Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Night at the NERD Center

Last evening, I spent 3 hours at the Microsoft New England Research and Development (NERD)  Center, listening to the pitches of 5 entrepreneurs in an "American Idol" type setting as one of the judges.

The first presentation was from ASP.MD, which offers a low cost, full featured, software as a service practice management system and electronic health record.   Today, they have 500 clinician clients (1800 users) and are profitable.   They pioneered a thin client, software as a service, AJAX-enabled medical record that is highly configurable and available for less than $200/month.   The presentation was impressive and the usability of the software looks very good.  I was concerned about their ongoing support for paper-based workflows (ordering, scanning, printing, and routing documents), but they explained this as a transition strategy for late adopters of EHRs who are unwilling to start with completely electronic transactions.

The second presentation was from Soltrix Technolgy  which has created tools for patient satisfaction measurement, turning PDF submissions intro structured data capture.    My concern was that their presentation focused on the technology of forms creation and submission rather than the validation of customer satisfaction measurement instruments and the analytics necessary to ensure the data is interpretable.

The third presentation was from HomMed, a division of Honeywell.  The presentation their LifeStream Remote Patient Care System for monitoring and tele health.  Previously was visiting nurse, now chronic disease management (vitals, symptom, video) and tomorrow portfolio of monitoring devices/decision support/education.   My comments included the need to target their sales model to emerging ACOs which are now responsible for wellness and continuous monitoring rather than encounter-based illness.

The fourth presentation was from Ambio Health, enabling the wireless home.   Their product suite includes motion sensors that use passive infrared technology (not cameras) monitoring activities of daily living in the family room, kitchen, bedroom or bathroom.   They also support physiologic monitoring devices such as blood pressure cuffs, glucose measurement, and scale interfaces.  A family care portal charts the patient's activity and device data.   The portal also includes reminders, a care circle (social networking for communication about health related concerns), goals/rewards (gamification) and alerts to caregivers.    My advice was to focus their presentation more on the clinical "pull" (the value for providers, patients and families) and less on the technology.

The fifth presentation was from PrescribableApps, supporting mobile health - customized smartphone application for doctors to personalize patient engagement in chronic care treatment.    Features include self monitoring via text messages with cloud analytics and provider feedback.     Studies (Group Health) demonstrated that 80% of patients in weekly communication with the care team had medication changed within 60 days verses 15% in usual treatment.  My advice was to ensure that there is a more clearly stated value proposition for patients.

A great evening and an opportunity to share lessons learned in front line clinical practice with companies developing new products and services.


Pat Rioux said...

I enjoyed the presentations from fellow Collaborative Care Technology Workgroup members but the real value was how the judges reacted and gave the presenters useful, critical advice to improve their products and value propositions. Thanks for being one of those valued judges!

Ernie C. said...

John - you made a comment last night about the importance that various technologies will have over the near term (3 years) in the healthcare space. One technology you mentioned was the PHR. Google is gone, HealthVault has not lived up to consumer expectations - or the expectations of Microsoft for that matter, and Dossia continues on what some would diplomatically say a troubled trajectory. Pundits in the space tend to start off conversations about PHR's with various negatives including - "Microsoft and Google could not do it...and they have lots of smart people and lots of money - so it's difficult to see anyone getting traction here.." VC's, payers and providers are all cynical; but many believe and acknowledge that PHR solutions will need to be part of the landscape. When looking for investment and partnerships, start-ups in this space therefore need to contend with all of the traditional objections to any new initiative/innovation, and simultaneously deal with the significant stigma of failed predecessors. What advice / direction would you give to emerging PHR initiatives (that believe the have a better mousetrap) in finding champions who can help get talk investors into financing (yet another) attempt in personal health records?