As Its Partner Ecosystem Expands, Box Taps Google Health Founder To Lead Its Cloud-Based Assault On Healthcare

Over the last year, Box has been ramping up its efforts to bring its cloud storage platform into new verticals. That began in April, when the seven-year-old company began making a major push to bring its cloud collaboration and storage tools to the healthcare industry, which, given the mayhem around the launch of the new healthcare exchanges yesterday, seems like it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Behind a roster of healthcare partners, HIPAA compliance and an equity investment in drchrono — a doctor-facing EHR platform built specifically for the iPad — Box has been looking to leverage its cloud collaboration platform and growing ecosystem of mobile apps to give doctors and healthcare providers a better way to do business.

Said another way, Box’s real mission is to become the glue that can help stick a fragmented industry back together. As an increasing number of doctors adopt mobile devices and Obamacare forces the market to move toward a digital future, the lack of interoperability between care providers, businesses and patients has become increasingly apparent. We can thank the “consumerization” of IT — and healthcare — for that.

Through its new secure cloud collaboration platform, Box wants to facilitate this consumerization and help medical teams access health information from a secure, connected cloud. What’s key is that, with Box’s scalability, collaboration and data sharing between doctors and nurses can happen anywhere, which also has the added benefit of removing the fax machine and paper trail from healthcare.

“What we’re really going after is the unstructured data in healthcare,” says Google Health founder and Box healthcare advisor Missy Krasner. “Box can help secure, store and share all those images, video, documents and forms that tend to get lost in the archaic infrastructure and workflow that prevails in healthcare today.”

By that, Krasner means that Box isn’t looking to develop an Electronic Health Records (EHR) solution or fix all of healthcare’s problems itself, but instead invest in the startups that are developing better mobile EHR solutions (a la drchrono) and connect each of these apps in a way that allows it to power collaboration, file transfer and secure, HIPAA-compliant sharing, for example. It’s an unassuming role — literally — which could see a small “Sync with Box” button become the main touchpoint or interface between an app and Box’s cloud. Its infrastructure established, that’s all the real estate it needs to allow doctors to upload their patient data to Box’s cloud, share with other care providers and so on.

A patient’s x-ray, for example, can be instantly stored in the cloud by their doctor within their personal folder, which only they and their doctor are able to access. This is the type of secure, instant access to medical information Box wants to represent, and power, going forward. And not only that, but secure data exchange between doctors and care providers — not just living at the interface between physicians and patients. Box is, after all, is an enterprise cloud.

In another show of its determination to infiltrate the opaque, offline and unstructured world of healthcare, Box is again expanding its roster and ecosystem of partners in an effort to increase the value of its tools for healthcare. Krasner tells us that the 13 new partners will work with Box to help physicians, payers, patients and administrators collaborate and share data across organizations and applications. These new healthcare customers include names like SSM Healthcare, Tri-Counties Regional Center, Cyberonics and Safety Management Systems and join existing customers like Johns Hopkins and Wake Forest Baptist Health that are now using Box to manage patient data and coordinate care.

The list of new partners also includes Care Cloud, a cloud-based practice management, EHR an medical billing systems provider, mobile medical image viewer Nephosity, Qualaris, pharma engagement platform Medikly, VitalHub and physician marketplace Pokitdok — to name a few.

To lead its new healthcare platform, Box is tapping a familiar name to become its new “managing director of healthcare and life sciences.” Miss Krasner, who has previously been acting as an advisor and consultant, will lead the way, bringing her 20 years of experience in the industry to help ramp up Box’s incipient “Health Cloud,” as I’m calling it. Krasner most recently served as an executive in residence at Morgenthaler Ventures, and before that, spent several years at Google, where she was one of the founding members of Google Health.

To help encourage innovation in the space and to get startups tapping into Box’s growing healthcare ecosystem, Krasner and Box have teamed up with national hospital system, Dignity Health, to launch a developer challenge. Through this challenge, developers will be encouraged to help Box build better apps for doctors and hospitals to deliver and exchange content, with the winner receiving a $100,000 convertible note from The Social+Capital Partnership. Twilio, Tokbox, Parse and Firebase will also be providing developers with full access to tools and services to help increase the functionality of submissions.

According to Krasner, the challenge officially kicks off today and runs through January 10th, 2014, with the first place winner not only securing a convertible note, but one month of office space, mentorship from Social+Capital and will be featured in Box’s App Marketplace.

More on Box Healthcare at home here.