The launch of new accelerators by CVS, Samsung and others should only add fuel to a growing digital health fire.
Further underscoring the notion that such technologies are going mainstream, CVS Health Corp. has announced plans to launch a digital health incubator focused on "building patient-centric experiences in healthcare."
The CVS Digital Health Innovation Lab will be based in Boston. The company plans to hire about 100 people for the Boston location, and locate them in a 15,000 square foot office sited not far from the bustling Cambridge technology community and the Longwood Medical Area.
According to HIT Consultant, the new lab staff will include developers, product managers, digital strategists and user experience designers.
The Boston lab is just the beginning for CVS. It will be followed by the launch of innovation lab stores in New York City and Menlo Park, CA next year, the company says. These "lab stores" are a unique model which will offer a live environment allowing customers to explore and validate the technology being developed by the CVS team.
Giants back digital health
CVS is just one of several large companies which have thrown their weight behind digital health incubators. For example, Samsung just announced this spring that it would be launching a $50 million digital health initiative designed to bring developers, providers, academics and interested consumers together.
The Samsung initiative, which is intended to encourage starts to use its new open reference design platform, will invest $50 million in digital health startups.
Entrepreneurs will be encouraged to use Samsung's Simband, an open hardware platform in wearable wristband form, as a tool to take advantage of the latest sensors, behavioral algorithms, battery technologies and displays. They'll also work with the tech giant's open software architecture, SAMI (Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions), which will serve as a data broker enabling wearable devices to upload information to the cloud.
Earlier this year, Samsung struck a deal with the University of California San Francisco to create a digital health innovation lab on the university's Mission Bay campus. The center, which was announced in March, launched with more than 50 bioscience startups, 10 venture capital firms and 9 pharmaceutical and biotech companies.
The launch of new accelerators by CVS, Samsung and others should only add fuel to a growing fire. The growth in the emergence of digital health accelerators is having a decided impact on the expansion of this sector, according to research by the California HealthCare Foundation.
Anne Zieger is a veteran journalist who’s been covering the U.S. healthcare scene for over 25 years. She provides “News with a Twist,” combining solid reporting with expert insights and analysis. Her opinions are her own. You can follow Anne on Twitter @annezieger.