Houston’s Decisio Crunches Patient Data for Better Care

12/18/13Follow @angelashah

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aimed at reducing the occurrence of sepsis in patients at Houston Methodist Hospital from 2009 to 2013. “That was on paper,” Hancock says. “Electronically, I can take those protocols and do better than that.”

Decisio will analyze rates of sepsis in Hermann’s ICU following the installation of monitors there. In the meantime, the founders are speaking to Austin-based Seton Medical Center about conducting a similar pilot there. The 1,700-bed hospital is owned by Ascension Healthcare, one of the nation’s largest hospital groups.

As it implements these programs, Decisio has raised $1.35 million in a $2.2 million Series A round from high-net worth individuals in Texas to make software tweaks and for marketing.

It is also seeking FDA approval for the software as a class 2 medical device, which is how 43 percent of such devices are classified. (Powered wheelchairs and some pregnancy test kits are classified as class two.) The founders hope to secure this by summer. If it gets the approval, Decisio pans to sell the software at rates from $500 to $1,000 a bed, working in partnership with existing electronic medical records companies who have contracts with hospital chains.

The inspiration for what would become Decisio came a decade ago, when John Holcomb, director of the Center for Translational Injury Research and vice chair of the department of surgery at UT’s Health Science Center in Houston, was in charge of the hospital’s Life Flight program.

“As a trauma surgeon, I was frustrated with having to make decisions on a single point of data—do I cut the guy’s chest open based on a single data point?” he explains. “In my animal labs, I have beautiful continuous data. I realized I had better data on my rats than I did on my people.”

He wanted a patient dashboard, similar to the unit status reports he used during his decades serving in the military—most recently as Commander of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research—that provided a real-time update coded in red, yellow, and green to show urgency. Then Holcomb met Hari Radhakrishnan, a surgical resident at Hermann’s trauma department who happened to be a computer programmer before attending medical school, and they began to collaborate.

Radhakrishnan says the software improves communication between providers. “On any given trauma patient, multiple consulting services—trauma surgeons, emergency department staff, orthopedics, neurosurgery—can all see the dashboard and know what has happened,” he says. “Physicians do not need to spend valuable time bringing their colleagues up to speed.”

Hancock was introduced to Holcomb last year through his wife, an epidemiologist at UT. Hancock then brought in Haardt, who had also been involved in health IT startups in Houston. Hancock had been the director of operations at DNAtrix, while Haardt had founded two local medtech companies and, most recently, was COO of Prognosis Health Information Systems.

Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009 that provided incentives to hospitals to digitize patient care records helped pave the way for startups like Decisio, Hancock says. “Penetration of electronic records has jumped in four years,” he says. “That’s step one. We are doing things with the data that are useful, things you couldn’t do in a paper-based world.”

Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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