I recently caught up with Brad Huerta, the CEO of a critical care center called Lost Rivers Medical Center in Arco, Idaho. Lost Rivers has 24 beds, but about 14 are typically occupied at any given time. Lost River is a very tiny hospital in the middle of Idaho.
Huerta has a deep knowledge of startups. In the aftermath of the Affordable Care Act, he became to oversee various projects to modernize the technology, including switching to an electronic medical record system. You might think that rural Idaho is about as far as you can get from Silicon Valley, but Huerta keeps abreast of the latest in digital health. That's because he receives outreach emails "almost every day" from startups. In his own words:
"There must be a ton of money in it (digital health). We're being bombarded! There's no shortage of vendors out there."
According to Rock Health, the research and venture fund, an eye-popping $4.5 billion poured into the space in 2015 alone. Many of these startups are competing against each other to target hospitals and health systems — including the very tiny ones.