Indianapolis has a growing list of healthcare technology companies that are improving the health of our city in more ways than one. These companies are pursuing purposeful work and large market opportunities in the healthcare industry. 

Experts predict the U.S. healthcare information technology market to reach $149 billion by 2025. Government regulation and aversion to risk have resulted in an industry ripe for technological innovation. However, healthcare technologies have their own unique challenges, making them much different than the average tech startup. 

Two Indianapolis healthcare tech founders and CEOs share how they are navigating the challenges of bringing their innovations to market, what drives them and their teams, and why they think Indy is the perfect place to start and run healthcare technology companies. 

Olio and Illuminate Health are healthcare tech startups based here in Indy. While these companies are different in their products, they have faced similar challenges in introducing healthcare innovations and navigating the industry’s unique obstacles. 

Olio, based in Carmel but moving into a bigger office in Broad Ripple this fall, is a collaboration platform that connects health systems, physicians, and post-acute providers in real-time on their patient’s condition. Complex patients receive treatment across different care environments, such as the hospital and then a skilled nursing facility. Olio’s technology platform enables healthcare providers from different environments to collaborate in the care of shared patients.  

Ben Forrest, CEO & Founder of Olio, believed the founding of his company was not unlike other entrepreneurs: “We saw a broken system and believed there was a better way to do things.” The product was born out of that search for a solution. However, “there is more purpose behind that problem”. The mission of Olio is clear–improve patient outcomes– but Ben says that it’s not been without its roadblocks. He says they expected challenges like navigating protected health information, building a compliant product, and meeting healthcare standards that are the most significant of any tech product. But the magnitude of these challenges was unexpected: “We didn’t understand how high the mountains of these challenges were,” Ben said. 

Two years later, Olio has become a top solution for health systems and post-acute providers looking to improve the way they collaborate in the care of shared patients. When asked how his team overcame these obstacles, Ben credits “eyes, ears and friends.” Olio built a robust advisory board filled with experts on tech, healthcare, finance, law, and more. “We pulled the right minds together, but the key point is to always move forward,” a key lesson for any tech entrepreneur.

Illuminate Health is another healthcare tech startup based in Carmel. Illuminate Health is a clinical intelligence platform and mobile app built to organize medications on behalf of the patient to improve medication adherence and simplify overall medication management. Their mission is to “shed light on better health” and in doing so, hope to improve lives for the patient and their support systems. 

Varun Goyal, founder and CEO of Illuminate Health, has a passion for patient safety and founded his company after an unfortunate personal experience with prescriptions. Similar to Olio, Illuminate has also discovered the challenges that are far more present in a healthcare startup world, including being compliant with regulations, data security, and handling patient information. Varun speaks to the unexpected challenges of selling to healthcare entities, that “everyone is hesitant to give you a shot,” even though something like “medication management would benefit everybody.” 

Varun shares a common mantra amongst entrepreneurs, “fail fast,” but points out it has added importance for healthcare startups who face more significant costs and regulations in continuing operations. He shares the ideal scenario is to flesh out a new idea with minimal effort, compared to having to “try and survive” and hopes that will become a reality for Indy-based startups one day. 

Luckily for Illuminate health, their hard work is showing strong signs of success. They have recently completed a successful trial with a hospital partner empowering a group of addiction recovery patients with the Illuminate Health app. 

Healthcare technology companies have a lot more to prove and a lot more obstacles to overcome, but it’s worth it to improve patients’ lives as well as improve the wellness of members of our community. “Indianapolis is a phenomenal place to be for healthcare, period.” Ben Forrest says. “There are people in Indy that understand the future of healthcare. We are able to marry technical and healthcare expertise here, which gives companies like us a lot of opportunity.” 

These two entrepreneurs have a lot of hope for the Indy startup scene and are excited by the growth the city has seen in the past few years. The healthcare problems these companies chose to solve, and the ingenuity required to solve them, show the brokenness of the healthcare system. This presents a call for more healthcare tech companies to innovate to fix it, and hopefully Indianapolis can continue to be a place where innovation thrives.