Supporting Partnerships that take Innovation to the Next Level
MedHealth helps bring investors, innovators, and healthcare organizations around the same table to discover new partnership opportunities. Learn about the success of our network and how MedHealth helped to contribute.
We sat down with Giacomo “Jack” DeChellis of Beaumont Health to ask him about his experience with the healthcare system as an administrative employee, as the founder of a thriving and innovative LGBTQ+ employee resource group, as a former activist with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and as an aging gay man.
Hypercare knows that every second counts, especially when it comes to treating patients. Learn more about his company’s approach to alleviating these healthcare challenges and their vision for the future.
HealthOpX: Breaking Down Healthcare Barriers for Patients Who Use Languages Other Than English Navigating healthcare can be complex and confusing, even for the most informed patients. It requires a high degree of health literacy to find the right entry point, maneuver through fragmented specialists, ask the right questions, and get helpful answers to make informed decisions. And for people who use languages other than English, this process can become even more disorienting and detrimental, especially for their health. That’s where HealthOpX comes in. HealthOpX believes there is a better way to help patients who use languages other than English navigate healthcare by creating a more integrated network among patients, community organizations, and doctors—all supported through affordable technology. We talked with chief executive officer and cofounder of HealthOpX, Wesley Ma, to learn more about his company’s mission and how MedHealth helped support its growth. Questions and Answers What is HealthOpX and what was the motivation for creating this company? HealthOpX is a mobile and Web-based platform that helps patients who use languages other than English navigate the healthcare system and address their social determinants of health. Both the other cofounder of HealthOpX and I are second-generation Americans. Growing up, we experienced firsthand what it was like to take our parents to their healthcare appointments and serve as translators to help them navigate the system. Unfortunately, not much has changed since that time. So, we wanted to create a solution based on our personal experiences. That’s how HealthOpX was born. Tell me more about your technology. How does it work? Patients can use our mobile application to access a number of resources that can help them improve their social determinants of health. For example, a person facing food insecurity could receive information on food drives or get support navigating the healthcare system within the application. The Web application even allows community organizations, such as churches and nonprofits, or family members to coordinate services and care for patients as caretakers. If a patient does not have a mobile device or smartphone, caretakers can receive all notifications for them or be sent text alerts. All of the data from the mobile and Web applications feeds into a machine-learning algorithm that calculates cost savings for health systems and insurers, with the ultimate goal of reimbursing community-based organizations for services. The application also supports health systems by providing them with a translation/interpretation management mechanism to improve case management and coordination. Who are your customers? Health systems and insurance companies are our paying customers, and they typically access our technology through the Web application. Patients and community organizations can access our technology for free. How has being involved with MedHealth helped your startup? In 2019, I went to the MedHealth Summit by recommendation of colleagues at the Michigan State University Conquer Accelerator program. I happened to sit near someone from the American Heart Association (AHA), and we struck up a conversation. When I told them about
CoHealth: Improving Patient Care Through Better Information, Care Coordination, and Technology Rob Iaboni, CoHealth’s director of strategic partnerships Inspired by cofounder Zack Fisch-Rothbart’s aftercare patient experience, Rob Iaboni, CoHealth’s director of strategic partnerships, shares how his company puts patients at the center of their health by providing better access to information and better coordination of care. Questions and Answers What was the impetus for creating CoHealth? I joined CoHealth two years ago because Zack Fisch-Rothbart’s story resonated with me. Several years ago, Zack broke his leg in three places while playing a game of ultimate frisbee. Though he received great care at the hospital, he had problems with the transition back home. Before Zack was discharged, his nurse gave him a lot of important aftercare information, but Zack—being medicated and stressed—didn’t have the medical literacy or the capacity needed to process that information at that time. Ultimately, Zack developed a preventable complication and had to be rushed back to the hospital, where he was hours away from losing his leg. Even though he had been provided information on this potential problem, it was not in a way that was easy to understand or remember. Though Zack came through this experience in the end, it’s a powerful reminder of how fragmented our healthcare system is and how it leaves patients to navigate their own care. CoHealth was founded to address this issue by building a tool that puts the patient at the center of their care