HealthShare Exchange (HSX) has received an innovation and entrepreneurship-based economic development grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) that will jumpstart new healthcare-data-related economic activity in the Philadelphia region. i6 Challenge funding is part of the EDA’s Regional Innovations Strategies Program, a catalytic national program focused on regional economic capacity building. The grant will help HSX’s MarketStreet platform facilitate data transfer to companies and entrepreneurs to drive new products and services meant to improve health and healthcare.
As the nonprofit health information exchange (HIE) for Greater Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley (including southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey), HSX maintains a vast clinical data repository that grows daily. In its role as a regional aggregator of patient records, HSX serves as a resource for entities that want to rapidly build or improve their health-data-based offerings to consumers and healthcare organizations. The i6 Challenge grant, officially announced in December 2018, enables HSX to increase its support for more business developers.
With a grant of $750,000, HSX achieved the maximum amount available in this funding stream, which is referred to as a challenge award in part because it is based on matching funds from recipient sources. HSX’s board of trustees approved a match of this amount from HSX’s own development budget, to provide HSX MarketStreet a firm foundation for facilitating innovation.
“HSX MarketStreet is a new community benefit that builds on the value of our HIE and offers HSX a longer-term financial stability model,” says Martin Lupinetti, President of HSX. “This $1.5M in funding over three years comes with workforce development goals for our region.”
The award builds capacity to translate innovations into jobs through proof-of-concept and commercialization assistance. HSX will report semi-annually for three years on:
- number of entrepreneurs/start-ups participating in the program (goal: to create or grow 50 or more new digital-health companies)
- investment capital raised
- jobs created or retained (goal: add 150 new jobs)
- new product launches
HSX will hold outreach events that may include workshops, boot camps, training sessions, entrepreneurial education training, meet-ups, networking, or demo days –– in some cases in cooperation with the regional chapters of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) –– to create awareness of, and promote, the HSX MarketStreet platform and facilitate introductions between HSX MarketStreet companies and the region’s healthcare stakeholders. Programs will include:
- the HSX MarketStreet DataLine program
- the HSX MarketStreet Hackathon Series (HAX events)
- Philadelphia Health IT (PHIT) Circle event sponsorship
- and a digital health job fair.
HSX will collaborate with Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia and with partner academic institutions (Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, La Salle University, and Thomas Jefferson University) to incorporate the HSX MarketStreet platform into curricula, in order to encourage use of the HSX MarketStreet Sandbox API (application program interface) and related creative development, and to encourage participation in HAX events.
HSX MarketStreet overcomes connectivity and operability barriers for data-based healthcare innovations by providing connectivity to an established clinical-data infrastructure. Innovators get real and virtual workspace in which to test solutions.
Decreasing technological barriers, HSX MarketStreet drives the transition from proof-of concept to commercialization through market evaluation, business planning, and technology testing. The grant will help with enhancements to the platform’s technological infrastructure and with with resources for mentoring, to support a diverse set of companies and solutions.
The EDA’s regional innovation program seeks to create and expand cluster-focused entrepreneurship and technology transfer programs, including with early-stage seed funding. In its sixth year now, the Regional Innovation Strategies Program has supported thousands of entrepreneurs by enabling intermediaries such as HSX, and created thousands of jobs (at a cost of about $4,000 in federal and matching dollars per job) and supported hundreds of patent and product launches. Entrepreneurs and businesses participating in the supported programs have received over $1B in follow-on loans, grants, and private equity funds.
As a trusted community asset in this space, HSX is adept at aligning community, public, corporate, university, nonprofit, industry, and philanthropic organizations. Now in the i6 grant’s first six months of funding and reporting, HSX MarketStreet is already expanding its coaching and technical-assistance role.
About the i6 Challenge
Across the country, regions and communities are helping entrepreneurs overcome challenging barriers to help build new companies and create jobs through the efforts of universities, community colleges, National Labs, state and local governments, incubators, and various other organizations. The i6 Challenge helps drive these efforts by supporting the creation and expansion of programs that increase the rate at which innovations, ideas, intellectual property, and research are translated into products, services, viable companies, and, ultimately, jobs. The grant program name derives from a goal of promoting “i”nnovation in the “six” geographic regions in which EDA offices serve the U.S.