthem is teaming up with MassChallenge HealthTech on the inaugural launch of a program called the Fast Track to Scale Accelerator, which is focused on giving a boost to health startups.
Together, the two companies plan to match entrepreneurs from around the world with some of Anthem's corporate clients, who will provide access to de-identified data from consumers in Anthem-affiliated health plans, with an eye toward helping startups achieve exponential scale.
The accelerator will launch in January 2020. Health technology startups have until October 14 to apply to join the program.
Anthem will also participate as a Champion in the 2020 MassChallenge HealthTech program. All startups who receive and accept an offer from the Fast Track to Scale Accelerator will also gain acceptance into the 2020 MassChallenge HealthTech program.
WHAT'S THE IMPACT
According to a joint release from the two entities, the Fast Track to Scale Accelerator model is designed for collaboration, and to address a number of challenges delineated by some of the nation's largest employers.
The challenges the accelerator hopes to tackle include behavioral health; big data/analytics; chronic disease management; diabetes; machine learning/artificial intelligence; musculoskeletal health; patient or member experience; population health management; remote patient monitoring; and telemedicine.
All startups accepted into the accelerator are guaranteed an opportunity to work with with Anthem and its corporate employers. Through these relationships, Anthem said health tech startups will be able to accelerate the path to co-develop and/or validate their solutions. Startups will also have access to de-identified consumer data via Anthem's digital data sandbox.
To be eligible, health tech startups must have less than $10 million in revenue and less than $10 million in funding. The program is also looking for startups that are developing integrative solutions set to make an impact on the payer and patient communities.
THE LARGER TREND
In the MassChallenge program, startups pitch a large group of "champions," which include health systems, insurers, pharma companies and other large companies with a stake in healthcare. In order to join the program, at least one of these champions has to select a company to mentor and, in many cases, to work with as a pilot site or initial customer.
The program, which debuted in 2016, exemplifies the current trend in health tech accelerators by focusing primarily on connecting startups to partners.