Where should you go for kidney transplant? Startup is using CMS data to identify best outcomes | Med
April 19, 2013 8:30 am by Stephanie Baum | 2 Comments
A healthcare startup has developed a tool to help users facing complex procedures determine which providers have the best outcomes to meet their needs. The idea is that by choosing providers with the best track records, it could improve outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.
Konnectology analyzes claims and clinical data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to help users find out which providers have the best outcomes for transplants and other complex surgical procedures. The goal is to help users better manage stressful situations with an organized source of information when they are faced with a family emergency.
As scientist-entrepreneur Constantia Petrou, the CEO and founder of Konnectology sees it, the decision can make all the difference to the future health of a loved one and impact long-term outcomes. One motivation behind the business was her father. When he suffered a spinal cord injury, she found it challenging to make decisions that could influence his longterm outcome, despite having friends working in healthcare. One of the first steps she had to make was where he should be treated.
The company has seven staff including Petrou’s husband, Stefanos Zenios. It correlates claims data with clinical data for various conditions. It is scrubbed and analyzed to convert it into useful information. Every patient is different so the data is adjusted accordingly. Another aspect of the tool determines whether the patient’s insurance covers treatment at each provider. That component, according to Petrou, is not yet automated. Users send the request and the company responds by email.
Petrou makes a big distinction between what her company is offering and what, say, a provider rating website is offering for routine treatments.
“A lot of rating websites focus more on routine treatments and we focus on complex treatments,” said Petrou. “If I am dealing with heart failure, I am not so sure I would want just opinions. Do I need to know whether people were smiling when they cared for me or whether I will come out alive?”
The Burlingame, California-based company is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research Program. Its initial information for kidney transplants was unveiled in 2011 and a dialysis component went live last year. The next set of priorities include cardiac conditions, bariatric surgery and hip and knee replacements.
Although the payment model is evolving it will initially require users to put a little skin in the game to ensure they will value in the form of a $49.95 subscription fee for a three-month membership.
“It’s necessary for patients to pay a small subscription fee to gain the most from the [website].”
Petrou added in an e-mailed statement: “Succeeding at our goal of helping patients find the place where they can get best care will also help reduce our rapidly rising healthcare costs. For example, just with kidney transplantation alone (our first treatment guide), if most patients shift from centers with fair outcomes to those with best success, cost savings add up to $220 million per year.”