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

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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

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.



Why Seattle? A few thoughts on the Health Care Technology Network… by Rob Coppedge

A few weeks ago, my colleagues at iMedExchange hosted the first meeting of the Health Care Technology Network. It was a remarkable event, especially considering that given the local density of health care-oriented start-ups this was the first time we had all had the excuse to be at the same table.

I was asked to speak about why I chose to move to Seattle to set up Faultline Ventures (if you are inteersted in reading more about the event and my comments, iMedExchange blogs about the event here).

Despite the crticial mass of resources in this region (human capital, entrepreneurial culture, academia, innovative payor and provider organizations, etc), there was broad agreement that it is difficult (if not impossible) to raise venture capital for health care companies locally.  One of the most interesting comments of the evening came from the CEO of an early stage company that is actively raising money and has intentionally positioned itself in the software as a service industry (not health care) with potential investors… because there are more of them.

The sheer number of innovative early stage health care companies in the region should be enough to draw outside capital to the region (it is why we moved here)…and I believe capital it is the last key ingredient needed for this regional cluster to see explosive growth… but with the lack of new investment activity by exisiting funds it is unclear that the venture market will (or can) respond to the opportunity.

If the Health Care Technology Network catches on as a formal group for regular networking (and potentially the promotion of the opportunities in this cluster) it could help the cause of attracting capital. It could certainly provide an platform for raising awareness of companies operating in this region. The most successful organization of this type, the Nashville Health Care Council, has succeeded in bringing cohesion and a professional framework to the Nashville market place.

As someone said at the first  meeting of the Network: “Seattle is a brand”. Now, for those of us in the health care business,  we need to make sure we agree on what that brand is conveying to our industry and begin turning up the volume.

(By the way, visit some of the very interesting companies in attendance at the first meeting of the Network:  iMedExchange, Array Health Solutions, Clarity Health Services, Health Phone Solutions, Health Unity, Limeade, QTrait, Raffetto Herman and SnapForSeniors.)
Posted by RobC



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