Imagine knowing that all the data you need to do your job better was locked in a system that you couldn’t access. That’s the frustrating reality for many healthcare workers who aren’t able to extract useful data from their hospital’s electronic medical records systems.
Seattle startup MDMetrix just landed $3 million to make medical records more useful with a product that lets caregivers ask data-driven questions about their patients.
Warren Ratliff. (Warren Ratliff Photo)
The seed round was led by Founders’ Co-op along with investors Arnold Venture Group and WRF Capital. Warren Ratliff, CEO at MDMetrix, said the company plans to use the money to speed up its plans and apply artificial intelligence to help clinicians filter out “the signal from the noise” of patient data.
The idea behind MDMetrix is to give healthcare workers the ability to track improvements over time. “We give clinicians visibility they’ve never had before into what’s going on. They’re able to ask questions on the fly. They’re able to really manage clinical operations in a continuously improving way,” said Ratliff.
The company, which has raised more than $4 million to date, was started in 2016 by Dr. Dan Low, an anesthesiologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital. It employs around a dozen full-time and contract staff. Seattle Children’s uses MDMetrix at its main campus hospital and surgery center, but the company declined to talk about its other customers.
Dr. Dan Low, an anesthesiologist and co-founder of MDMetrix. (GeekWire Photo / Clare McGrane)
Electronic health records are a popular punching bag. They’ve been blamed for everything from increased burnout among doctors to higher medical bills.
“Something’s gone terribly wrong. Doctors are among the most technology-avid people in society; computerization has simplified tasks in many industries. Yet somehow we’ve reached a point where people in the medical profession actively, viscerally, volubly hate their computers,” wrote Haven CEO Atul Gawande in The New Yorker last fall. Haven is a healthcare joint venture between Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway.
Ratliff says the frustration doesn’t just come from the countless hours spent clicking around poorly-designed interfaces. Doctors are also fed up with not being able to use data from the health record to answer questions.
Ratliff joined the company last August. He was previously co-founder and COO of Caradigm, a healthcare joint venture between GE Healthcare and Microsoft.
MDMetrix essentially tries to make it as easy as possible for a licensed practitioner to find answers to basic questions related to patient care. Ratliff said the interface was designed to be as easy to use as the Airbnb app. The platform also brings together key metrics into a control center for leaders and staff to monitor.
The idea is to avoid a situation in which important questions go unasked and unanswered. With more useful data, clinicians can more easily establish best practices.
Ratliff contrasts the situation facing medical professionals with that of a chief financial officer, who has tools to easily see high-level profit-and-loss statements as well as granular expenses.
“In medicine, we’ve tolerated a system where clinicians don’t have the visibility you would expect in any other kind of industry or business,” Ratliff said. “Imagine trying to run a complex financial organization with a spreadsheet. There are just better ways of doing that.”