The Andreessen Horowitz Bio + Health fund this week announced a new strategic partnership that aims to give an upstate New York health system access to digital health technologies that can help it address access challenges for its patient population.

WHY IT MATTERS

The partnership aims to advance the patient experience, assure financial sustainability and position Bassett Healthcare for long-term growth.

The health network will leverage healthcare technologies that a16z Bio + Health has backed financially, as well as innovations in enterprise tech, consumer services and other relevant fields. The firm will also work with Bassett Healthcare to identify emerging areas of unmet need in the network that could benefit from technology-enabled solutions.

“Health systems serving rural communities face challenges distinct from those in more densely populated areas, including less access to innovative tools and services that could help us better serve our patients and support our practitioners and care teams,” said Dr. Tommy Ibrahim, MHA, president and CEO of Bassett Healthcare Network in the announcement. 

“Partnering with a16z will significantly improve our access to the most innovative digital health technologies and, more broadly, allow us to together truly understand how rural health systems can implement effective, scalable tech-enabled solutions to improve patient health,” he said.

The a16z Bio + Health portfolio includes teams pursuing solutions that improve the healthcare system regardless of where that care is provided and they are funded from the seed through growth stages. 

“Our mission at a16z Bio + Health is to partner with entrepreneurs dedicated to improving the sustainability of the healthcare ecosystem,” added Julie Yoo, general partner at the firm.

Several collaborations are already underway with automation, clinical artificial intelligence and home health. 

“Rural healthcare systems stand to gain more than perhaps all others in the ongoing transition to the tech-enabled future we are committed to bringing to fruition,” he said.

THE LARGER TREND

Improving rural health is about more than just increasing access to care and is vital for specialties like stroke or cardiology, according to Shayan Vyas, senior vice president and medical director of hospital and health system at Teladoc Health.

“Improving rural health also means improving access to scarcely available specialists and subspecialists that patients may not otherwise be able to see, at least not in a timely manner,” he told Healthcare IT News in a conversation about improving rural care.

The divide in life expectancy between rural Americans, which number upwards of 60 million people, and urban Americans started in the 1990s. That created disparities and health inequities, said Lynn Barr, Caravan Health and Signify Health’s chief innovation officer in a discussion on the future of rural healthcare.

ON THE RECORD

“This partnership with a16z and their portfolio companies opens the door for Bassett to not just better serve our patients but also create a framework and infrastructure that help build healthy rural communities across the country,” said Paul Uhrig, chief legal and digital health officer for Bassett Healthcare Network, in the announcement. 

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Email: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.

 

 

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