Northwell Health is working with Aegis Ventures, a New York-based startup studio to launch Ascertain, a joint company creation platform.
WHY IT MATTERS
With Ascertain, Northwell and Aegis plan to develop and commercialize artificial intelligence companies to tackle various healthcare challenges related to quality, cost, access and health equity.
The joint venture will combine clinical and business leadership, drawing on the expertise of technical and product teams, and building on Northwell’s diverse datasets and capital resources.
Its main focus will be building and validating effective solutions that can be rapidly brought to market, officials say, noting that Ascertain has already begun creation of its first portfolio companies in partnership with Northwell clinicians and administrators.
One early priority is health, working in collaboration with Northwell’s new Center for Maternal Health, the goal is to develop new data-driven approaches to detecting and managing serious complications for expectant mothers and babies.
Ascertain’s data scientists are working with Northwell’s Maternal and Fetal Medicine team to examine tens of thousands of cases of preeclampsia, a hypertensive pregnancy complication that disproportionately affects Black mothers in the United States.
Using data science innovations, Ascertain is building AI models to help clinicians predict the risk of developing preeclampsia – and enable them to intervene earlier than previously possible.
“An important enabler for a solution to this challenge is predictive analytics, applying available knowledge of a patient’s history to enable action far earlier with simple, yet life-saving, clinical interventions,” said Dr. Burt Rochelson, chief of maternal medicine at Northwell Health, in a statement. “We believe the AI solution Ascertain is currently developing will enable this.”
Ascertain aims to launch more companies this year focused on maternal health, chronic disease detection and management and next-generation AI tools, officials say.
THE LARGER TREND
The Northwell Aegis collaboration was first announced this past October, with the startup builder anteing $100 million in seed-stage funding to “leverage data from Northwell’s patient population, one of the most diverse in the world, along with Northwell’s intellectual capital in AI technology.”
The health system’s achievements in that space are considerable. One recent initiative, for instance, used machine learning to reduce hospital readmissions by almost 24%. We spoke with its medical director for some perspective on how they did it.
ON THE RECORD
“Ascertain brings a unique structure, an innovative approach, and a compelling vision to create breakthrough healthcare AI companies that are set up for success,” said Michael Dowling, President and CEO of Northwell Health, in a statement. “We are all driven by the idea that everyone deserves access to high-quality, affordable healthcare. Our aim is clear: to find new, cost-efficient ways to create and accelerate companies that deliver real, equitable solutions.”
“Aegis and Northwell’s multidisciplinary teams are pursuing innovation through a systematic approach that will bring validated solutions to patients more quickly and at a lower cost,” added Bill Schoenfeld, Aegis Ventures Chairman. “Our skillsets are extraordinarily complementary and enable us to address healthcare’s most entrenched quality, equity, and cost problems far more powerfully than either organization could alone.”