How hc1 is generating actionable healthcare insights to support precision medicine

At the intersection of health tech and diagnostics, hc1’s CEO Brad Bostic talked about the company’s origins and how it works with medical laboratories, hospitals and health plans.

In response to emailed questions, hc1 CEO and Founder Brad Bostic talked about how his company is addressing some of the challenges in precision medicine.

Why did you start this company?

I founded hc1 based on my own frustrations navigating one-size-fits-all, trial-and-error patient care. Having witnessed first-hand the challenges of fragmented data amid a family member’s illness, I made advancing precision medicine a personal mission because it has the power to save lives and eliminate wasteful practices. Much of the high-value care movement has focused on cutting unsustainable healthcare costs through efficient processes, which is necessary but not sufficient. Hc1 was founded on the belief that the biggest success will be achieved by improving patient outcomes through the delivery of precision health to each individual. It’s why we chose to become the best in the world at delivering lab insights by leveraging the rich patient data that exists in laboratory databases and systems to advance personalized medicine. It is exciting to see our strategy and the hard work of our dedicated team delivering on the promise that we envisioned.  Fast forward across our 10-year history to 2021, and the hc1 platform has generated actionable healthcare insights to improve care for more than 160 million patients.

Brad Bostic

What need/problem are you seeking to address in healthcare?

The foundation of the hc1 Precision Health Cloud is the recognition that every patient is unique and should be treated that way. With this foundation, hc1 has taken the lead in bringing to market a new class of solutions —Precision Health Insight Networks (PHINs). This clinical tool is ushering in a new era of scalable precision medicine.

PHINs enable delivery of mass personalization by aggregating previously siloed health data and transforming it into the insights and signals that direct physicians to make care decisions that cater to each patient’s unique needs. For example, precision testing and prescribing bring together the patient information and clinical guidelines needed to ensure that a patient is prescribed the safest, most appropriate and cost-effective medications based on their own individual genetics, lifestyle and other factors. By putting these insights directly in front of the healthcare provider as part of their regular workflow, this takes the guesswork out of trying one drug or another to gain the clinical impact needed (such as lowering cholesterol effectively), or helps to avoid the drug that may cause a severe bleed or other morbid side effect.

An individual’s unique genetic profile influences their ability to metabolize many common prescription drugs. The individualized genetic code determines how each patient uniquely metabolizes medications into their “active” form in the body. In some cases, a person’s unique genetic code may even convert a usually safe medication into a form that could cause severe life threatening side effects. Precision prescribing ensures patients receive the right prescriptions at the right dose at the right time based on these specific genetic characteristics.

Advancing these models is critical given that 82% of the U.S. population is on at least one prescription medication, and the FDA says that half of these prescriptions are ineffective or harmful. hc1 introduced a guided prescribing solution to market in the form of hc1 PrecisionRx Advisor to advance the promise of precision prescribing, replacing the traditional trial-and-error prescribing model by personalizing a patient’s medications down to their unique genetic mutations.

It is the only unified platform that combines patient-specific data from conventional medication therapy management, pharmacogenomics and lab testing with integrated engagement and monitoring workflows to provide recommendations that can improve a patient’s prescription plan and overall care. Uniquely, hc1 is able to combine the specifics of precision prescribing with follow-up laboratory data-tracking. This data-tracking measures and demonstrates the enhanced clinical outcomes achieved with the change of medication (e.g., a cholesterol level that rapidly falls after changing to a better genetically matched cholesterol lowering medication.)

What does your product do? How does it work?

At the outset of the high-value care movement, healthcare organizations focused on increasing value simply by cutting costs, in many cases by terminating caregivers, but we knew that sustainable value enhancement could only come from reducing cost by improving outcomes. That is why we created the hc1 Precision Health Cloud—to drive high-value care for patients by making sure healthcare professionals had immediate access to complete data, patient information, and specific patient insights.

Hc1’s solutions —hc1 Operations Management, hc1 Analytics, hc1 PrecisionDx Advisor, and hc1 PrecisionRx Advisor—have helped forge a broad set of lab and health system partnerships.  

