Box gets deeper into healthcare with new partners, strategic hire and $100k app challenge

Back in April, cloud collaboration startup Box made its first big public foray into healthcare with the announcement that its service was HIPAA-compliant and that it had partnered with 10 health-related applications. Now, the IPO-bound company is digging even deeper into the vertical.

On Wednesday, the Los Altos, Calif. startup said that it had added 13 new health-related partners and was launching a $100,000 developer challenge with The Social+Capital Partnership and the Dignity Health hospital system. The company also said that it had hired Missy Krasner, a former Google Health (s GOOG) executive and Morgenthaler Ventures executive-in-residence, to lead its healthcare strategy.

In healthcare, where data exists in silos and people still rely on paper and fax machines, sharing information can be a frustrating challenge. For healthcare providers, sharing and storing health information is even more complicated now that new HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) rules require “business associates” (contractors or service providers) to meet new compliance obligations. Box aims to enable health-oriented companies and hospital systems to share information in a more streamlined way, while following the technical, legal and policy-related requirements of the new privacy and security rules.

“We want to use the cloud for collaboration to transfer data from point A to point B,” said Krasner, Box’s new managing director for healthcare and life sciences. “[We’re] a glue between applications.” She added that while about 60 percent of health record data is structured, Box is focused on the 40 percent that is currently faxed, scanned or transferred and stored in some other unstructured way.

Some of the company’s newest partners include: CareCloud, a provide of electronic health records and practice management software (that raised $30 million this summer); Informedika, a company that lets doctors order lab tests and receive results online; and Grand Rounds, a telehealth startup that helps patients get second opinions online.

Along with The Social+Capital Partnership and Dignity Health, the company also said that it’s kicking off a developer challenge that invites developers to create apps focused on patient education. Now, patients are handed stacks of paper brochures about conditions and procedures that they may or may not read. The companies said they will award $100,000 to developers who create a digital service that offers a better way of engaging and informing patients.

The company already has a broad range of healthcare clients, including GlaxoSmithKline, the Beaumont Health System and Allergan. As it eyes an IPO, Box is making a bigger push into a variety of verticals. In addition to its recent inroads in health, the company announced several new services for education institutions this summer.