Jefferson Embraces Venture Capital Firm’s ‘Health Assurance Network’

Oct. 19, 2021
General Catalyst says it is going beyond just funding companies to thinking about how to build, focus and federate them

Philadelphia-based Jefferson Health has announced the formation of a partnership with venture capital firm General Catalyst to work on the health system’s digital transformation initiatives.

As part of this partnership, Jefferson will tap the newly formed “Health Assurance Network”   a group of tech innovation companies dedicated to delivering the best offering in their respective spaces, and collectively committed to helping healthcare systems transform themselves. 

The partnership will seek to help Jefferson accomplish its strategic priorities: modernizing Jefferson’s technology platform; diversifying revenue streams; and preparing it to lead as more care becomes digital and value-based. 

“This partnership is essential for accelerating the promise of health assurance which aims to evolve the current ‘sick care’ system into a more proactive, preventative and cost-effective approach,” said Stephen Klasko, M.D., M.B.A., president of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health, in a statement. “There is real power in healthcare leaders collaborating with technology innovators. Our partnership with General Catalyst and its companies enables us all to work towards outcomes none of us could achieve on our own: better patient experiences, reduced costs, and expanded access to quality care while solving for the proliferation of siloed, disconnected technology solutions.” 

Klasko recently announced he would retire from his position effective Dec. 31, 2021.

The partners said the deal represents a reimagining of the role of a venture capital firm — going beyond just funding companies to thinking about how to build, focus and federate them. In a statement, General Catalyst Managing Partner Hemant Taneja said: “This is both an amazing opportunity and a great responsibility for our health assurance network companies —including Commure, Tendo, Transcarent and Olive. The Jefferson leadership is embracing innovation as a core strategy for how they deliver health assurance to their communities. This work will become a model for how we have impact at national scale.”

This partnership has been in the works for a while. Klasko and Taneja co-authored Unhealthcare: A Health Assurance Manifesto in 2020, before the global pandemic laid bare the inadequacies and inequities of the current system. In the book, they argue for a shift away from a system of “sick care” to a more proactive, resilient and equitable “health assurance” system designed to help people stay well. 

Jefferson said it also believes this approach solves a big challenge large healthcare systems face: the proliferation of siloed, disconnected technology solutions. Each healthcare system, with its own regional footprint and unique needs, has created its own technology flows and systems. There is no one universal standard or delivery platform. In addition, there are hundreds of technology solutions vying for a piece of the hospital system’s growing technology budget, resulting in further fragmentation. The hope is that the new deal will provide Jefferson an opportunity to minimize technical complexity and reduce fragmentation, but without sacrificing access to sophisticated, state-of-the-art technology.

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