journey. What does CoHealth do? Who do you work with? CoHealth created a content-sharing platform—for use on any mobile device—that allows patients to access important healthcare information in one place. We partner with healthcare providers to build out hundreds of customized care pathways for users. The platform can remind patients to take their medication, have their blood pressure checked, and manage and track important items that are tailored to their unique experience. CoHealth partners with healthcare providers and organizations of all types in both Canada and the United States (U.S.), including primary, acute, and home care providers. In the U.S., we work with providers to build platforms that assist patients in finding services and payers in their network, making it easy to find the care they need. We also have started partnering with larger organizations, such as medical device and pharmaceutical companies. How does CoHealth help improve patient experiences? Healthcare is lagging when it comes to customer experience and satisfaction. Not only does the CoHealth tool help users navigate and coordinate their own care, but it also collects good data. It allows patients to offer feedback immediately, enabling providers to better meet patient needs by refining how care is provided. How has MedHealth and its annual summit helped your business? We attended the MedHealth Summit in 2018. It was our first time attending an event like this, and we were excited to come to Detroit because it is so close
Melius Outcomes: Better Data, Better Solutions, Better Results AkkeNeel Talsma, CEO of Melius Outcomes Every year, hospitals and surgery centers devote tremendous energy and resources to ensure optimum health outcomes for patients. Despite these efforts, billions of dollars are still lost to things like hospital-acquired infections, readmissions, and ineffective organizational coordination. These outcomes increase expenses, lower reimbursement rates, and can lead to a poor reputation—consequences any business would focus on avoiding. In 2016, Melius Outcomes started developing cutting-edge technology to provide clinical intelligence, actionable data, and expertise to optimize patient outcomes and systems solutions. Sometimes the solution can be as simple as adjusting a schedule or internal process; other times, a more complex practice or organizational solution is needed. We spoke with AkkeNeel Talsma, CEO of Melius Outcomes, to learn more about her company’s unique approach to process improvement. At the center of her approach is the aggregation of marginal gains—making useful, practical adjustments that can dramatically improve patient outcomes and hospitals’ bottom lines. Questions and Answers What was the impetus for creating Melius Outcomes? Over the course of two decades in clinical performance improvement, I found that—despite best intentions—clinicians lack timely, actionable data they need to achieve the best patient outcomes. At one point in my career, I was driving to doctor’s offices to collect data on a yellow pad of paper. Another time, I remember 40 nurses sitting in a room analyzing data from paper records that were faxed in, manually entering this information, and then tallying the measures. Now, data is collected electronically in a variety of ways. And, despite this transition, the core problem remains—reporting is often delayed and focuses on past performance, making it very difficult to pinpoint a practice or system problem. I knew there had to be a better way to collect data, evaluate it, and present this information to clinicians and leadership with the best evidence. Clinicians need timely data, actionable evidence, and sensible near-term solutions to improve patient outcomes. And that’s why I founded Melius Outcomes. What does Melius Outcomes do? Who do you work with? Melius Outcomes provides an online platform that analyzes data for patterns, identifies costly and ineffective processes, and then works with administrators and clinicians to address those problem areas and achieve better results. Though our analyses and reports are geared toward clinicians and administrators, the work we do ultimately benefits patients and their families. Can you share an example of how your product benefits clients? In one situation, a hospital was troubled by patients who would arrive inadequately prepared for surgery. This not only led to delays and cancellations, but it also cost both the hospital and doctors time and money. After we reviewed the hospital’s data, we found that some outpatient providers’ surgery preparation materials were out of date and difficult to understand. Because of our work, these materials were updated and standardized, which resulted in more adequately prepared patients, more
