The Catalyst HTI Community: Telespine

Posted by Mike Biselli on 11.16.2015

I first met Dr. Mark Barnes, the CEO of Telespine, when his team was applying for the 2014 Digital Health Challenge. Dr. Barnes and I immediately hit it off! He was a physical therapist who specialized in low back pain. I was familiar with spinal disorders from my work with Synthes and NuVasive.

Once I began to learn about Dr. Barnes’ company, I was blown away! Telespine had developed a digital health platform that let those suffering from low back pain quickly connect to a network of certified health coaches. As Dr. Barnes himself told me, his company had effectively “reinvented low back pain care using the latest clinical science and digital health technology.”

Telespine Team

Dr. Mark Barnes (center right) and the Telespine team.

Telespine’s patient-centered approach was making a big impact, too!

Dr. Barnes and his team were tackling a condition that affected a quarter of all working Americans each year, costing employers $42 billion in annual medical costs. Not only did Telespine’s digital health intervention cost 96% less than traditional care– its eight-week long therapeutic program had been shown to reduce office visits by 21%, while leading to 51% better outcomes, 50% better recovery times, and 78% better patient satisfaction.

Talk about incredible!

I was convinced that Mark and his team had to be a part of Catalyst HTI. Telespine was doing amazing things to get low back pain sufferers the care they needed quickly. And Dr. Barnes was proving to be a capable and insightful leader within the Colorado digital health community.


Telespine’s digital health intervention for low back pain has already helped thousands.

As both a physician and an entrepreneur, Dr. Barnes had a unique insider-outsider perspective that I knew would be an invaluable asset to Catalyst HTI. He would be able to serve as a mentor to fellow entrepreneurs, and as a guide to those attempting to navigate the complicated, regulation-ridden US healthcare system.

For his part, Dr. Barnes quickly recognized the powerful role that a collaborative environment like Catalyst HTI would play in re-imagining American healthcare.

“We’re looking forward to being in the mix of solid Fortune 500 companies, emerging early stage businesses, and innovative digital health startups,” he told me when Telespine decided to become a tenant of Catalyst HTI. “I believe Catalyst HTI will give us access to needed collaborative and partnership opportunities, as well as any future capital needs as we grow.”

“In addition, the planned work and play environment for our employees is right in line with the culture of personal and professional balance that we’ve fostered so far – let’s get this thing built!”