Next Things First

innovateHealth Agenda has been Posted by Rob Coppedge
April 28, 2009, 4:03 pm
Filed under: innovateHealth, seattle market | Tags: ,

Just a quick FYI that the agenda for the innovateHealth Capital Meets Innovation Summit (May 12 in Seattle) has just been posted. You can find it here…

From what we can tell, the turnout looks incredible – we have health care industry types, entrepreneurs and investors coming from all over the country (and some – it seems – from Europe) to join the conversation and see what’s cooking in the Pacific Northwest’s health care cluster.

You can click through to register for the event on innovateHealth’s blog.

Posted by RobC



Health Innovation in the Northwest … Buzz Is Building by charlottegee
April 14, 2009, 7:34 am
Filed under: innovateHealth, seattle market, start-ups | Tags: , ,

This week, Dave Chase’s Seattle P-I blog, Seattle Startup Buzz, highlighted the health care innovation taking place in the Pacific Northwest:

It’s clear there is an innovation revolution taking place around the health care industry. The need for transformation is huge given the size of the market (16% of GDP and relentlessly growing). I worked in Healthcare I.T. in the 80’s and 90’s and always described it the industry as a paradox. On the one hand, it was at the cutting edge when it came to medical technology but was in the dark ages when it came to information technology. …

The Northwest is quietly staking a claim to leadership in this new innovation economy… and it makes sense. The region is home to some of the most successful software companies on the planet and we also have an extremely vibrant health care ecosystem with significant stakeholders like Swedish, Virgina Mason, Fred Hutch the UW and many others. Combine these elements and what you get is the makings of a first-tier health care innovation environment that will very likely produce the next great companies from the Northwest and could very well become difference makers in the US and even worldwide health care marketplaces.

Recognition of this potential is exactly what spurred Davis Wright Tremaine and a group of health care entrepreneurs to launch innovateHealth…a recently formed organization connecting innovators in the region and creating access inward and outward with potential clients, government leaders, capital resources and more. The folks behind the group are Rob Coppedge of Faultline Ventures, Peter Gelpi of Clarity Health Services, Tobin Arthur of iMedExchange, Joe Whitford and Stuart Campbell both of Davis Wright Tremaine.

We’re thrilled about the building “buzz” around the many innovative health care companies in the area and look forward to more.

More on innovateHealth: innovateHealth // Supporting Health Care Innovators in the Pacific Northwest

Posted by CharlotteGee

Attention Pacific NW Health Care Innovators: innovateHealth Update by charlottegee
March 8, 2009, 11:32 am
Filed under: innovateHealth, innovation, seattle market | Tags:

Here at Next Things First, we’re happy to report that the second innovateHealth* event, held on March 3, was a “standing-room-only” success. The event featured Rebecca Williams, RN, JD, of Davis Wright Tremaine and Michael Burcham, a seasoned health care entrepreneur and instructor at Vanderbilt. (Faultline Ventures, Clarity Health Services and iMedExchange have organized innovateHealth’s inaugural events.)

Topics for this meeting included the implications of the recent stimulus legislation on health care services and technology companies and entrepreneurial opportunities amidst the market chaos.

Read more:

And … Save the Date for the next innovateHealth event: The First Annual Capital Meets Innovation Summit on May 12, 2009

* What is innovateHealth, you ask? Well, it’s a newly formed, fast-growing group of health care services stakeholders from the private and public sector focused on driving innovation in the health care industry and building awareness of the health care services and technology cluster in the Pacific Northwest. innovateHealth both connects our members within in the cluster and connects the region to the larger national and global market.

Posted by CharlotteGee

Limeade Makes Progress on Productivity Measures … by Rob Coppedge
March 2, 2009, 5:41 pm
Filed under: seattle market, start-ups, wellness | Tags: ,

imageprovideraspxFor those who are unlucky enough to go to health care conferences regularly, there are certain old saws that get played again and again: the 80/20 rule, the astronomical growth rates in health care spend, the explosion in the numbers of elderly Americans …

The one I like best is about the significant costs related to productivity-related issues: absenteeism, presenteeism, etc.

