Sramana: You have described several different progression points in healthcare IT. Have you seen multiple companies created in the marketplace to address each point?
Ido Schoenberg: Some aspects of it, such as EMR [electronic medical records], spawned an entire industry, with multiple businesses competing. In other spaces there were niche players like iMDSoft. Healthcare IT continued to move forward, and that is one of the reasons I founded CareKey. I realized that while you can automate an ICU, the patient does not stay there [very] long. That patient has a life before they come to the hospital as well as after they are discharged. I was looking for a way to help healthcare providers manage patients outside [in] their daily lives.
Insurance companies discovered that it actually makes sense to influence use of health services by having a dialogue with members. This was the onset of care management capabilities into the marketplace, and that occurred at the same time we started CareKey. Our goal was to open a consumer interface to members of the healthcare community. Insurers were trying to accurately measure the risk of their members while maintaining a relationship with employers to sell insurance at an attractive price with options for different use. The problem is that insurers were very passive at trying to change the outcomes.
To change the outcomes, insurers needed to have a dialogue with the members they were insuring. CareKey created a consumer portal that allowed nurses and care managers to document [interactions] and interact with their members online. They could help manage a patient’s case, critical events in their life, or a complicated disease such as diabetes. In those portals patients were able to find content and video relevant to their situations. They were also able to have live communications with their nurse practitioner. That was a significant enhancement over the traditional method of receiving information via mail or getting a message left on an answering machine. They were now able to enjoy a highly interactive and personal environment. Insurance companies also had a new way to reach out and have dialogues with their members to effectively produce outcome.
There was a lot of work to be done on the delivery side. Products in the healthcare IT space evolved from data collection into expert systems that provided decision support and multidisciplinary collaboration. Everything centered on improved outcome and efficiency. It allowed payers to find a way to reach patients in their home to improve their outcome. Payers would implement our platform, and make it available as part of a portal for members. We also created some sophisticated systems on the care management side.
Sramana: What kind of market penetration does this system have among the payers today?
Ido Schoenberg: It has been close to seven years since we sold the company. When we sold it, we had 45 million people on the platform. It was very well established.