Startup library: Digital health and innovation overview 2017

Healthcare IT is the application of digital information technologies in a healthcare setting, whether for use by consumers (patients), healthcare system administrators or healthcare practitioners (e.g., doctors, nurses). Technologies in this market are broad―examples include smartphone apps on wellness or disease management, electronic medical records, and payroll and scheduling software.
For additional information related to healthcare, please see our Startup Library section on life sciences/healthcare.
This page consists of the following sections:

I. Business of Digital Health and Innovation

II. Digital Health Trends

III. Digital Health Statistics

IV. Tracking Latest Developments in Digital Health and Innovation

The Healthcare General page of the Startup Library recommends the best of publicly available information on the overall healthcare ecosystem―including healthcare spending and hospital and doctor statistics.

The Life Sciences General page of the Startup Library lists resources that cover the major segments of the life sciences, such as pharmaceuticals, biomedical technologies and medical devices.

I. Business of digital health and innovation

These links point to funding and mentoring resources specifically for digital health startups looking to move strategies forward in this innovation space.

Digital health accelerators and incubators

These health-focused programs are based in the United States or Europe and accept international applicants. Be sure to also check out our general listing of Accelerators and incubators.

Blueprint Health: This accelerator runs a three-month program in New York. Startups receive $20,000, office space and mentorship.

Healthbox: Healthbox’s Studio is a five-day program based in Chicago that focuses on collaboration and relationship building with peers, industry leaders, investors and organizations. Ten startups are selected to participate free of charge.

New York Digital Health Accelerator: This program is run by the New York eHealth Collaborative and the Partnership Fund for New York City for growth-stage digital health companies. It focuses on solutions for care coordination, patient engagement, behavioural health tech, population health and telemedicine. The accelerator will take warrants for 1% of the fully diluted equity of the startup, with a fair market-value exercise price. It also provides mentorship from high-level executives and its investor syndicate, in addition to pilot opportunities.

StartUp Health: StartUp Health sets itself apart from traditional accelerators or incubators by providing frequent (weekly and quarterly) long-term mentorship in exchange for equity. StartUp Health also has a number of accelerators worldwide (StartUp Colorado, StartUp Finland) and in partnership with health organizations (StartUp GE, StartUp Aurora), each with its own criteria and benefits for participants.

Digital health funding

Be sure to also check out our Funding your startup page for general funding information.

AngelList: Search for Angel investors interested in funding health ventures.

2016 Year End Funding Report (Rock Health): This 2016 report by Rock Health provides an overview of digital health deals, highlights key categories and identifies the most active investors. It is updated regularly throughout the year.

2016 Digital Health Funding Rankings (StartUp Health): This report presents a clear overview of the funding landscape in digital health in 2016.

Story of Digital Health: On his website, Paul Sonnier, management consultant and founder of the 50,000-plus-member Digital Health group on LinkedIn, curates a collection of links to funding data, digital health–focused VCs (sorted by activity), challenges and prizes, grants and more.

II. Digital health trends

The following resources are great starting points for familiarizing yourself with the healthcare IT ecosystem and staying current with the latest updates and innovations in the space.



Canada Health Infoway: Created by the provincial and federal governments, this not-for-profit organization makes strategic investment decisions in healthcare providers for the purpose of digital technology adoption and publishes trend reports. Reports such as Connecting Patients

for Better Health (2016) explore Canadian perspectives on digital health, including level of awareness, understanding and perception of benefits, as well as current access and use.

Canadian Healthcare Technology: This industry publication is aimed at healthcare executives and managers. Free highlights are available for current issues, and full PDF versions are available for past issues.

Transforming Health Market Insight Series: These reports, published by MaRS Market Intelligence, highlight the changes occurring in the Canadian healthcare system and the five major shifts driving this transformation. This series features local thought leaders and Ontario startups operating in the healthcare sector.

Digital Health in Canada—Exploratory Analysis of Canada’s Domestic Health ICT Sector (ICTC, 2015) (PDF): Published by the Information and Communications Technology Council and funded by Canada Health Infoway, this study profiles Canada’s current domestic health ICT sector.

United States

HIMSS Foundation: The HIMSS Foundation works on bringing health consumers and other stakeholders together to advance e-health. It publishes useful reports on the status of the industry.

Rock Health: This digital health venture fund publishes a number of healthcare IT trend reports that are useful starting points for a variety of topics, including funding, diversity and special issues.

