The organization, launched in Chicago in January 2012, is switching its model in that it will still accept business startups but also will allow more established companies.
“Traditionally, we've given $50,000 to each of the companies coming in,” said Abbie Ginther, communications manager for Healthbox, which opened its doors in January 2012 and has conducted consulting classes six times before, its inaugural session in Chicago, two in Boston, and one each in London (England), Jacksonville and Nashville.
“With this new model, it's going to vary more,” Ginther said of the funding. “We don't have a set range.”
How the money is spent is “really up to the companies. It's given to help them grow in any way they need,” Ginther said.
Healthbox founder and CEO Nina Nashif said there may be a couple dozen IT incubators operating in the healthcare industry across the country today, all of which got started within the past two years.
“The tech accelerator model has been around for 10 years or so, and the incubator model long before that,” Nashif said. Those efforts in other industries have tended to focus on job growth and economic development, but the healthcare IT accelerator concept is different, she said.
“It's not about putting forward more companies to get them invested,” Nashif said. “The industry is going through a trend where every board is saying, what is your innovation strategy?”
Healthbox helps match innovative entrepreneurs with established healthcare organizations that have real problems in search of solutions.
“It's not just about the discovery, it's about the implementation of these solutions,” she said.
Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn