Top Story, Patient Engagement

San Diego startup Seqster wants to be the Mint.com of healthcare

The company launched its platform earlier this year and claims to be able to integrate data from a range of sources including genomics data, electronic medical records and consumer wearables.

The idea of personal health records has long held promise for industry innovators looking to put more data and power in the hands of patients. Technological advances like cloud-based computing has brought the concept closer to reality, but the dream has still remained largely out of reach.

Some of the major companies that have taken a stab at the problem (with limited success) include Microsoft and Google, and currently, Apple through its Health Records program.

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San Diego, California-based Seqster is one of the newest entrants to the market with what it’s saying is a different approach. The company was founded in 2016 and has raised around $4 million in seed funding to support its growth.

Seqster, which bills itself as the “Mint.com of healthcare” launched earlier this year and claims to be able to integrate data from a range of sources including genomics data, electronic medical records and consumer wearables onto their platform. 

With the company’s technology, users can connect those various data inputs in one single place, allowing them to get a high-level perspective on their health.

“On Seqster because we have standardized and harmonized all those various different data sources on the back end we’re able to organize and visualize that health data for you so that you can actually control and be the CEO of your health,” Seqster CEO Ardy Arianpour said in a phone interview.

Seqster isn’t alone in trying to bring health information online in an easily accessible format. Competitors include San Francisco startups PicnicHealth and PatientBank, as well as the aforementioned Apple.

But Arianpour said he isn’t concerned about the company’s comparisons to Apple Health records. In fact, he’s flattered that the 25-person startup would be mentioned in the same breath as the world’s most valuable company.

However he draws a distinction in a few key areas, including the fact that the company’s technology is platform agnostic and able to utilize a wider range of data sources than Apple’s current capabilities.

He pointed to the Apple’s recent announcement of its new Apple Watch’s heart monitoring capabilities as yet another data source that can be integrated within Seqster.

Another differentiator is the company’s focus on multi-generational health, where families can aggregate data and make better care decisions due to increased knowledge about potential risk factors and other health information.

According to Arianpour, the company has signed up over 2,000 hospitals and 8,000 clinics and small practices to integrate their data onto Seqster.

The company makes money by selling their platform to organizations who pay to have members on the platform. Another potential business line is offering up that integrated health data to researchers.

A few of the company’s early customers include a research collaboration with Boston University to try and identify digital biomarkers for traumatic brain injuries. Another partnership is with the San Diego Blood Bank, which has opened up the Seqster platform to its 50,000 donors, according to a news release.

The startup also recently joined the American Heart Association’s Center for Health Technology & Innovation, an initiative by the organization to enlist promising health tech companies, industry experts and clinical thought leaders to innovate on heart health issues.

Patrick Wayte, Senior Vice President of the American Heart Association’s Center for Health Technology & Innovation said the organization is trying to work with companies across the spectrum in their effort to advance work on healthcare.

“As we know, innovation isn’t limited to only established players. If a company has technology that has the potential to expand the usage of AHA’s evidence-based, scientific approaches, we’d be interested in exploring ways to work together,” Wayte wrote in an email.

As a member of the center, Seqster will have access to AHA’s digital health content and evidence-based CarePlans as part of the effort to help patients better manage and understand their health.

Photo: turk_stock_photographer, Getty Images