Andrii Degeler

Building the open Digital Health ecosystem, one challenge at a time

I’ve been to a bunch of conferences over the past few months, and more often than not I ended up not only representing Rockstart, but also the Netherlands as an ecosystem. From private conversations to embassy-organized presentations, I kind of felt like a local ecosystem evangelist—which I actually liked a lot.

After my presentation efforts, quite a few people would ask a simple question—so what is it that makes the Netherlands the best place for a startup to come to and start building a business? More often than not my answer would be the same—the general openness of the ecosystem in general and the industries Rockstart is working in in particular.

In Digital Health, we’ve partnered with many large organizations over the years, from hospitals to care organizations to patient organizations and more. One of the things I’ve noticed in all of them is that they’re very open towards innovation and—buzzword alert—disruption in the industry. And it’s not just because our partners are awesome, which they are, but also thanks to the early adopter culture that the Netherlands, in my opinion, has as a country.

Now, there’s a chance to showcase all this—at least for the startups working in healthcare. We’ve just teamed up with the Dutch Ministry of Health to run the Dutch Digital Health Challenge with the goal to highlight some of the best startup partnerships going on. The applications are now open in four categories: health provider, corporate, insurer, and health corporate.

In late May, the best four digital health startups in the Netherlands will fly to Barcelona to give a live demo at the HIMSS Europe & Health 2.0 conference in front of 2,000 ecosystem stakeholders. This is one of the most recognized events in European healthcare, which can help you as a healthcare startup to get the word out and make new meaningful connections.

“A fair amount of healthy pressure can be very helpful in enhancing creativity and producing quality,” Gelle Klein Ikkink, Program Director Innovation & Healthcare Improvement, told me last week. “So we have high expectations from the pressure cooker design of this challenge, and I can’t wait to see the entries for patient-centered, scalable digital health solutions!”

Before the conference, the chosen four startups will also receive pitch coaching from experienced mentors from Health 2.0. So, check out the website, apply today—and let’s keep the ecosystem as open as possible for the better of everyone in need of healthcare.

Also on Rockstart