These 10 join five other health systems that have previously announced partnerships with General Catalyst. Those five are Nashville-based HCA Healthcare, Philadelphia-based Jefferson Health, Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Health, York, Pennsylvania-based WellSpan Health and London-based Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
General Catalyst will serve as a “think tank” to these 15 organizations and give them access to companies within its expansive digital health portfolio. Once each organization works directly with General Catalyst, the 15 systems will create an ecosystem and learn from each other, said UHS CEO Marc Miller.
“A lot of people talk about bringing technology to healthcare and working in our space, but nobody's really been able to do it in a large-scale, effective way like I think General Catalyst is suited to do,” said Miller, who added that he has a lot of faith in Hemant Taneja, managing director of General Catalyst.
“I have a track record of working with [Taneja] for the last five years,” Miller said. “I know him personally and I believe that his visions through this partnership will come to fruition rather than it just being a sales pitch from another VC or private equity company.”
No financial terms are attached to these partnerships. Scott Nordlund, chief strategy and growth officer at Banner Health, said his organization doesn’t have to invest in or use any particular portfolio company from General Catalyst.
General Catalyst and Banner “are both betting as partners that we're going to find opportunities where it makes sense to invest together,” Nordlund said. “But there's no target that's given to us that we have to hit.”
Like Miller, Dr. David Lubarsky, CEO of UC Davis Health, said he was impressed by Taneja’s vision on health assurance and creating an integrated ecosystem.
“We believe they have the right philosophy as a partner,” Lubarsky said. “We already use several of their applications. There is probably some information where we can collaborate and co-develop future applications, so they serve not only the basic needs of an organization but an organization as complex as ours.”
The goal from General Catalyst’s perspective is to bring disruption to those health systems, Taneja said in a previous interview. He said that health systems must disrupt their own business model and work together to achieve the goals of health assurance, which include improving preventative care, reducing costs and boosting access.
General Catalyst closed a $670 million fund focused on health assurance in August.
Nordlund said he appreciates having an external partner like General Catalyst to give its perspective on where an integrated health system like Banner could improve efficiencies and the patient experience. He said General Catalyst also can help sift through hundreds of digital health companies that reach out to him.
“They can take this wide-open world of innovative companies and then siphon them down to a manageable group that can apply directly to challenges that we have,” Nordlund said, “It’s a lot more efficient way of approaching innovation.”
Along with health system partnerships, General Catalyst has lured major executives into the company. Dr. Marc Harrison, former CEO of Intermountain, announced he was leaving Utah’s largest system in August to run a new, unspecified healthcare company for General Catalyst. And Dr. Stephen Klasko, former CEO of Jefferson, joined General Catalyst in February as an executive in residence.
Alex Kacik contributed additional reporting to this story