A Crown JEM of Health Solutions: How Two Partners are Bringing More Personalized Care to the Aging and Beyond Kevin Lasser, chief executive officer and founder of JEMS Technology One in three Americans is now 50 or older, and by 2030, one in five will be 65 or older. In Canada, seniors currently make up a bigger share of the country’s population other than children. Many of these adults wish to remain in their homes and communities as they age, but will require a higher level of care from their doctors and family members. Countless people face the challenge of determining how to best care for aging individuals, especially when daily activities, such as preparing food and remembering to take medication, become a struggle. This challenge is exacerbated when family members are unable to offer around-the-clock support for their loved one. JEMS Technology and SimpleC believe there is a better way to manage chronic conditions, such as dementia, through personalized therapy and doctor’s appointments delivered through smart devices. We talked with chief executive officer and founder of JEMS Technology, Kevin Lasser, to learn more about his company’s joint venture with SimpleC and how MedHealth helped his company’s expansion into Canada. Questions and Answers What was the impetus for creating JEMS Technology? Nearly a decade ago, at a New Year’s Eve party, I had a conversation with an executive from AT&T Healthcare about their need to more efficiently diagnose strokes at rural hospitals where a neurologist may not be present. I was the cofounder of a data encryption company at the time, and we had a deep understanding of mobile device security. As a result, we developed a real-time, encrypted video solution that gave healthcare providers the ability to interact with patients remotely. And that’s how JEMS Technology was born—one of the first companies in the world to develop a HIPAA-compliant telehealth application for smart devices. Tell me about your joint venture with SimpleC. SimpleC, a company based in Atlanta, Georgia, uses artificial intelligence to deliver personalized media-based therapies to people who are aging and have memory loss. For example, SimpleC’s application, Companion, enables caregivers and family members alike to send important health information and reminders to their aging loved ones on a large touchscreen display. Companion also provides a communication interface for care providers to understand how someone is responding to certain therapies and family members can use the app to send photos, videos, and songs to improve an individual’s memory and mood. SimpleC reached out to JEMS needing a telehealth component that would allow Companion users to access healthcare appointments and providers through smart devices. Doctor’s appointments, especially for people with memory loss, can be stressful, confusing events. Through this joint venture, JEMS and SimpleC are able to provide users with a way to securely connect through video chats and other notifications, like medication reminders. The application also uses artificial intelligence to proactively prompt
Resuscitating the House Call: A New Take on an Old Approach Daniel Warner, founder and CEO of MediSeen In the 1930s, house calls made up 40 percent of doctor’s visits in the U.S. Since the 1980s, however, medical care has moved almost completely into the clinical setting, creating more efficient environments for providers and patients. Today, technology could reverse that trend by enabling patients’ healthcare needs to be met, once again, at home, while keeping a level of efficiency and effectiveness that works for providers as well. MediSeen, a Toronto-based startup, is leading the effort to revive this retro concept. Their innovative software platform helps empower healthcare providers offer more accessible, personalized care to patients in the comfort of their homes while reducing the strain on overcrowded hospitals. We spoke with MediSeen founder and CEO Daniel Warner to learn more about his company, its vision for bringing back the house call, and how MedHealth helped support his company’s expansion into new markets. Questions and Answers Why did you start MediSeen? In 2014, I was on the founding team of SnapSaves, a mobile coupon startup, which was acquired by Groupon. As part of the sale, my family and I moved to Chicago to help scale the application as a new division of Groupon. Startup stress and my genetics eventually caught up with me—I was unexpectedly diagnosed with Crohn’s disease on a visit back to Toronto and admitted to the hospital with my first severe flare up a week later. Using blood transfusions, iron infusions, and all kinds of medication, my healthcare providers put me back together over the course of nearly a month as an inpatient. It was during my 26 nights under medical observation that I found myself looking repeatedly out my hospital room window at University Avenue—a busy strip in downtown Toronto, bustling with world-class care and innovation—and wondering why I was here for so long. Didn’t someone else need this hospital bed more than me? Why couldn’t my care be delivered at home rather than in the hospital? Aren’t emergency rooms for emergencies? I had a lot of time to think about it. When I finally became an outpatient, I was equally overwhelmed by the amount of time I had to spend scheduling appointments, commuting to and from hospitals and clinics, and sitting in waiting rooms. It felt like a full-time job—meanwhile, I was on disability leave from my real job! The Canadian and U.S. health systems are buckling under patient duress. I knew there had to be a better way to deliver and receive care. That was when the idea for MediSeen was born. So, what exactly is MediSeen? MediSeen is a HIPAA- and PHIPA-compliant mobile management platform that enables healthcare providers to build, scale, and digitize home healthcare practices. Through one portal, accessible through the Web and mobile applications, they can manage patient bookings, records, charts, schedules, and billing. We think
