Arkansas hospitals back healthcare startup accelerator program to begin in June

by Wesley Brown (wesbrocomm@gmail.com) 428 views 

A group of Arkansas hospitals announced on Friday (Feb. 8) they are working together to expand a state-supported, startup accelerator program that connects early-stage companies with Arkansas healthcare providers to bring new “disruptive technologies” into the marketplace.

Arkansas Heart Hospital, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Washington Regional Medical Center, Arkansas Urology, Mercy, and CHI St. Vincent all announced they are collaborating to extend and expand HealthTech Arkansas, the next iteration of two previous accelerator programs, Health InnovatAR and HubX—LifeSciences.

According to the hospital backers, the 2019 cohort program will involve more partners and increased investment from the participating companies.

HealthTech will continue to be directed by Jeff Stinson, who has managed the previous two healthcare accelerators. He is also the executive director of the Fund for Arkansas’ Future, which is the state’s largest angel investment fund.

“The guaranteed opportunity to conduct pilot projects with healthcare providers is what truly sets our program apart from other accelerators,” said Stinson. “Provider access for early stage companies is the most important thing you can do for their success. Through these pilot projects, our cohort companies get a direct connection to hospitals and physicians that give them the opportunity to demonstrate value with their technologies and products.”

Dr. Richard Turnage, CEO of UAMS Medical Center, added that the program’s impact on healthcare providers is also beneficial. “UAMS has a mission to educate tomorrow’s healthcare professionals and provide high-quality, innovative care,” he said. “We are excited to continue our partnership with HealthTech Arkansas, giving our patients access to new, innovative technologies, and inspiring our employees to be more innovative every day.”

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission awarded HealthTech Arkansas $250,000 for the healthcare accelerator through a program designed to increase acceleration activities in targeted industries in the state.

Applications for the HealthTech Arkansas cohort are now open, and the participants will be selected by June 30, 2019. The program is seeking companies in three categories, including digital health and software, connected medical devices, and diagnostic platforms.

Each company will receive $75,000 of investment capital and is guaranteed two pilot projects with Arkansas healthcare providers.

More information, including an online application, can be found at www.HealthTechArkansas.com.

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