CHI Franciscan pitches itself to technology entrepreneurs

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CHI Franciscan Health, with eight hospitals and more than 100 clinics serving the greater Tacoma region of Washington, has plenty of challenges in the new healthcare environment spawned by the Affordable Care Act, and it is looking for start-up companies to help develop new technologies.

CHI Franciscan, along with regional business incubator Cambia Grove and consultancy Elevar Labs, hosted a “Reverse Pitch Day” on January 20, explaining to about 250 entrepreneurs the challenges the organization faces and seeking solutions that could be developed and tested in CHI-funded pilot programs. Several other regional providers were invited to attend to aid them in developing their own strategies for meeting challenges.

Two big challenges include increased efficiency of surgical schedules by helping surgeons better determine how long a procedure will take, and a range of changing healthcare consumer expectations, says Thomas Kruse, chief strategy, integration and innovation officer at CHI Franciscan.

Most of the entrepreneurs “weren’t the folks who have business cards yet; they were garage guys,” Kruse says. But that’s who the system wants—smart people with an idea and maybe a budding product.

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