Big data entrepreneurs bring strategies from the mobile phone industry to healthcare

Less than a year after it was brought to life, the 20-person company Pervasive Health Inc. is rolling out a suite of products to make data interpretation and integration easier for health information exchanges, hospitals and community health providers.

The company has designed a platform that brings together siloed patient data, so that it can be shared and interpreted by people across an ecosystem  – even those who aren’t IT-minded.

A hospital might use the platform, for example, to generate insight around four questions: How am I (or the patient/population) doing? How do I compare? How do I improve? If I made a change, did it make a difference?


“They want to understand if their population is getting better or worse, and what’s the root cause of that?” Chief Marketing Officer Rick Halton said. “Another part of that is they want to know if they are compliant to existing best practices.”

Halton said he sees other applications in pharmaceutical and public data sets as well, for example in marrying patient data with pharmaceutical data to help clinicians identify which patients are well-suited for drug trials, once a very expensive and time-consuming task. “We can bring that cost close to zero by providing an application at point of care that allows a consultant or physician to do that automatically,” he said.

The company was actually inspired by work done by the founders and some of the original investors in the mobile communications data management, Halton said. CEO Paul Magelli and CFO Geoff Phillips came from UK-based mobile communications company Apertio, which was bought by Nokia Siemens for $205 million in 2008. Apertio made a business out of providing mobile networks with infrastructure to consolidate information about their subscribers.

“Pervasive started with the recognition that there’s a lot of information in healthcare and more is being digitized and turned into EHRs and information that can be utilized,” Halton said.

The goal was to build an ecosystem onto which other developers could commercialize their own applications. “There are a ton of people out there with great ideas on how data can be utilized, but they just can’t get to market because of the cost of integration of data for a niche application,” Halton explained.

The Chicago-based company, like other data analytics firms GNS Healthcare and Predixion Software to name a few, is hoping that it might be able to help bring the healthcare industry up to speed. “If you look at what’s happening within banking, mobile and internet, information is been used a lot more creatively,” Halton said. “In healthcare, there are security and privacy concerns, which I think is a reason to be cautious. We believe that secure, private clouds are the way to go.”

[Photo from pakorn]

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