I just read a very interesting article in the December 30, 2016 issue of Forbes titled Refer Madness written by Matthew Herper.  The Byline says “Should Big Data Pick Your Next Doctor?” The story is about Owen Tripp who is a Silicon Valley pioneer who has founded and cofounded some successful dotcoms.  His latest company, Grand Rounds raised $100 million at a valuation of about $1 billion and is already very successful.  It is a very compelling story.  I am also going to explain why I am so excited about this article and what it could mean to Empathic.

Grand Rounds is focused on matching patients with the right doctors.  The company uses a database of some 700,000 physicians and merges it with insurance-claims data and biographical information to grade doctors based on the quality of their work.  It helps people find a physician who will give them the right diagnosis the first time around and link patients with experts who can give second opinions. It cost $600 to get a doctor recommendation and $7,500 to get a second opinion.  Employers such as Comcast, SC Johnson, Wal-Mart, News Corp, etc. pay for the service on a per-employee basis because they believe it cuts down on incorrect diagnoses and unnecessary procedures which would reduce overall medical costs.

In the late 80’s I had an epiphany on how wonderful it would be if every symptom, diagnosis, treatment plan and subsequent result for patients could be merged into a “best results platform” database.  I had this epiphany due to an early stage company called Cardinal Health Systems that I raised capital for in the mid 80’s.  Cardinal was basically an effort to build a continuing education and medical specialty training system for doctors that was to be run on a desktop computer in the early days of personal computers.  And that is what started me thinking that we should find a way to turn that information into a means to facilitate better outcomes.

That idea stayed with me and was a major reason why I decided to help launch Empathic Software when Debra Lindell came to see me in May 2008 to present her idea for a digital medical record system specifically for the mental health field.   When she came to me she also had a plan that included a large database which automatically provided information feedback to the therapist that included observations directly from the content of the DSM.  That resource was not well received by therapists and, in as much as it was an additional expense and an elective option, was not offered in later iterations of the software.  I believe that Empathic is positioned to play a significant role in the development of the analyses required to automatically assess the volumes of mental health diagnoses, assessments, and treatment plans to determine the very best protocols and, consequently, the best outcomes.  And, in so doing, Empathic could become the bellwether in the initiation of the processing, the gathering of the critical information and the subsequent matching of the results of every step of all medical treatment processes with those that provided the best results.  Sharing just the case matters information (i.e. sex, age, body type, blood type, other afflictions such as diabetes, heart problems etc., symptoms, psychoses, diagnoses and treatment plans) that cannot in any way be matched up to the actual individual, would be HIPAA compliant and would allow for the case information itself to be shared among similar symptoms information which would result in more consistent, positive outcomes for all patients.  Grand Rounds is a smart idea but is not the ultimate solution.  What I am proposing herein is the ultimate solution.

Attachment: Grand Rounds Forbes Article



Paul Crawford is both a venture capitalist and an entrepreneur and has been working with developing business since the late 70's.