Strate­gic move

Johns Hop­kins backs tech­nol­ogy startup Mx.com

Modern Healthcare - - The Week In Healthcare - Paul Barr

Johns Hop­kins Medicine is plac­ing its skill, rep­u­ta­tion and money be­hind a tech­nol­ogy startup that seeks to al­low hos­pi­tals and health sys­tems to sell in­ter­nally de­vel­oped pro­grams and so­lu­tions to other hos­pi­tals or sys­tems seek­ing such ex­per­tise.

The Bal­ti­more-based aca­demic med­i­cal cen­ter and four-hos­pi­tal health sys­tem has agreed to par­tic­i­pate as a seller in the health­care mar­ket­place, MX.com, and as part of that also has be­come a fi­nan­cial in­vestor in the com­pany that runs the en­ter­prise.

Johns Hop­kins of­fi­cials view its re­la­tion­ship with the com­pany as more of a strate­gic op­por­tu­nity than an in­vest­ment, said Mark Shaver, se­nior di­rec­tor of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and strate­gic al­liances. “We re­ally found (MX) to be an im­por­tant op­por­tu­nity that is very re­lated to our mis­sion,” which is cen­tered on re­search, ed­u­ca­tion and pa­tient care, he said.

The gen­eral idea of MX is for hos­pi­tals and health sys­tems to sell their knowl­edge and prac­tices with oth­ers at steep dis­counts to what a hos­pi­tal or sys­tem might pay. MX will as­sist sell­ing in­sti­tu­tions with pack­ag­ing and pric­ing and will gen­er­ally rec­om­mend but not re­quire that prices be set at about a 75% dis­count to the com­mer­cially avail­able price, said Joseph Davis, founder and chair­man of the com­pany.

Shaver said Johns Hop­kins ex­ec­u­tives saw how a role as a strate­gic part­ner with the com­pany made more sense than just sell­ing its pro­to­cols and prac­tices through the site. Johns Hop­kins has a num­ber of con­nec­tions and re­la­tion­ships across the coun­try and the globe in which the sys­tem might be able to as­sist in ex­panded use of the MX ex­change. A hos­pi­tal with which Johns Hop­kins has a re­la­tion­ship in Panama, for ex­am­ple, might have a skill or a so­lu­tion that it could sell to other Latin Amer­ica fa­cil­i­ties, and Johns Hop­kins as a strate­gic part­ner might be able to aid in that process, he said.

An ear­lier health­care in­vestor in the com­pany, Ad­ven­tist Health Sys­tem, Win­ter Park, Fla., also was im­pressed with the con­cept. “I think it’s an in­ter­est­ing strat­egy,” said Richard Reiner, an ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent for the 29-hos­pi­tal sys­tem.

“Com­pa­nies are go­ing to have to fig­ure out how to get ac­cess to good ideas,” he said, and through MX, “I think the whole in­dus­try can save money.”

Davis de­clined to say how much busi­ness has been trans­acted on the site, which launched in July, but said a to­tal of roughly $7.5 mil­lion has been in­vested in the com­pany.

Johns Hop­kins as a mat­ter of pol­icy does not dis­close the value of its in­vest­ment, but Shaver made an ex­cep­tion to say that no ex­ec­u­tives are per­sonal in­vestors in MX.

Sim­i­larly, Reiner said it would be against sys­tem pol­icy for an ex­ec­u­tive to in­vest per­son­ally in the com­pany, but did say Ad­ven­tist in­vest­ment was rel­a­tively small, a few hun­dred thou­sand dol­lars.

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