Jonathan Bush, the CEO and co-founder of Athenahealth, is a controversial determine within the controversial subject of healthcare.
Greater than 20 years after he began the now-public healthcare firm, Bush misplaced Athenahealth to Elliott Administration, an activist investor that purchased the corporate alongside Veritas Capital. Throughout this tense time frame, domestic violence allegations surfaced from his ex-wife, Sarah Seldon. Bush took accountability for what he described as “regrettable incidents” that occurred 14 years in the past throughout a “notably troublesome private time” in his life. Seldon, who TechCrunch tried to achieve for this story, made a press release then too, explaining that she and Bush have a “co-parenting relationship” with “respect, collaboration and love.”
After these public incidents, Bush went quiet and only later re-emerged as the manager chairman of Firefly Well being, a major care startup.
Now, Bush is again as soon as once more, this time because the co-founder of a brand new startup that goals to re-invent the digital well being information stack. The corporate, Zus, needs to create a shared information platform that medical doctors, no matter specialty or location, can entry to raised perceive their sufferers. Consider it as large, fancy Google Doc constructed for healthcare, that well being tech startups can use to kickstart their options, sooner.
Together with its launch, Zus introduced at the moment that it has raised a $34 million Sequence A led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from F-Prime Capital, Maverick Ventures, Rock Well being, Martin Ventures and Oxeon Investments.
Bush’s venture-backed return to entrepreneurship might come as a shock to some, together with himself.
“I liked operating Athena very a lot, all 22 years,” he mentioned. “However I additionally liked fourth grade, and I don’t need to return. I didn’t really feel like I wished to run an organization once more.” He modified his thoughts for 2 causes: First, he expects that constructing a platform firm might be totally different, and probably much less controversial, than constructing a conventional companies enterprise. Second, he sees “robust calling” to carry his software to life amid a broader digital well being increase.
“These digital well being corporations will largely not work in the event that they aren’t dramatically accelerated,” he mentioned. “All of them now are dealing with this quandary: that it’s very onerous to rent engineers, monumental regulation and complexity, one too many forms of complexity related to constructing applied sciences in drugs.”
With Zus, he’s attempting to create capability. The corporate has quite a lot of plans, which features a rising library of software program instruments round affected person relationship administration, a knowledge aggregation service that helps standardize medical information for sharing functions, a platform that sits atop this info in order that a number of medical doctors can entry the identical info and a affected person portal that lets customers perceive how their information is shared and accessed.
To date, the platform is being utilized by 4 companions: Cityblock Well being, Dorsata, Firefly Well being, which is Bush’s earlier employer, and Oak Road Well being.
A part of the corporate’s existence might be tied to latest regulation progress. The twenty first Century Cures Act gave sufferers the best to entry their medical information, and by subsequent yr, third events can entry that very same information as nicely. Many suppose this newfound information portability may seed a massive new generation of healthcare apps, though there are some considerations about if sufferers know what they’re signing up for.
Mimi Liu, chief know-how officer of Firefly Well being, mentioned in a press release that Zus will assist construct out the components of its infrastructure stack that may be commoditized, bringing its roll-out time from years to weeks and months. She added that its medical worth proposition might be improved due to the “downstream community impact that comes on account of info sharing.”
A16z, which led the spherical, is an investor in Firefly Well being, in addition to a lot of healthcare startups like Unbelievable Well being, Omada, PatientPing and Cedar.
Julie Yoo, basic accomplice at Andreessen Horowitz, mentioned that Zus embodies its digital well being stack thesis, which argues want for “infrastructure platforms that serve the big and quickly rising inhabitants of digital well being corporations, such that every firm not has to construct the identical underlying tech and operations elements time and again, from scratch.”
When requested about Zus’ differentiation, Yoo mentioned that the corporate will create a community-based market for digital well being corporations to arrange and commerce notes, which she thinks has not but existed within the sector.
“If something, one would possibly say that the precursor to this idea was the Extra Disruption Please (MDP) program at Athenahealth, which makes Jonathan Bush uniquely certified to construct this extra fashionable model of mentioned idea,” she mentioned. The MDP program was launched by Bush in 2017 with the aim of filling 200 seats in Athenahealth’s San Francisco workplace with upcoming entrepreneurs in healthcare.
Zus isn’t the primary firm to attempt to begin an AWS for healthcare, and in reality there are quite a few corporations that every one work on the totally different companies that Zus needs to someday personal, from administrative workflow to affected person information retrieval. However, its holistic method at a time when regulation is altering and funding is booming, together with an skilled founder with the best connections, may put together it nicely for what’s to come back.