New health care technologies are emerging more quickly than ever these days as entrepreneurs look to capitalize on the upheavals in the way care is delivered. Some of those services are visible to patients, some do their magic behind the scenes. Here are a few innovative software products that — even though they didn’t all originate here — prove that Nashville remains central to innovation in hospital management.
As CEO of Cool Springs-based NextGxDx, an online marketplace for genetic testing, Mark Harris is well versed in health care’s many opportunities in information technology and intelligence tools.
“Genetic testing is so new and growing so fast, there’s no IT solutions,” says Harris, who is pictured here. “Previously, tens of thousands of different tests were simply coded as ‘miscellaneous molecular test.’”
NextGxDx provides clinicians with workflow solutions to search, compare and order genetic tests from third-party laboratories. Harris says the company’s goal is to create transparency in an otherwise opaque market.
“The original goal of the company was to create an Amazon.com of genetic testing,” he says.
Harris’ company, founded in 2010, graduated from local accelerator JumpStart Foundry and has partnered with athenahealth, PreventionGenetics and Cancer Genetics. Earlier this year, the company completed a $3 million Series B round of financing led by local Voyent Partners and the Nashville Capital Network.
NextGxDx plans to grow further in the hospital space and is exploring the payer market, and Harris said the changing health care industry is full of tech opportunity.
“Change always breeds opportunity,” he says. “There’s still a ton of inefficiency in the market and now we have pressures to reduce costs. IT and new software techniques are ways to do it, so I think there’s huge opportunities. We’re seeing a lot of startups in the software space that are looking at things in a really innovative way.”
As IT infrastructure costs have lessened, innovators have the ability to explore those creative solutions. Harris says he sees great opportunity for startups exploring chronic disease management and patient compliance, as well as secure physician communication.
“Doctors are tech savvy,” Harris says. “You constantly hear that doctors don’t use technology, but when you look at the data, it’s through the roof. I think they have adopted cutting-edge technology in other parts of their life — they’re shopping on Amazon, using smartphones. The demand from providers is that their health care technology is as easy to use as technology in other areas of their life, and the industry just hasn’t caught up yet.”
Mobile Heartbeat CURE
A product of Massachusetts-based Mobile Heartbeat, CURE is a smartphone and tablet app that seeks to streamline the communication process between clinicians in the hospital setting.Through software installed on servers and smartphones, the technology allows doctors and nurses to connect and communicate patient and hospital information in real-time. From staffing changes to a patient's pain level, clinicians can call and text each other through HIPAA-compliant encrypted cellular data.
Currently active in five states, Mobile Heartbeat early this year launched a partnership with hometown giant HCA. TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center will pilot the CURE program with an eye to rolling it out at other HCA hospitals.
In addition to immediate communication of data such as vital signs and lab results, the app also provides a patient condition interface that can be regularly updated, coordinating all of the providers working with that patient at a given time.
“We call it a patient-specific care team,” said CEO Ron Remy. “You'll see a real-time of all the other members of the care team, and their status — are they online, or out of the hospital, or busy with a patient.”
Remy says the product improves a hospital's efficiency by having doctors and nurses spend less time trying to coordinate care and making more time for the patient.
“Smartphone products give clinicians a lot of control over care,” he said. “We’re trying to streamline the communication process and the efficiency of reaching the right person at the right time.”
Airstrip calls San Antonio home but it has plenty of Nashville connections that have helped it create and deploy the first enterprise-wide clinical mobility solution that is agnostic when it comes to vendors, platforms and data sources. Local hospital giant HCA was an early investor in the company through its Health Capital Insight subsidiary and has adopted the technology for use by physicians in its hospitals. Other Nashville customers include Vanguard Health Systems —Keith Pitts, vice chairman of parent company Tenet, is an AirStrip board member — and Ardent Health Services.
On a national scale, well-known firm Sequoia Capital is also an investor, and AirStrip’s numerous partners now include Microsoft, Samsung, AT&T and GE Healthcare. The combination is a software system that provides access to patient information anytime, anywhere. Live data feeds allows real-time decision-making and care coordination between clinicians across the care continuum via a single mobile interface.
AirStrip shows no signs of slowing down. More providers signed on with the company last year than any year before and the industry’s shift toward mobility has built momentum. Says CEO Alan Portela: “Providers now understand that mobility is no longer a ‘nice-to-have.’ AirStrip has demonstrated the value necessary to become a ‘must-have’ component of the transformation to new patient care and business models.