How did you get the idea for the software that HealthTensor has been developing?
I and two of my friends – one a buddy of mine from MIT and the other from the Boston area – saw that doctors typically spend 10-15 minutes with a patient, glancing at the electronic medical records, perhaps asking a few questions. There’s no way in that short amount of time they could find out everything that is going on with a patient. So, we wanted to come up with a set of artificial intelligence algorithms that would help doctors make sure that any symptoms or lab data that they might have overlooked still gets detected.
How does your software do this?
We mine the electronic medical record for any markers that might indicate a disease or chronic condition. For example, maybe there’s a high sodium marker that the doctor missed. Left undetected, that can cause serious health complications. Our program makes sure that sodium level is not missed and then flags it for the doctor. We’ve been identifying in our pilot programs 10 medical conditions per doctor per day that doctors overlook.
Is there a risk of flagging too many symptoms and not spotting the most consequential?
If by that you mean does our program generate false positives? Yes, that happens. But that’s why we tell the doctors that our program is like a smart medical student: It can give the physician the notes, but it’s up to the physicians to check into it and verify the condition findings. The whole point is to bring this finding to the physician’s attention.
How essential are electronic medical records systems for HealthTensor?
I think it’s fair to say that our company would not exist without those electronic medical records systems. Eventually, we might incorporate data from wearable devices that are not hooked into EMR systems, such as Fitbits.
Who are your customers?
At this time, we don’t market directly to physicians. Our initial target is hospitals. And we are also on the app stores of both Epic (Systems Corp.) and Cerner (Corp.), the two largest electronic medical records systems. Eventually, we plan to market to physician practices.
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