A Vision for Using Digital Health Technologies to Empower Consumers and Transform the U.S. Health Care System (Commonwealth Fund, 2014) (PDF): This report describes efforts to use digital technologies to redesign care models around the common needs of discrete patient populations.


The Digital Healthcare Leap (PwC, 2016): This report provides insights into how digital health can help emerging markets provide quality, affordable, universal and patient-centric care.

Healthcare: A Digital Divide? (PwC, 2015) (PDF): This healthcare study surveyed 68 funder (payer) and provider executives in 21 countries, and found profound differences in the ways they approach, use and understand digital.

WHO Global Observatory for eHealth: The WHO passed a resolution in 2005 to increase investment in, and promotion and advancement of e-health, and significantly contribute to the improvement of health through the use of ICT. In alignment with this resolution, the WHO regularly reports on e-health progress worldwide, including its Global Diffusion of eHealth: Making Universal Health Coverage Achievable report and Atlas of eHealth Country Profiles 2015.

From Innovation to Implementation—eHealth in WHO European Region (WHO, 2016): This report on the status of e-health in the WHO European region examines the results of the 2015 WHO global survey on eHealth and provides insights on how it is being used, major areas of development, perceived barriers to adoption and potential areas of growth.

mHealthKnowledge: The site maintains a collection of tools and guides for the planning and implementation of m-health initiatives in the developing world.

Digital Health Vision (Accenture, 2016): This series of webcasts examines the five digital trends disrupting healthcare.

Connected Health: How Digital Technology Is Transforming Health and Social Care (Deloitte, 2015): This report analyzes opportunities and barriers to the adoption of technology-enabled care, based on extensive literature reviews and discussions with stakeholders, commissioners, providers and technology companies.

European Citizens’ Digital Health Literacy (European Commission, 2014): This report assesses the extent to which Europeans use the Internet and online resources to help manage their own health.

III. Digital health statistics


Institute for Clinical and Evaluative Sciences (ICES): As an independent, non-profit organization, ICES conducts research to help policy-makers, managers, planners, practitioners and other researchers to shape the future direction of the Ontario healthcare system. This includes publishing information relevant to healthcare entrepreneurs on a broad range of topics including population health, health system performance and chronic diseases.

Check out their publications including A $4.9 Billion Decrease in Health Care Expenditure: The Ten-Year Impact of Improving Smoking, Alcohol, Diet and Physical Activity in Ontario.

Wellbeing Toronto (City of Toronto): Wellbeing Toronto is a web-based measurement and visualization tool that helps evaluate community well-being across Toronto’s 140 neighbourhoods. This tool supports decision-making and seeks to engage citizens and businesses in understanding the challenges and opportunities of creating and maintaining healthy neighbourhoods.


Statistics Canada: Health: Statistics Canada’s health data covers a wide range of areas, including:

  • the health of the population
  • lifestyle and environmental factors affecting health, access to and the use of healthcare services
  • research into various health topics

Key publications from Statistics Canada include:

  • Canada Year Book (2012): This yearbook contains a section on health statistics, including general health and wellness indicators.
  • Health Reports: This monthly journal publishes population health and health services research.

Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI): CIHI collects, analyzes and publishes data and information so that stakeholders can make decisions that support and advance the health of Canadians.

  • Health Indicators: This series of annual reports contains a compilation of selected indicators that measure health status, non-medical determinants of health, health system performance, and community and health system characteristics.

Public Health Agency of Canada: This is the main federal agency responsible for public health in Canada. As part of its mandate, the agency conducts surveillance and publishes reports on infectious diseases, chronic diseases and health conditions.
Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (Canada): The CPCSSN is a primary-care research initiative that collects health information from electronic medical records in the offices of participating primary-care providers (for example, family physicians).
Institut de la statistique Québec: Santé et bien-être (Quebec): The Institute aggregates data and publishes reports on health and well-being using information collected through its own studies and the analysis of Statistics Canada data.
Manitoba Population Research Data Repository (Manitoba): This is a comprehensive collection of administrative, registry, survey and other data primarily relating to residents of Manitoba.

Specific diseases or health conditions: key reports

These reports present Canadian statistics for specific diseases or health conditions.
Surveillance (Public Health Agency of Canada): These resources produced by the Public Health Agency of Canada provide data related to infectious diseases and health conditions.
Stroke in Canada (2016): This is a compilation of Canadian statistics relating to heart disease and stroke.
Canadian Cancer Statistics (Canadian Cancer Society): This annual publication provides detailed information on incidence, mortality and other measures of the burden of cancer for the most common types of cancer by age, gender, year and province or territory.
Mental Illnesses (Public Health Agency of Canada/PHAC): The PHAC generates reports using data from the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System, including Mood and Anxiety Disorders in Canada (2016) and Mental Illness in Canada (2015).

