President of Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Bill Taranto, to Chair the HITLAB Breakthrough Alliance

Industry: Healthcare

Expanded membership-based health consortium will verify and diffuse evidence-based digital health and mental health solutions

Worldwide (PRUnderground) January 18th, 2021

HITLAB is excited to announce the HITLAB Breakthrough Alliance (BTA)has named Bill Taranto, president of Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Chair of the HITLAB Breakthrough Alliance through 2024. The HITLAB Breakthrough Alliance is a membership-based health consortium whose mission is to verify and diffuse digital health innovations through the generation of exclusive, evidence-based research and insights. 

BTA evolved from the Digital Health Breakthrough Network (DBHN), which was a five-year partnership between HITLAB and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. DBHN spurred the successful diffusion of such startups as BiotiaKnowNowTatch, and BonboutonThese innovations addressed a range of healthcare needs—from motor skills therapies to sleep disorders.

DBHN’s sixth cohort expanded to an international pool of applicants and became the HITLAB Breakthrough Alliance. As BTA, the consortium saw the acceleration of verified solutions Mediktor, an AI-based medical assistant for medical decision support, and Cogniant, an AI-fueled platform that supports mental healthcare complianceMediktor is based in Spain and Cogniant is located in Singapore and Australia. 

How the BTA Works 

BTA is a membership-based consortium that crowdsources the perspectives and strategies of its diverse members—including HITLAB’s experts—to provide exclusive, evidence-based research and insights for emerging technologies (see infographic at right)The BTA consortium is populated by experts who represent the full spectrum of digital health innovation and is driven by a mission to improve health outcomes and care delivery by verifying emerging technologies and research. 

Taranto, BTA chair, explains: The HITLAB Breakthrough Alliance fulfills a crucial role in helping early-stage companies get the validation they need to get to the stage where investors get interested in investing.” BTA supports innovations at various points along the continuum. “They don’t all have to be startups,” he said. “They can be later stage companies, but the whole idea of providing scientific validation and help getting through the different stages of development is a very important part of the overall healthcare innovation ecosystem.”

BTA members are part of the vetting process for new concepts and have exclusive access to the scientific approaches that consortium members have taken, Taranto explained. “Depending on the type of asset, you may be able to help guide the development of the criteria for evaluation,” he said. “And having a view to all the verified data will inform how members may build or invest in a company.

The HITLAB Breakthrough Alliance will be launching a call for application for cohort seven in January, with a dedicated search for verified mental health solutions for both the pandemic and post-pandemic environments. Learn more about the HITLAB Breakthrough Alliance and contact HITLAB to become a member today.


HITLAB is an impact-first organization that offers digital health research, teaching, and advisory services to improve health delivery around the world.

At HITLAB, we believe technology and health can work together to improve the quality of health delivery and healthcare worldwide. We use rigorous research and evidence-based methods to identify the best digital health solutions for each of our partners.

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