Georgia Tech creating haven for health tech entrepreneurs

Georgia Tech’s startup incubator is targeting health technology entrepreneurs, thanks to a contribution from a Blue Cross-owned health IT company.

Atlanta-based NASCO, which is owned by several Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, is donating funding for Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) for its HealthTech initiative.

That program, which will formally launch next month, is helping build companies working on the issues of population health, caregiver support, billing fraud, precision medicine, genomics, medical devices, diagnostics, data analytics, and process improvements in drug research.

The HealthTech program is the third of its kind at ATDC and follows other gifts used for initiatives in the financial and retail technology sectors.

“NASCO views this partnership with the ATDC and the launch of the HealthTech initiative as critical to our mission to deliver innovative health services and to support the Georgia health care and technology communities,” David Weeks, NASCO’s chief technology officer, said in a statement. “Health care is a highly interconnected ecosystem, and new technologies are helping us to both reduce customer friction and improve health outcomes. The HealthTech vertical will be a key incubator of new ideas to enable these changes.”

Added Kirk Barnes of ATDC HealthTech, who spearheaded the development of this initiative: “Health care systems across the U.S. as well as the patients in their care continue to explore ways to leverage innovation and technology to reduce costs, improve patient satisfaction, eliminate waste, increase access, and improve outcomes.

“We are extremely excited about the partnership with NASCO. The company embraces innovation and technology to improve the way that health care is delivered.”

The NASCO partnership will help the Georgia economy by helping entrepreneurs launch viable companies in the state, said ATDC Interim Director Jane McCracken.

Metro Atlanta is a leading hub for health IT companies, and is the home of many major health care organizations, including the CDC.

NASCO provides information technology products and services — benefit management, eligibility, membership, billing and claims processing support — for Blue Cross plans. It’s owned by Blue Cross plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, the state’s largest health insurer.