Clinical decision support startup collaborates with Epic, Allscripts to better connect clinical guidelines and EMRs

Investors in Avanha’s seed round included GlaxoSmithKlein’s venture arm SR One, Boston Millennia Partners Founders Fund, TEDCO, DreamIt Ventures, and angel investors.

A technology startup that graduated from the DreamIt Health Baltimore accelerator has raised a seed round to support the development of its clinical decision support platform connecting electronic medical records with clinical guidelines, according to a company statement. The company has also worked with EMR vendors to hone its software.

It hopes to add a couple of hospitals to its platform by the end of the year.

Avhana Health raised $750,000 from a group of investors that included DreamIt Ventures as well as GlaxoSmithKlein’s venture arm SR One, Boston Millennia Partners Founders Fund, TEDCO, and angel investors such as Wilmington Investor Network.

In response to emailed questions, Avhana Health CEO and co-founder Noah Weiner explained the company’s challenge. He noted that doctors are required to use electronic medical records and are paid to follow clinical guidelines, but there isn’t an electronic connection between the two things. So it developed a platform that sits of top of the EMR and provides patient and physician specific recommendations.

Weiner added that the company plans to use the seed funding to gather enough data around its product so it can develop an accurate business model to successfully scale the business. Its goal is for its product to go live in a couple of hospitals by the end of the year.

He explained how its software platform works:

The physician clicks an embedded link inside the electronic medical record. It pulls out the patient’s complete medical record through the EMR provider’s proprietary API. Avhana’s software runs the data through its guideline engine to determine which guidelines apply. Then it creates a provider/patient specific checklist that informs the clinician which guidelines apply. The clinician chooses the guidelines they want to follow, and then the software sends the specific follow-up action (such as an order) back into the EMR to be queued up.

The company’s two-way communication between its platform and the electronic medical record was helped a great deal through its collaboration with EMR vendors Allscripts, Epic, and Greenway Health. Not a bad set of collaboration partners for an early stage company. In response to the company’s ability to collaborate with these industry heavyweights, Weiner said:

“We understood to be successfully in this space we had to get the EMR vendors on board with what we are doing. EMRs are really good at what they originally were designed to do, but clinical decision support is not one of those activities.

“The first thing we did was to reach out to all the EMRs and explained what we are doing and why they should work with us and to our surprise a lot of them agreed with what we were doing. It was a major political challenge at first but all of them have gotten significantly better in the last year.”

The company also participated in a couple of pilot programs with the Office of National Coordinator and Office of Population Health Affairs. The ONC pilot was in support of the Health eDecisions initiative — to standardize how clinical guidelines are represented. The goal, the statement explained, is to create a library of machine-readable guidelines to download and create an intervention based on the guideline. The Population Health Affairs pilot last year focused on the clinical quality framework initiative.

Photo: Flickr user Joriel “Joz” Jimenez