Former Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush returns to entrepreneurship with new startup – TechCrunch


Jonathan Bush, the CEO and co-founder of Athenahealth, is a controversial determine within the controversial area of healthcare.

Over twenty years after he began the now-public healthcare firm, Bush misplaced Athenahealth to Elliott Management, an activist investor that purchased the corporate alongside Veritas Capital. During this tense time frame, domestic violence allegations surfaced from his ex-wife, Sarah Seldon. Bush took accountability for what he described as “regrettable incidents” that occurred 14 years in the past throughout a “particularly difficult personal time” in his life. Seldon, who TechCrunch tried to attain for this story, made an announcement then too, explaining that she and him have a “co-parenting relationship” with “respect, collaboration and love.”

After these public incidents, Bush went quiet and only later re-emerged as the manager chairman of Firefly Health, a major care startup.

Now, Bush is again as soon as once more, this time because the co-founder of a new startup that goals to re-invent the digital health knowledge stack, Zus. The firm desires to create a shared knowledge platform that physician’s, no matter specialty or location, can entry to higher perceive their sufferers. Think of it as huge, fancy Google Doc constructed for healthcare, that healthtech startups can use to kickstart their options, sooner.

Along with its launch, Zus introduced at the moment that it has raised a $34 million Series A led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from F-Prime Capital, Maverick Ventures, Rock Health, Martin Ventures and Oxeon Investments.

Bush’s venture-backed return to entrepreneurship might come as a shock to some, together with himself.

“I loved running Athena very much, all 22 years,” he mentioned. “But I also loved fourth grade, and I don’t want to go back. I didn’t feel like I wanted to run a company again.” He modified his thoughts for 2 causes: first, he expects that constructing a platform firm will probably be totally different, and doubtlessly much less controversial, than constructing a conventional providers business. Second, he sees “strong calling” to carry his software to life amid a broader digital health increase.

“These digital health companies will largely not work, if they aren’t dramatically accelerated,” he mentioned. “All of them now are facing this quandary: that it’s very hard to hire engineers, enormous regulation and complexity, one too many types of complexity associated with building technologies in medicine.”

With Zus, he’s making an attempt to create capability. The firm has numerous plans, which features a rising library of software program instruments round affected person relationship administration, a knowledge aggregation service that helps standardize medical information for sharing functions, a platform that sits atop this info in order that a number of docs can entry the identical info, and a affected person portal that lets customers perceive how their knowledge is shared and accessed.

So far, the platform is being utilized by 4 companions: Cityblock Health, Dorsata, Firefly Health, which is Bush’s earlier employer, and Oak Street Health.

Part of the corporate’s existence might be tied to current regulation progress. The 21st Century Cures Act gave sufferers the fitting to entry their medical information, and by subsequent 12 months, third events can entry that very same knowledge as effectively. Many suppose this newfound knowledge portability might seed a massive new generation of healthcare apps, though there are some issues about if sufferers know what they’re signing up for.

Mimi Liu, chief technology officer of Firefly Health, mentioned in an announcement that Zus will assist construct out the elements of its infrastructure stack that may be commoditized, bringing its roll-out time from years to weeks and months. She added that its scientific worth proposition will probably be improved due to the “downstream network effect that comes as a result of information sharing.
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A16z, who led the spherical, is an investor in Firefly Health, in addition to quite a few healthcare startups like Incredible Health, Omada, PatientPing, and Cedar.

Julie Yoo, common associate at Andreessen Horowitz, mentioned that Zus embodies its digital health stack thesis, which argues want for “infrastructure platforms that serve the large and rapidly growing population of digital health companies, such that each company no longer has to build the same underlying tech and operations components over and over again, from scratch.”

When requested about Zus’ differentiation, Yoo mentioned that the corporate will create a community-based market for digital health corporations to arrange and commerce notes, which she thinks has not but existed within the sector.

“If anything, one might say that the precursor to this concept was the More Disruption Please (MDP) program at athenahealth, which makes Jonathan Bush uniquely qualified to build this more modern version of said concept,” she mentioned. The MDP program was launched by Bush in 2017 with the aim of filling 200 seats within the Athenahealth’s San Francisco workplace with upccoming entreprepreneurs in healthcare.

Zus isn’t the primary firm to strive to begin an AWS for healthcare, and in reality there are quite a few corporations that every one work on the totally different providers that Zus desires to at some point personal, from administrative workflow to affected person knowledge retrieval. But, its holistic strategy at a time when regulation is altering and funding is booming, alongside with an skilled founder with the fitting connections, might put together it effectively for what’s to come.



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