Winners and judges of the Grand Rounds competition at HealthBeat 2013

If there’s one thing the health care industry needs, it’s technology innovation that’s actually usable for both doctors and patients.

To help identify the next generation of industry-changing innovations, VentureBeat’s HealthBeat conference included a Grand Rounds Innovation Showdown that pitted some of the most promising startups against a panel of expert investor judges.

We received hundreds of nominations, and narrowed the field down to just 10 finalists. Today, those finalists made their pitches onstage at HealthBeat.

We looked at five startups in each of two stages of development: those that have received $3 million or more in Series A or later funding, and those have received $300,000 to $3 million in seed-stage or early Series A funding.

The winners are Beyond Lucid, the maker of a tablet app for emergency medical responders; and Liviam, a social networking tool for people with serious illnesses.

The winners and two of the judges are pictured above. From left: Bob Kocher, a partner at Venrock; Josh Margulies, founder and chief executive of Liviam; Missy Krasner, a partner at Morgenthaler Ventures; and Jonathon Feit, a cofounder of Beyond Lucid.

Series A and above

WINNER: Beyond Lucid Technologies

Beyond Lucid Technologies created a tablet app and device system that serves emergency medical responders when they’re out on the road answering calls. It ties location data to an emergency document for a specific patient, but it won’t connect it to the Internet, so the location data works in any type of weather. It can send patient data within 30 seconds, so doctors aren’t waiting for a piece of paper with the responder’s scribbles about the situation. It’s available for $1,500 per mobile license. Currently, the company has raised $600,000.

Procured Health

Procured Health looks at all the different devices that a hospital may need to buy. The problem with the current way hospitals order the thousands of different pieces of technology they use to keep people alive is that doctors must rely on Google or costly analysis that is difficult to wade through. Procured Health is a software dashboard that pulls in data about all the different medical devices on the market and from there and analyzes them, and it can pull out relevant pieces of information that hospitals can use to make an educated purchase. For example, a doctor could see if a device recently had a bug that was fixed and could use that information to get a discount.

Empower Interactive

Empower Interactive is a software service that provides training on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques via web-based and mobile tools. CBT is an effective tool for improving mental health outcomes, and Empower’s research shows. Its tools are meant to be used in a clinical setting, in combination with talk therapy or other treatments.


Ringadoc is a cloud-based calling service that connects patients directly to a doctor using a “ring-off system.” Jordan Michaels, the company’s chief executive and cofounder, explained that currently, patients calling doctors go through a call center and the calls are often not recorded so that information can go into the patient’s medical record. The way it works is a patient calls the same phone number they’ve always called and record their issue. That message is then sent directly to a the doctor’s app so the doctor can respond via text. The calls are then documented.

Better Doctor

BetterDoctor is a website and mobile app that helps you find a doctor. Ari Tulla, the chief executive of BetterDoctor, explained that 70 million people need to find a new doctor every year. Unfortunately, the process by which people do this is painful. You have to look one up through your insurance company, try to find ratings and any malpractice issues through Google, and then look at their website that often looks like it was built the same year that Snake was.

The app will look at your location and push different doctors around you to your phone. It further refines the search by your insuarnce plan and the specialty you need. The next step for BetterDoctor is to get more doctors on board because without them, the app will fail.

Seed round competitors

WINNER: Liviam

Liviam provides a social network, calendar, and blog for patients — or the loved ones who are helping manage their care — can use to stay in touch with their friends and family. It addresses a trio of pressing needs for people with serious health issues (communication, scheduling, and knowing how to reach out for help), and will be free to patients. To gain usage, the company is partnering with hospitals, including Good Samaritan Hospital and Stanford Hospital, who will benefit from the data about patient care collected by the Liviam system. Rather than waiting for the patients to report their satisfaction levels at the time they fill out an exit survey when being discharged, hospitals can collect data (about things as mundane yet important as “Is your room too cold?”) in real time, helping them improve care before the survey is filled out.

Smart Patients

Smart Patients is a clinical trial search engine and cancer community site where cancer patients can exchange information, find recommendations for oncologists, and search through clinical trials that might be relevant to them. “Patients insisted we build a clinical trial search engine,” Zeiger said. “The goal was to do what Kayak would have done, if they’d done trials instead of travel.”


Clinicast builds risk scores and analysis tools to help health care providers identify the 15 percent of patients who command 70 percent of resources so that the providers can better manage their care. The users are typically case managers — “not the type of individuals who typically ‘lean in’ to advance mathematics,” Challis quipped. The goal is to bring diverse data (from demographics, lab data, and more), use it to identify high-risk patients, match patients with specific interventions that might help them, measure the effectiveness of those interventions, and then provide performance benchmarks to help providers with ongoing evaluations.

Referral MD

Every year, the health care industry spends $250 billion processing 30 billion health care transactions, mostly via paper forms — including a whopping 15 billion faxes. Referral MD proposes an alternative, which is an electronic system for managing referrals from doctor to doctor and making appointments. It plans to sell its service to hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers, who have a big incentive to cut down on all that paperwork and streamline communication.

M-Health Technologies

M-Health Technologies provides a security layer to help hospitals and health care providers increase the security of the applications their doctors and staff use to access information on their phones and tablets. On the smartphone, m-Health provides an RSA token and, optionally, additional biometric tokens (voice recognition, for instance). Using the phone to sign on to a secure app on a tablet. But in addition to sign-on, m-Health also l
ocks down the application if you walk away, because it uses Bluetooth to ensure that you (and your smartphone) are in close proximity to the tablet on which the app is running. Walk away, and it immediately locks down the app, starts ringing an alarm after 30 seconds, calls you (or your IT guy) after 60 seconds, and self-destructs the app if it doesn’t receive a response within 3 minutes.

Photo credit: Michael O’Donnell/VentureBeat