HealthDecision Founder Hangs Up the White Coat to Focus on Startup
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replace a dizzying array of tables, diagrams, and mathematical formulas with a more simple software application.
“Selfishly, it was just so I could have tools that could [help me] do a better job with my patients,” he says. “All the way through my career as a physician, I’ve been working on ways that computers can help doctors and their patients make better decisions together.”
Around 1998, Keevil started using a Hewlett-Packard 200LX—“basically a glorified calculator that looked like a [Nintendo] Game Boy,” he says—to determine the risk of various treatment options, which he calculated by plugging in attributes specific to the patient he was seeing. The software evolved over the years, as the Web and electronic spreadsheets became ubiquitous tools for doing business.
Keevil says that one key milestone was integrating HealthDecision with UW Health’s patient records database, which runs on software developed by Epic Systems, in nearby Verona, WI. The work was funded through a grant from his employer.
“In 2010, we built a website here at UW that connected to our Epic installation,” he says. “It pops up inside of a patient’s chart—the chart and the documentation are together.”
In order for HealthDecision to have this functionality and be used at other hospitals and clinics—even those that also use Epic’s software—additional integration work is required. Keevil says that Epic sites were HealthDecision’s initial target, but that his company recently entered into discussions with a health system that uses patient records software made by Kansas City, MO-based Cerner (NASDAQ: CERN), the company many industry observers consider Epic’s chief competitor.
Besides UW Health, Keevil says that two other organizations are using HealthDecision’s software, though he declined to name them.
Keevil says HealthDecision plans to raise $250,000, mostly from colleagues, by selling a 10 percent stake in the company. He says that so far, the startup has raised $157,000 of the total.
That money will help fuel further development of HealthDecision’s tools. Keevil says the next module the company plans to introduce is also cancer-related—it is designed to help female patients decide when they should have mammograms.