  • hc1 Operations Management is designed to automatically organize the massive volumes of data generated by labs into rich provider and patient profiles.  Equipped with this data, hc1 generates insights, analytics, and alerts leading to better service for providers and improved diagnostics for patients.
  • hc1 Analytics automates reporting and enables key performance indicator (KPI) tracking in real-time, equipping labs with the metrics and proactive services required to serve providers and patients.
  • hc1 PrecisionDx Advisor leverages hc1’s unparalleled scale, with more than 25 billion lab results processed to-date, expertise, and advanced machine learning to ensure each patient is receiving the precise testing that will support the most accurate diagnosis leading to the correct treatment and better outcomes.
  • hc1 PrecisionRx Advisor is extremely valuable in advancing precision prescribing. Use of the tool set will greatly reduce the percentage of pharmaceuticals prescribed that are either ineffective or could potentially be harmful. Instead, a precise formula of drugs can be prescribed based on that patient’s individual genetic code that delivers the right prescriptions at the right dose at the right time. Pharmacogenomic (PGx)) testing identifies how a body will process and react to prescribed medication. With PGx and a complete patient diagnostic history, clinicians can personalize the treatment they recommend. Patient’s medications are personalized specifically to their individualized genetic code — down to their unique genetic mutations — improving outcomes and reducing costs.

Hc1 is continuously focusing on the company’s mission of ensuring patients get the right test and right prescription at the right time. In response to Covid-19, hc1 utilized the data gathered and ingested through the hc1 Platform to create the CV19 Lab Testing Dashboard powered by hc1. The company’s dedication to improving care for patients influenced the decision to provide this dashboard as a free resource to public health, public policy, healthcare, and laboratory decision-makers who need hyper-local insights into Covid-19 testing rates, positivity rates, and risk of increasing viral activity.

Building off the success of the dashboard, hc1 identified an opportunity to help mitigate the virus’s spread within micro-communities like workplaces or universities by introducing a  return-to-work solution to measure and report the risk of Covid-19 infection both at the workplace and in the local communities where employees reside.

Who is your customer? 

Hc1’s customers include medical laboratories, health plans, and health systems, all of which are under extreme pressure to deliver the highest level of quality patient care at the lowest cost in today’s constantly evolving landscape. Clients including Quest Diagnostics, Sonora Quest Laboratories, and DrugScan are utilizing the insights hc1 provides to inform growth-oriented decisions that further boost their ROI.

With the onslaught of Covid-19, diagnostic labs were initially thrust into the spotlight as a major bottleneck in our nation’s effort to detect and mitigate further spread of the virus.  This was largely a function of the need to configure and procure new equipment and the subsequent shortage of testing supplies available in the supply chain. As these supply chain, instrumentation, staffing, and funding issues were addressed, our greatest challenges shifted to the providers who are working tirelessly to serve patients in need.  

For providers, siloed clinical data represents one of the greatest challenges. Patients with chronic conditions often see multiple physicians, take many different medications, and get diagnostic test results from various labs and other diagnostic centers. Physicians are forced to make rapid decisions based on incomplete information and attempt to piece together a clinical puzzle that inevitably misses key components and creates a greater risk for errors. 

While the current situation may appear dire, there is hope in emerging solutions that span multiple data sets to provide a unified view of the patient story.

Lab data drives 70% of the diagnostic and therapeutic decisions made by physicians and other healthcare professionals and is an incredibly powerful source of the patient’s ‘clinical story. Hidden risks that may not be immediately realized by physicians at the point-of-care can be identified through the insights lab data provides. Through advanced diagnostics, automated cloud computing, and machine learning, these test results can construct specific patient insights to the physician. This enhances a more comprehensive view of the patient’s clinical condition that the physician either doesn’t have the time, or the complete database to determine independently. Important issues are brought forward that require clinical interventions that may save lives while also reducing healthcare expenses. 

Photo: SusanneB, GettyImages