United States

In the US, there are over 40 organizations that collect health data from patients and healthcare facilities. Most are state-specific, and a complete listing (by state) is available through the National Association of Health Data Organizations (NAHDO). The NAHDO also publishes periodic reports on popular trends in health data.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): The CDC is the United States’ public health agency, whose mandate includes creating the expertise, collecting the information and building the tools that people and communities need to maintain their health.
The CDC offers many publications as well as data and statistics organized by topic. Further resources and key publications include:

  • CDC Surveillance Resource Center – Interactive Database Systems: These interactive database systems contain continuously updated data and provide data reports on topics including infectious diseases, injuries and more.
  • National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS): NCHS is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is America’s main health statistics agency.
  • FastStats: Statistics by Topic: This A-Z index provides quick access to statistics on topics related to public health. Key statistics are provided for each topic as well as references to source material and related pages.
  • Health, United States (2015): This annual report presents national trends in health statistics such as birth and death rates, infant mortality, life expectancy, morbidity and health status, risk factors and use of ambulatory and in-patient care. is maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services, the United States government’s principal agency for protecting the health of Americans. This site is dedicated to making health data more accessible to entrepreneurs, researchers and policy-makers in the hopes of better health outcomes.


World Health Organization (WHO): WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. Check out the various health topics they cover:

WHO Global Health Observatory: This data repository provides access to over 50 datasets on priority health topics, including:

  • mortality and the burden of diseases
  • non-communicable diseases and risk factors
  • epidemic-prone diseases
  • health systems
  • environmental health
  • violence and injuries

World Health Statistics: This is the WHO’s annual compilation of health-related data for its Member States.

World cancer factsheet (International Agency for Research on Cancer, WHO, 2014) (PDF): This data tool allows you to work with global cancer statistics current to 2012.

IV. Tracking latest developments in digital health and innovation

These websites and events will help keep entrepreneurs up-to-date with the latest developments and innovations in digital health.

Digital health news and blogs

MaRS Pressly—Health: This is a collection of the latest health innovation content in Canada and around the world, curated by MaRS.

Digital for Health: Written by Martin Sumner-Smith, this blog reflects Martin’s unique perspectives and experiences in biotechnology, bioinformatics and enterprise software.

Healthcare IT News: Healthcare IT News is available free of charge and covers major reports on healthcare IT topics.

iMedicalApps: Written by a team of physicians and medical students, this publication provides commentary and reviews of mobile medical technology and apps.

MobiHealthNews: This company delivers news related to mobile health. They also publish reports, including quarterly assessments of the state of the mobile health industry.

Rock Health Research: This is an excellent resource from a trusted source. They publish research on the trends shaping the future of healthcare.

Xconomy Healthtech: Xconomy covers business, life sciences and technology news in Boston, Seattle, San Diego, Detroit, San Francisco and New York.

Digital health events

AppsForHealth: Aimed at the mHealth and e-health industries, AppsForHealth is an information-sharing, networking and recruiting event. Held in Ontario, this one-day event culminates in a student app competition.

Digital Health Summit: This event is comprised of an event at the Consumer Electronics Show as well as an independent summit. The focus is on consumer-based health and wellness innovations.

Hacking Health: This Canadian organization coordinates global hackathons that bring together programmers and healthcare experts to build realistic, human-centric solutions for front line healthcare problems.

Health 2.0: Health 2.0 showcases innovative health technologies. It holds multiple conferences and code-a-thons each year. Its flagship event is held every fall in San Francisco.

Health Datapalooza: This annual conference encourages innovative and effective uses of health data by companies, startups, academics, government agencies and individuals.

Rock Health Summit: This startup-focused event is put on by Rock Health, a health technology venture fund.

HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition: One of the largest annual health IT conferences, this forum connects vendors with purchasers. It also has an educational program and a networking component.

Medicine X: Billed as “an academic conference for everyone,” Medicine X is a catalyst for new ideas about the future of medicine and healthcare.

Connected Health Conference: This large event attracts leaders in government, the private sector, industry, academia, and not-for-profit organizations and other stakeholders from across the mHealth ecosystem.

TEDMED: TEDMED is a community of people who are passionate about imagining the future of health and medicine.

Transform: Hosted by the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, this symposium focuses on innovation and design solutions that transform the experience and delivery of healthcare.

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