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Phase Forward (NASDAQ:PFWD), who joined the company last November. Weintraub’s own successful career includes serving as CEO of Watertown, MA-based healthcare informatics firm Pharmetrics, which was acquired by Norwalk, CT-based IMS Health (NYSE:RX) for an unspecified amount in 2005. North Bridge Venture Partners was an investor in both Phase Forward and Pharmetrics before backing Humedica. Humedica’s team also includes executives from Leerink, Pharmetrics, Cambridge, MA-based healthcare network provider NaviNet, and others.
While stacked with talent, Humedica faces the challenge of getting hospitals and other healthcare organizations to provide the firm with patient data. In addition its partnership with the AMGA, the company has also reached an agreement to provide its informatics platform to Christus Health, an Irving, TX-based group that manages 40 hospitals, says Weintraub. Humedica plans to provide access to its system to groups like Christus in exchange for access to their patient records as well as certain fees. Securing data from more groups such as Christus will give the company larger sample sizes to be analyzed with its software, making it more valuable to customers such as life sciences companies that want detailed insights into the entire U.S. market.
The company’s analytics tools are designed to give participating medical groups insights into their own patient populations, as well as to help them compare their costs and care standards to those at other healthcare organizations. Hospitals, for example, can use the company’s platform for real-time patient surveillance to alert doctors that, say, a patient needs a certain treatment. Medical groups can also view the connections between the costs of patient care and the clinical outcomes of their care. It will be cheaper for hospitals to pay Humedica for access to its systems than to build such informatics and surveillance capabilities themselves, Weintraub says.
It was no surprise to hear that securing patient data is a major emphasis for Humedica, given the strict rules and standards for security and privacy in the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA. To integrate layers upon layers of security to meet the requirements of HIPAA, the company has been working with legendary BBN Technologies, of Cambridge. The security for the system involves the use of technology to de-identify patients for certain people who view the information. This prevents, say, an investment analyst using the company’s informatics system for market research from seeing records on individual patients. Yet caregivers who have certain access privileges to the system will be able to view data on their individual patients.
Allen Kamer, a co-founder and vice president of corporate marketing and development at the company, says its informatics technology could also be useful in so-called “comparative effectiveness” studies that compare how well different healthcare products such as drugs treat the same illnesses. The President’s $787 billion economic stimulus package includes $1.1 billion for comparative effectiveness research. Kamer is investigating ways that Humedica could benefit from this federal spending.
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