When it comes to attracting attention, the giant technology firms have health technology companies beat. This summer alone, two tech billionaires took off in spaceships, with a third at their heels.
While the heads of private companies made good on their promises to successfully launch civilians, celebrities and themselves into space, the most basic problems in healthcare persist. Out of control spending, misdiagnoses and a lack of transparency and data have led the U.S. health system to have some of the best doctors and medicine in the world – but some of the worst and most inequitable outcomes.
Healthcare tech companies are boldly going where no human has gone before, combining Patient Reported Outcomes with artificial intelligence and electronic health records to perform predictive analytics that will help more accurately diagnose patients and find the exact right treatment – and the most appropriate provider to supply those treatments.
These healthcare tech organizations are working to help cure disease and save trillions of dollars by bringing the most accurate diagnosis and treatments into every doctor’s practice while giving patients full visibility into their own health.
This means patients, for the first time in human history, will hold in the palms of their hands the information they need to select the best doctor and treatments to heal their ailments and eventually to prevent disease in the first place.
I launched my first health technology company, a pioneering SaaS health firm, in 2005, after a career as a health professional convinced me that the healthcare system in the U.S. isn’t set up to keep people healthy. Over the years, I continued to build healthcare tech companies that could penetrate healthcare with real solutions to help patients, including H2 Wellness, which helps guide consumers make informed, positive health decisions and changes.
What I learned from those experiences was the value of empowering the end user with key data and digital tools to make informed decisions and to create a meaningful change in the global healthcare crisis. However, I realized that even the solutions I had developed didn’t go far enough to empower the patient. I wanted to create a solution that sits between the doctor and the patient and meets the interest of both parties in the most meaningful way.
So, I created a model for a new company, got a group of investors together and prepared to launch a business doing exactly that. Then, unexpectedly, I met a young, orthopedic surgeon, Justin Saliman, M.D., who completely derailed my plan.
A few people who knew us both, suggested that we meet in Los Angeles. They told me Justin was working on a concept very similar to mine. I have come across many physicians in my time who have great ideas but are not great at business, so I was skeptical. I agreed to take the meeting, as a favor to the friends who introduced us.
After meeting him and listening to what Justin had developed in his company, OutcomeMD, it was clear that he had created something that was exactly aligned with my own vision but went much farther than I had ever imagined. A few weeks into doing more diligence on OutcomeMD, I called all my investors and persuaded them to redirect their investment from my venture to OutcomeMD,. (I’m grateful to say that they listened and are pleased with their decision.)
What made me pull the plug on my own venture was that Justin’s was much further along and simply better. He was on a mission – not one for interplanetary travel but a far more elusive mission: bringing transparency, efficiency and fairness to healthcare globally.
He said to me, “Shouldn’t patients know what we’re good at as doctors? Shouldn’t doctors be measured by their outcomes not by people’s opinions?”
Here was an orthopedic surgeon who could have zipped his lips and just enjoyed the money his practice would bring him. Instead, he was demanding to be judged by the quality of his work and insisting that we can give data to patients that will inform better decisions.
I could immediately see how I could help him innovate the product to compel doctors to track outcomes and to help him more effectively operate his venture. His company was built around something I had never heard of: Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs), which are objective surveys, created mostly by academic and government organizations to directly measure patients’ symptoms and health conditions.
Because patients answer the questions directly, they are not filtered or interpreted by anyone and are less susceptible to misinterpretation or bias. Using PROMs, patients and their doctors together can track and manage a patient’s symptoms throughout their care, tethering the doctor and patient in the most meaningful way. This allows doctors to intervene early, accurately and dial in best treatments to get the best outcomes. Patients are more informed and have better access to their doctor throughout their care.
Justin’s original brainchild envisioned the ultimate doctor-finder with objective outcomes data that would do away with unreliable word-of-mouth or online referrals to give patients quantifiable information about the quality of any given doctor’s treatments.
Layering artificial intelligence and machine learning atop Patient Reported Outcomes will usher in an era of predictive analytics that puts into practice individualized treatment plans based on a patient’s own health and medical history. This would inform a shared decision-making process that could result in exactly the kind of personalized, preventative techniques that got me into healthcare in the first place.
So, yes, a convertible orbiting the planet is cool. But informed medicine that empowers patients, makes value-based care economically attractive to physicians, validates treatments and accelerates cures is way cooler.
|OutcomeMD Blog Team|