The Great Unlock of Healthcare Data

By Dr. Nick van Terheyden aka Dr. Nick
Twitter: @drnic1
Host of Dr. Nick: The Incrementalist#TheIncrementalist

On this episode I spoke to Nate Fox (@NateTheFox) the Chief Technology Officer for Ribbon Health (@RibbonHealthAPI) a company connecting the dots in healthcare with data access. Congratulations are also in order as they just received $43.5 Million in Series B funding.

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Nate is an engineer by training who worked at Microsoft and got interested in data problems and solving problems with data. He met his co-founder while studying for his MBA at Harvard Business School – both finding a common interest in removing the friction from the healthcare, and specifically the challenge of navigation. Between them they saw different experiences in navigating the healthcare system that even when it was good still required a lot of iteration and work. A process that for many was frustrating and difficult and there were no solutions much less data to help.

Together they formed Ribbon Health to focus on delivering data to others to help them make decisions and navigate the complex world of healthcare with informed decisions. In the original concept they were trying to create a Kayak for healthcare to make the process of finding and selecting clinicians and care as easy as it is for travel choices. They were able to extract “messy” data from a wide variety of sources and start to make sense of it. Not an easy task when you consider that a single doctor will have multiple location and telephone numbers associated with them. As they started sharing the insights on their aggregated data that they processed using Machine Learning and AI tools they developed rank orders and quality indicators that their customers started asking about and they realized that the problem to solve was one of building a data ecosystem to offer to other healthcare companies to enable their solutions.

The Data Plumbers of Healthcare

Aggregating data from thousands of sources they turned plain unstructured PDF files into data rich containers of JSON data using advanced machine learning techniques and then offered this as an API to their customers enabling them to deliver better solutions. Interestingly their model includes customer contributions and feedback on the data that is more advanced than a wiki style approach but rather a machine enabled curated data improvement process.

Listen in to hear how Ribbon Health wants to be the connective tissue of healthcare, democratizing access to the data to make healthcare a more frictionless experience or as Nate puts it

The Great Unlock of Digital Health

About the Show
For years Dr. Nick van Terheyden aka Dr. Nick, has served as a voice on the impact of new technologies on healthcare, earning a reputation as a leading authority on where the future of medicine is going. Combining powers of observation and real world experience, Dr. Nick has seen many predictions come true and makes the case that innovations in healthcare can be accomplished incrementally, not just by moonshot events. Tune in to hear Dr. Nick: The Incrementalist and his guests discuss what the future of healthcare looks like, how we will get there, and what it will take to improve healthcare for all.

This article was originally published on the Dr. Nick – The Incrementalist blog and is republished here with permission.