Project Management Institute

Tech funders eye health data

ened focus on productivity, efficiency and better value for healthcare customers,” Ms. Connolly says.


An increasing number of venture capitalists are looking to healthcare data as the next growth market, funding startups with portfolios of potentially innovative projects.

Funding for healthcare technology firms by venture capitalists rose 168 percent by mid-year, compared with the same period in 2013, according to Rock Health. Funding for biotechs, in comparison, rose just 28 percent, according to Reuters. Most of the healthcare data interest is centered around payment management and data analytics.

“The line between what is healthcare and what is technology has become blurred,” Robert Stimpson, lead portfolio manager, Black Oak Emerging Technology Fund, told Reuters.

Apple, for instance, makes up the second largest portion of his tech portfolio. Over the past year, the company has hired several senior medical technology executives to focus on product-development projects involving sensor technology. Devices delivered by these initiatives could be used to monitor the user’s health, including indicators such as blood-sugar levels and sleep quality. —M. Wright

The upgrades promise new efficiencies, but achieving them depends largely on how well the projects are executed and supported by stakeholders. EMR implementations and IT system integration projects can cost millions of U.S. dollars, and the payoff isn’t always clear or immediate. End-to-end integration of EMR systems can increase annual operating costs initially, before generating long-term savings, HRI estimates. “It can take a while to see the benefits,” Ms. Connolly says. “Stakeholders have to know that going in.”

Strong stakeholder support is paramount for the success of these projects, notes Dan Furlong, PMP, project management officer, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), Charleston, South Carolina, USA. Mr. Furlong’s team has spent the last two years replacing MUSC’s old EMR system with a new solution that can seamlessly connect its 80 clinics across the state and four hospitals in Charleston.

The new system promises many efficiencies, including reduced administrative time, fewer errors related to data management and billing, and less paperwork. From a quality-of-care standpoint, it will enable doctors to eliminate repeat tests while ensuring they make decisions based on all of the relevant information in a patient’s medical history.

“Our goal has been ‘one patient, one record,’” Mr. Furlong says. But achieving that goal, and the efficiencies that come with it, hasn’t been easy.


The cost of medical care delivered through private insurance plans is projected to rise
percent in 2015, up from 6.5 percent projected for 2014.

Train or Go Home

At the start of the EMR project, the technology vendor challenged his team to get leaders fully on board before implementation began. Thankfully, says Mr. Furlong, the executive team understood the importance of the EMR upgrade and gave the team the needed support. “The chief medical information officer, CIO and CEO were heavily involved with the project from

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