By Scott Meacham
Remember when doctors charted patient visits with handwritten notes that were filed in color-coded hanging folders that filled up miles of metal cabinets in doctors’ offices, hospital basements, and beyond?
With the mandated healthcare industry transition from paper to digital record-keeping several years ago, all that changed.
Electronic medical records (EMRs, the digital version of a patient’s chart) and electronic health records (EHRs, a more comprehensive view of a patient’s medical history designed to be shared between authorized providers), have streamlined the real-time sharing of information between the various participants in healthcare.
With an online medical history at their fingertips—from prescriptions, to surgeries, to lab results—physicians can better diagnose and treat their patients. Provider organizations can achieve higher-quality levels of care, and payers can more readily authorize payment.
However, there’s so much more intelligence to be gleaned from all that data—from more effective hospital management to groundbreaking therapies to battle disease. The challenge is that algorithms and decision-support tools are predicated on the belief that all the billions of bytes of electronic data were going to be clean and complete, but this is not the data reality.
Verinovum, a Tulsa startup founded in 2013, has created a solution to meet the increasing need for clinical data integration and interoperability between payers, providers, accountable care organizations, and clinically integrated networks.
“To use an oil metaphor,” said Mike Noshay, chief customer officer of Verinovum, “anyone with enough money can drill a hole in the ground and reach oil. But it takes tremendous know-how to get that asset out of the ground and then refine it for use.”
Virtually every cohort in the healthcare industry recognizes that improved standardization, compatibility, and access to the massive amounts of healthcare data could have an unprecedented impact on outcomes and costs.
Verinovum is focused on data quality, rather than on forcing data into a certain tool. In lay terms, Verinovum extracts the data, assembles, scrubs, and curates it, and then ships it back to the payer or provider, securely and in compliance with HIPAA rules.
“We are an appliance to ensure the completeness, fidelity, and plausibility of the data,” Noshay said.
Verinovum bootstrapped for the first four years after its founding. “Every dollar we made was put back into the business,” Noshay said. Then, over the course of 18 months, we flew 150 flight legs all over the country to bring in the right Series A investors.”
An engaged and industry-savvy board of directors have had such an important impact on the young company. Verinovum’s board members bring international stature, including a presidential appointee to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a principal founder in the healthcare actuary business, the former CEO and president of INTEGRIS Health, and the manager of the George Kaiser Family Foundation’s investment portfolio, who was formerly portfolio manager for the Bill Gates investment office.
The team at Verinovum (totaling 60+ people now, most based in Tulsa) are bona fide experts in healthcare data quality. They have worked with data from more than five billion clinical transactions at Verinovum. They know what they are doing, and they are good at it. That drives confidence in the marketplace.
Managing healthcare data may be like arm wrestling an 800-pound gorilla—but it doesn’t take an 800-pound gorilla to compete and change an industry.
This Oklahoma startup is proof.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org