Jefferson Health on Monday announced an innovation partnership with General Catalyst, under which the not-for-profit health system will be able to tap into a set of technology companies to support its digital transformation efforts.
Philadelphia-based Jefferson Health will have access to companies in General Catalyst’s health assurance network, a group that comprises healthcare technology companies that the firm’s invested into. Health assurance describes a move away from so-called “sick care” and toward a healthcare system that provides more proactive and preventive patient care.
Jefferson Health will tap into the network to identify and deploy tools that improve patient experience and virtual care, ease its transition to value-based care, and diversify its revenues steams, among other objectives. That includes integrating tools between the companies and co-developing tools with them, rather than purchasing single products.
“As we co-develop—and in some cases co-invest—[it] really creates a whole different model [for our innovation pillar],” said Dr. Stephen Klasko, Jefferson Health’s CEO and president of Thomas Jefferson University, during a call with reporters Monday.
Klasko last week announced that he would retire at the end of the year.
The partnership builds on previous collaborations between Klasko and Hemant Taneja, General Catalyst’s managing partner. Last year, Klasko and Taneja co-authored a book outlining their vision of health assurance and the need to move toward a system that prioritizes preventive care.
The new partnership is unrelated to Health Assurance Acquisition Corp., a special-purpose acquisition company that Klasko and Taneja formed with former leaders from Livongo last year, according to Taneja.
Jefferson Health is still in the “early stages” of the partnership with General Catalyst and hasn’t nailed down what the financial details of the work will look like, according to Patricia Wellenbach, chair of the health system’s board of trustees. Ideally, technologies and services that come out of this partnership will help to reduce the cost of care.
“We’re exploring all of the financial parameters around it,” she said. “There will be more details to come.”
General Catalyst’s health assurance network includes software companies like Commure, Olive, Tendo and Transcarent. General Catalyst intends to serve in a program management function, helping to bridge companies in the network so that their products can exchange data with one another and become part of an integrated ecosystem, according to Taneja.
Tendo, a digital engagement company, launched with support from Jefferson Health and General Catalyst earlier this year. Jefferson Health works closely with Tendo and calls on the company to help tailor or even create engagement tools for patients and clinicians when it identifies gaps that it needs filled, according to Klasko. That can fuel development of new products that Tendo can sell to other health system customers.
The partnership with Jefferson Health is part of General Catalyst’s effort to reimagine how a venture-capital firm operates with funding companies and helping build them.
“The transformation of healthcare is too big for any one company—it truly is going to take an ecosystem,” Taneja said. “We’re very grateful for the leadership at Jefferson to be partners in—first and foremost—accomplishing that here in Philadelphia, and then having that be a model for the rest of the country.”
General Catalyst was the top digital health investor in 2021’s third quarter, according to data from Digital Health Business & Technology, as it participated in nine funding rounds. The firm has had some big successes as an early investor in Livongo—which has since been acquired by Teladoc Health—and Oscar, as well as an investor in companies like Airbnb, Grammarly, Kayak and Snap and Warby Parker outside of healthcare.