Hackensack Meridian Health is the latest hospital system to partner with venture capital firm General Catalyst.

General Catalyst will serve as a “research hub” for Hackensack, a system of 17 hospitals based in Edison, New Jersey, helping guide strategic planning and testing of digital health projects for the nonprofit health system.

Hackensack is General Catalyst’s fifth health system partner. The venture capital firm plans to partner with up to 15 systems.

“They will serve as a think-tank for Hackensack Meridian Health,” said Bob Jarrett, CEO of Hackensack. “They will pressure to test our strategies.”

For example, General Catalyst will test digital system communications for consumers and service providers related to data analytics and artificial intelligence, Garrett said.

Similar to General Catalyst’s engagements with other health systems, the money was not exchanged.

General Catalyst, Daryl Tolle, Head of Health Assurance Ecosystem, said General Catalyst chose Hackensack because of its diverse mix of services and facilities, its leadership, commitment to education and board support for innovation.

“We want to accelerate the transformation of healthcare and believe this has to be done through what we call radical collaboration,” Tolle said in an email. “We want to improve our visibility and understanding of the gaps and needs associated with the transformation.”

Its Health Assurance network consists of healthcare technology companies backed by General Catalyst looking to improve preventative care, reduce costs, and enhance access. Some health systems, including York, Pennsylvania-based WellSpan Health, have partnered with General Catalyst to partly use and learn from them. Garrett said Hackensack is still evaluating this element of the partnership.

General Catalyst has forged strategic partnerships with Nashville-based HCA Healthcare, Philadelphia-based Jefferson Health and Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Health. Dr. Mark Harrison, the former CEO of Intermountain, announced that he will leave Utah’s largest system in August to run an unspecified new health care company to General Catalyst. Dr. Stephen Clascoe, former CEO of Jefferson Corporation, joined General Catalyst in February as a resident executive.

“We want change to spread across healthcare more broadly, but it is a challenging effort and requires deep collaborative work,” Toll said. “We chose to work with a small number — up to 15 systems — so we can focus the work, measure impact, communicate, and start scaling activities with real potential.”

Hackensack is increasingly looking to collaborate with other companies, both within and outside the industry, to counter significant increases in staffing costs and other financial headwinds. The health system recently formed a partnership with Medically Home and will build on its association with Google Cloud.

Medically Home, a Boston-based company that helps prepare technology for hospital programs at home, received a $100 million investment last year from the Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic and Oakland, California-based Kaiser Permanente. Hackensack launched an at-home hospital pilot program in Edison, New Jersey, in February via a Medicare waiver. Garrett said Medically Home will help Hackensack create the infrastructure to expand home hospital care across its system.

Hackensack is also entering the next iteration of its partnership with Google Cloud.

The health system plans to house all of its software, including its electronic health record and enterprise resource planning system, on Google Cloud. Hackensack can leverage Google Cloud to automate and improve the onboarding and offloading process, enhance predictive care, and coordinate virtual nursing care and advanced genetic testing, said Kash Patel, Chief Information Officer and Digital Engagement for Hackensack.

“The vision for the future is to think about interoperability and true transformation as the research world grows and complex areas such as genomic testing become more complex,” he said. “Google Cloud will allow us to seamlessly integrate solutions so we can improve the patient journey.”

Leave a Reply