Par8o, from Sermo Founders, Aims to be Patient-Physician Matchmakers

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goes to the critical step in treatment process and falls through the cracks,” he said.

That’s where Par8o comes in. The company hopes to use software to provide a “universal, very simple mechanism for healthcare providers to refer patients to one another,” Palestrant said.

“Not only can we make sure that the referral occurs, but doctors in all parties involved can track and manage that process,” he continued. “They can make sure the appointment actually occurred. We’re then able to allow the healthcare system to start introducing the Pareto efficiencies. In this case the specific challenge is what healthcare provider best suited to address this [patient's problem].”

So for example, if a doctor has a young, Spanish-speaking, female patient newly diagnosed with diabetes, he can refer her to a physician who frequently treats patients matching that demographic and health profile. In theory, that doctor would be much better suited to treating her than one used to treating diabetes in English-speaking, senior citizen populations, said Palestrant.

Palestrant and the others at Par8o see patient referrals as an area of healthcare that’s key to lowering costs and in much need of improvement. “It’s far more nuanced than writing a prescription, and much like matchmaking and dating,” Palestrant said. He also said that the company has thought of ways to work within the current insurance system, which often requires patients to see physicians within a specific network.

Palestrant and the rest of the par8o team originally began working on the concept as part of Sermo. They researched the medical referrals landscape throughout 2010 and started developing the software in early 2011. But later last year the company’s board recognized that ultimately Par8o’s business model and target customers would differ from Sermo’s, and approached Palestrant about the spinning the project off as a new company, he said.

Palestrant didn’t go into too many specifics on the Par8o business model, other than to say that different parties interested in the referral outcome (doctors, insurance companies, and hospitals, for example) could pay to “participate in the process.” Sermo meanwhile, targets drug makers, medical device companies, clinical research organizations, and other life sciences firms as its paying customers.

He also kept mum on the exact financial arrangement between … Next Page »

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