Making the Case for Bringing Devices into the Operating Room Rob Zondervan, chief executive officer and founder of SteriDev The unprecedented ubiquity of smart phones has put abundant amounts of information at our fingertips and forever changed the way we work, from the business world to the medical field. Beyond the efficiencies these devices have created for such things as accessing patient records and medical literature, they also are making their way into unexpected places, including the operating room. With opportunity, however, comes risk. Like television remotes, cell phones are notorious hosts for bacteria,presenting significant hazards insterile environments. Enter SteriDev, a small medical device company that is changing the way mobile devices are used in sterile environments with its CleanCase cover. We talked with chief executive officer and founder of SteriDev Rob Zondervan to learn more about the CleanCase, his inspiration for creating it, and how MedHealth helped him garner the necessary financial support and other resources to grow his business. Questions and Answers What was the impetus for creating the CleanCase mobile device cover? A few years ago, I was invited to assist in a complicated surgery. Midway through, the surgeon asked me to take photos on my cell phone so he could use them to teach residents and physicians. At first, I was surprised by the request given how dirty cell phones are, but I went ahead and took the photos while staying outside of the surgical field. It was really difficult, though, to get the best angles. Afterward, I started talking with healthcare professionals and found that new technology was improving patient care in many places, but hadn’t made its way into the operating room due to the risks posed to sterile environments. That’s when I discovered the need to find ways to safely transfer devices of all kinds into the sterile field. Where will you sell your product? Although surgeons and small surgical centers are pushing for our technology, I believe health systems would be our primary customers. Another market we’ve been looking at is medical device manufacturers who are shifting away from developing their own computers and hardware. They have begun to realize how powerful cell phones and tablets are and see opportunities for integrating their software in to existing devices. How has MedHealth and its annual summit helped your startup? The MedHealth Summit exposed our company to the Southeast Michigan market, which allowed us to form a successful partnership with Invest Detroit. In 2017, we became a part of their First Capital Fund, which provides genesis dollars to new technology companies. This funding helped us get through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration validation process. We also won the 2017 MedHealth Summit pitch competition, which awarded us with cash and in-kind prizes, such as trademark and legal counsel. This support was extremely helpful in moving our product closer to market. The MedHealth Summit is a rare opportunity for startups
Want to Incentivize Better Health? Use Carrots, Not Sticks. Michael Antaran, chief executive officer of CARROT There’s no doubt: Mobile apps have changed the way we live and work. Estimates show there are more than 2.5 billion smartphone owners worldwide who use mobile apps on a daily basis. Their voracious appetites are fueled by more than 12 million app developers who are vying to meet users’ needs in increasingly creative ways. Enter CARROT pass, LLC (CARROT), a budding startup based in Royal Oak, Michigan. CARROT developed a one-of-a-kind health and wellness mobile app that is now being used by two of Michigan’s largest health care systems—Beaumont Health and Henry Ford Health System—to encourage their staff and area residents to get up and start walking. Participants in the free program use the innovative CARROT Wellness mobile app to track their steps, earn points, and use those points to purchase exclusive rewards and play games. Voracious appetite, meet smorgasbord of health incentives. We spoke with CARROT Founder and CEO Michael Antaran to learn more about his company, its vision for gamifying community health, and how the MedHealth Summit helped nurture his relationship with major health care systems hustling to encourage healthy behaviors in southeast Michigan. Questions and Answers What was the impetus for creating the CARROT Wellness app? Before CARROT, I worked for 15 years as a powertrain engineer in the automotive industry. I routinely clocked 70-hour work weeks and was losing touch with my family. I wanted to be the kind of dad who could take my three children to soccer practice and ballet, so in 2012, I made the decision to change careers. I have always had a love for games, so I launched a mobile gaming company. I tapped in to my network at the University of Michigan for talent and mentored students working on senior design projects to develop apps. In 2014, my wife approached me with a very valid concern. While our business was doing great, she noted that we were contributing to unhealthy screen-time behaviors. We found that people were spending as much as two hours every day playing our games instead of spending time outside–that really hit me hard. That’s when we decided to change our games from a pay-to-play model to a walk-to-play model. Instead of paying a fee to upgrade or access a desired feature, our apps would require users to take 1,000 steps using the pedometer already built in to smart phones. That switch changed everything. In 2015, Henry Ford Health System approached us to use our game as a wellness program for their 25,000 employees, so we developed CARROT, our app that encourages you to make incremental progress toward achieving, and perhaps surpassing, the Center for Disease Control’s recommended 10,000 steps per day. You said that Henry Ford Health System contacted you, but how did you connect with Beaumont? Between 2016 and 2018, we had several