On its way to transforming healthcare, the StartUp Health Festival transformed a San Francisco coffee shop into a networking hub for new companies outside the annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. The venue swarmed with entrepreneurs and possible partners scoping out the scene Jan 11-12. It was SRO for a lineup of panels stacked with the top names on the week's health tech speakers’ circuit, including Khosla Ventures founder Vinod Khosla, athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush, and GE Ventures Director Ruchita Sinha. (Highlights here.) For Personal Medicine Plus Founders Brandi Harless and Natalie Hodge, the festival gave them a chance to get inspired by and exposed to new investment opportunities and business ideas outside their non-tech-hub headquarters in rural Kentucky. Below, we checked in with Kyle Kiser, VP of Sales & Strategy for Denver-based RxRevu, to learn more about his StartUp Health Academy company and his JP Morgan week experience:
Oliver Wyman Health: How has your Denver base helped or hindered your progress? What has this week in San Francisco been like for your team?
Kyle Kiser: Denver feels like an emerging market for digital health. Investor support for Welltok, a successful health tech firm based in Denver, is a shot in the arm for the area as a whole, as well as the community building around projects like Prime Health and Catalyst. Also, no one complains about having to visit Colorado. San Francisco, though, is the center of the healthcare universe this week. It’s exciting being here. What is noticeably different from anything I’ve experienced in my career is the willingness of legacy companies to collaborate. Partnership discussions are at a fever pitch. Innovation arms of providers and payers are eager to talk to new companies like us about new ways to address problems. It appears healthcare has a beginner’s mind. On the 32nd floor of the Westin, you can hear the story of every leader in the healthcare provider world. We’re most excited about pharmacy being addressed in unique ways. There’s going to be more creativity applied to pharmacy. The amount of enthusiasm in this city this week is remarkable. People are skipping to meetings. We’re meeting with potential investors, partners, and customers. It’s a great opportunity to connect names with faces.
OWH: How did your company get started?
KK: We are a physician-founded company. Our CMO Kevin O’Brien is a practicing allergist. He was manually creating a system to determine low-cost or more effective prescription alternatives in his own practice. With RxRevu, we transformed this manual process into a tech-enabled prescription decision support platform. We are creating the intelligent hub for prescribing. We drive claims, cost, and clinical protocols into the clinical workflow to help patients get the right medicine the first time.
OWH: What problem are you working to solve? What’s your mission?
KK: Right now doctors don’t have information at the point of care that they need to make value-based decisions around prescribing. They don’t have cost and quality information at the point of care. We drive information from population health managers to the point of care, leveraging existing alert systems in the electronic health record. We are working on evolving our solution to leverage big data to help make prescribing decisions.
OWH: What’s your solution and how does it work?
KK: This is a new space that is emerging around prescription decision support. We are a cloud-based platform that supports a prescribing hub for physicians. The platform is leveraged during the patient’s appointment to perform a real-time analysis, deciding which medicines to prescribe. We deliver a patient centered view of cost, quality, and appropriate clinical protocols. The tool also provides new and valuable insights into the prescribing behavior of other physicians.
OWH: Who are your customers? How does your solution fit into the healthcare value chain?
KK: Our main customers are risk-bearing providers. We are taking proven methods to optimizing prescription spend and virtualizing that information at the point of care.
OWH: How does your solution help advance the shift to value-based care?
KK: Our solution is designed for a post-ACA world. One healthcare expenditure that continues to grow at a frightening rate is the cost of drugs. Part of what we are doing is laying the groundwork to better understand the prescribing behavior of doctors and the efficacy of drugs. RxRevu can be described as a value-based pharmacy tool and, in the meantime, can be leveraged in fee-for-service settings to close gaps in care.
OWH: Where are you in the development process? What are your recent milestones?
KK: We are in the middle of our first deployments with early adopters. This year is going to be about articulating those experiences to the rest of market.We demonstrated the value of prescription decision support by implementing our solution with a high performance primary care practice in Denver. We were able to achieve a 5% reduction in cost within a six-month period. For most health systems facing 13% year-over-year growth in prescription drug costs, a 5% reduction represents a massive improvement in overall pharmacy spending. Cerner selected us as one of 12 apps to be highlighted at their annual conference in October. We continue to work closely with them to certify our solution and drive data interoperability within their SMART on FHIR initiatives. And also to note, UCHealth (Colorado) has provided a letter of support from the CIO, CMIO and a Pharmacy leader, outlining the need for our solution within the UCHealth system, to support a grant enabling a deployment with UC Health's Epic clinical workflow.
OWH: What does the future of healthcare look like to you?
KK: That’s a big question. How long do you have? The opening of healthcare data could change the entire industry if patients can take more control of their data and are able to find organizations that can steward that information in a way that is personal and relevant to them. We’ll start seeing more shared decision making between doctor and patient and an improved infrastructure that will support this higher quality engagement.
OWH: What advice do you have for other startup leaders?
KK: When someone tells you it can’t be done, find out for yourself. I think that’s why we have had success is because we have done the hardcore research to discover how information flows through the healthcare system.