I like it best because it has been hard (if not impossible) to baseline these conditions and costs and measure improvement.

The disease management and wellness companies would reference this stuff, but much like quantum physics one had to mix faith with reason to believe in all this unmeasurable dark matter (or to give the DM companies the benefit of any supposed improvements).

So, it is with some excitement that I have followed Limeade‘s work with productivity-related measures. They’ve just released the first findings from their recent study, and they contain some interesting bits:

Companies keep rolling out these Health Risk Assessments (HRA), thinking that they really help predict productivity.  Well, they kinda sorta do.  A little bit.

But as it turns out, there are much, MUCH better predictors out there.  In fact, the health risk factors from our study barely crack the Top 10 predictors of productivity.

What does?  Things like job satisfaction, belief in your company, meaningful work, the ability to manage depression (OK, that counts as a health risk) – even “openness & optimism” – trump more “conventional wisdom” wellness measures like heart health and nutrition.

The Limeade well-being assessment covers work, personal and health factors, and predicts productivity more than ten times better than health risk factors alone, per our recent study of over 9,000 participants.  There is quite a bit of fancy math behind this, which we will find a way to publish soon.

You can find the full posting on Limeade’s blog. I look forward to reading more of their findings – cracking the code on productivity measures (enabling employer action to improve the supposedly sorry state of affairs) will present huge opportunities.

Posted by RobC

Remembering Rick Carlson by Rob Coppedge
February 19, 2009, 9:27 am
Filed under: health policy, seattle market | Tags: , , ,
Rick J. Carlson

Rick J. Carlson

We were shocked to receive the news that our good friend and colleague Rick Carlson passed away last week. He will certainly be missed – as most good friends are – but the impact of losing Rick will run deeper. He was a living reservoir of experiential knowledge of the health care system’s experiment with managed care. He had seen the good and the bad – and was not afraid to point out the ugly, even in his own contributions to the system.

I would often introduce Rick as an architect of the HMO Act and the guy who “named” health maintenance organizations. “I am still living that down,” he’d retort.

Despite his ability to effortlessly list (and list and list) the failings of the current system, he was a close advisor to many of the biggest players in the business. His Rolodex was deep and full of friends – he often counseled me on the importance of actively cultivating and investing in one’s network. He was always early. He always followed up. He said it was because he was Swedish, but I haven’t met any other Swedes like Rick.

He was extremely excited about the changes on the horizon for the health care system – and spoke often of what he called the “Next Health Care Delivery System” where innovation focused on service delivery and treatments were assessed for comparative effectiveness. In the Next System, we would get back to managing the care of patients and use technologies to empower patients with the information they need to take better care of themselves. It was for him the logical extension of what he and his colleagues had attempted to build in the 1970s.

I valued Rick’s professional counsel and was honored when he joined Faultline Venture’s advisory board. He was excited to jump into the activities of the firm – helping communicate the exciting opportunities in the health care market to potential investors and advise early stage companies how to avoid the potholes he had seen. But more than that, he was a wonderful friend. He was one of the first calls I made when we decided to move to Seattle (“Great idea… its the right time”) – and has provided counsel on a range of subjects that he knew well (little local restaurants, great cups of coffee, amazing hiking trails, etc). Rick took an interest in us and we have been so much the better for it.

Many of us will feel the void his loss has left, and not just those who knew him well. It is the loss to the young health care entrepreneur that won’t have the value of Rick’s counsel that worries me most. I’d love to tell him that he was the one that got us into this mess and he has to stick around to help us get out. However, as I survey all the lives he has touched and careers he has influenced and friends who will carry his memory, I believe maybe he’s done just that. Now it is up to us to build the Next Health Care System.


