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3 Questions for Jonathan Bush About Launch of Zus Health

Analysis  |  By Jack O'Brien  
   June 21, 2021

Jonathan Bush, former CEO of athenahealth and current executive chairman of Firefly Health, discussed his new healthcare venture.

Zus Health, a digital health company based in Watertown, Massachusetts, announced its launch and close of a $34 million Series A financing round late last week.

Zus, founded by Jonathan Bush, former CEO of athenahealth and current executive chairman of Firefly Health, aims to create "the industry’s first shared development platform backed by a shared data record," according to a company press release.

The fundraising round for Zus was led by several notable organizations, including Andreessen Horowitz, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, and Rock Health.

In an email Q&A with HealthLeaders, Bush discussed his new healthcare venture and thoughts on industry innovation as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

Related: Firefly Health CEO, Executive Chairman Discuss $40M Fundraising Round

This transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity.

HealthLeaders: At a high level, what should our audience of hospital and health insurance executives understand about the launch of Zus?

Bush: Zus is a platform company that provides a set of tools that builders can use to build their own software across the healthcare ecosystem from virtual care, hospitals, labs, doctors, and payers, all backed by a shared data record. Zus will help builders and engineers underserved by tools on market today to frictionlessly participate alongside the legacy healthcare ecosystem and create extraordinary patient experiences.

Related: Following Athenahealth Exit, Jonathan Bush Takes Executive Role at Startup

HL: What lessons from your time at athenahealth, along with your work at Firefly, will influence your plans for Zus?

Bush: Athena was focused on the back end for traditional providers, doing billing and management and generally reducing the back-office workload of doctors. Zus is working with next-gen digital health startups (like Firefly) to create healthcare’s first development platform backed by a shared data record. By exposing some of the most common workflows in the health journey, Zus plans to support and accelerate developers working to innovate on patient and provider experiences through solutions such as patient relationship management systems for doctors’ practices and other apps.

Related: Jonathan Bush Talks Trump and EHR Innovation

HL: How is healthcare innovation poised to change as the pandemic subsides? Which areas are going to be the most popular for investment?

Bush: A huge growth area is a connection between technology and healthcare. Today, we’re sitting at the intersection of information sharing-friendly policies, like the 21st Century Cures Act, never before seen levels of investment from PE and VC into digital-first healthcare companies, and, like you said, the pandemic, which has all come together to create a thriving young healthcare movement. We plan to support this new generation of healthcare companies to develop their offerings at considerably greater speed and less cost while enabling them to share appropriate health information to improve care.

Jack O'Brien is the Content Team Lead and Finance Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

Photo credit: Former Athenahealth CEO Johnathan Bush at Fortune Brainstorm TECH in 2011. (Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm TECH)

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