Pitch HHS on Its Next Startup Stop

Pitch HHS on Its Next Startup Stop

"If a large company comes and tells me they can solve all my problems, I think they can solve none."

NEW ORLEANS — Health tech companies from all over the country wanting to engage with the Health and Human Services Department now have a chance to do so, as the agency has embarked on a roadshow nationwide.

Over the next two years, officials from the regulatory agencies including the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the National Institutes of Health will be traveling to cities such as Chicago and Nashville to meet and connect with small business owners focused on solving pressing health care problems, said Dr. Mona Siddiqui, HHS chief data officer.

So far, the roadshow has hit Washington, D.C., and Boston, and Chicago and Nashville are up next.

“You can come and pitch your idea, get feedback, both from the perspective of, ‘hey, is this going to work if we wanted to buy it and what does that pathway look like?’” Siddiqui said in a 15-minute Q&A with Collision Conference attendees on Wednesday. “And also, if you want some insight on, ‘hey, how does this process look like from the FDA side?'”

It’s important for HHS to go out in the community and make connections, and that’s exactly why it’s doing the roadshow, Siddiqui said.

“We’re going to hit about 13 cities on this roadshow,” she said.

Officially called HHS Startup Day, the series launched in March. The first city on that trip outside of D.C. was Boston and featured speakers such as HHS Chief Technology Officer Bruce Greenstein and Kevin McTigue, program director of the HHS Idea Lab.

When asked about how she is incentivized to work with small businesses, Siddiqui talked about a data governance work effort in which she partnered with a contractor who'd never before done business with the federal government.

"If a large company comes and tells me they can solve all my problems, I think they can solve none," she said. "I want to work with people who have a niche area . . . and I can see exactly how it's going to be linking to the work that I'm doing, rather than bringing in the same company over and over again, which leads to the same solutions. It's really a boring way to work."