Rick J. Carlson, a renowned health consultant and one of the prime architects of the “Health Maintenance Organization Program” (HMO) died of a heart attack on Friday February 13th. Rick, who lived with his family in Aspen for twenty years had an impressive, illustrious and full career.  Born in 1940 in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Rick went to St. Olaf College and then went on to receive his JD at the University of Minnesota.

In 1968 Rick joined the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies (currently Interstudy of Minneapolis, Minnesota) as a research attorney where he drafted the legislation which initiated the health maintenance organization movement across the country.  Following this work he was invited to be a Visiting Fellow at the “Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions” in Santa Barbara, California and during his 18 month tenure there he published his first book, THE END OF MEDICINE, which was a seminal book in the health field.  His work at the Center on issues pertaining to law and justice led to his writing his second book, THE DILEMMAS OF PUNISHMENT in 1976.

While living in California Rick served as the chairman of the California governor’s Council on Wellness and Physical Fitness and became the first director of the California Trend Report Project.  Over the years Rick worked as a consultant to major institutions in the healthcare industry, such as the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Associations of America, the America Hospital Association, the Health and Human Services Administration, the MacArthur Foundation and others.  In 1978 Rick authored THE FRONTIERS OF SCIENCE AND MEDICINE and in 1985 co-authored with Clement Bezold THE FUTURE OF WORK AND HEALTH.  From 1987 to 1990 he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of NewHealth Centers/PPP Inc which worked in the development and establishment of Primary Prevention Program Centers and state-of-the-art risk assessment systems.  In addition Rick was “Of Counsel” to Epstein, Becker & Green, P.C., a law firm with offices across the U.S..  Rick also served as the President and CEO of HealthMagic, a healthcare technology company headquartered in Denver and was Vice Chairman of Age Wave Health Services located in the San Francisco Bay area.

In 1987 Rick co-authored ISSUES AND TRENDS IN HEALTH with Brooke Newman and in 2002 co-authored with Gary Stimeling THE TERRIBLE GIFT, an assessment of the promises and perils of biotechnology.

In 2001 Rick became Clinical Professor Policy Programs Department of Health Services and Affiliate Professor Department of Pharmacy, School of Public Health at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Rick’s enormous body of work was an impressive accomplishment but his absolute greatest achievement in life was as an extraordinary loving, devoted, wonderful father to his four children Blue (Gyorgy), Joey, Josh and Rebecca, and his step-children Nikos and Samantha Hecht.
He will be dearly missed at the Aspen Ice Garden where he spent many an hour proudly watching Blue and Joey playing hockey.  And, indeed he will be missed by the hundreds of people he deeply influenced and touched personally.

The date for a memorial service will be announced within a few weeks.

Quick Read: Seattle HealthTech Meetup by charlottegee
November 25, 2008, 3:05 pm
Filed under: innovation, seattle market | Tags: ,

The iMedExchange blog recently posted a writeup of the first “Seattle HealthTech Meetup”—featuring none other than Faultline Ventures founder (and Next Things First creator) Rob Coppedge. The event focused on how Seattle can become “a more vibrant and effective hub of healthcare technology … the advantage of Seattle’s entrepreneurial spirit and focus on innovation.” Rob also highlighted the fact that “Seattle is not as risk averse as some other cities currently thought of as healthcare hubs such as Nashville and Louisville.” Fourteen different regional health care companies attended.

Rob will be posting more thoughts on all of this soon. For now, see the post at iMedExchange.

Posted by CharlotteGee

Poker 2.0 and Other Musings by Rob Coppedge
September 18, 2008, 7:34 pm
Filed under: seattle market, venture capital | Tags: ,

After years of working in venture capital in relatively buttoned up markets (NYC and DC), I realized tonight I am in for something different here.

Perhaps it is the game room on our floor or the networking event called Poker2.0 that I was kindly envited to join – but it is sinking in that I am not in Foggy Bottom anymore.