Sunday, August 28, 2016

Do Investors and Their Advisors Understand Basics of Healthcare Data & IT?

If you’re involved with healthcare information technology and read the industry postings, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Apple’s acquisition of a company called Gliimpse. Fast Company broke the story about a week ago in this post: Apple Acquires Personal Health Data Startup Gliimpse

What do Investors and PR People Know About Health IT?

I’ve seen several people quoted about what this means and how great it is for Apple. Greg Slabodkin wrote a post on Health Data Management titled “How Apple’s purchase of startup reveals health data strategy” in which the CEO of a 'capital group,' Raj Prabhu, stated: “Looks like Apple is beefing up its health tech ambitions with the purchase of Gliimpse

Really? How insightful! That quote from Raj Prabhu could have just as well came from Captain Obvious. What experience and expertise in healthcare data acquisition, normalization, storage and delivery does he have? I checked LinkedIn and don’t see any related experience.

It's Not So Easy to Do

I don’t think many people understand the technical difficulties and challenges in doing what Gliimpse is trying to do – at scale:

1. Physically accessing a wide range of EHR's securely and efficiently on behalf of specific individuals.

2. Locating data within the various nooks and crannies of that EHR (regardless of ‘standards’)

3. How much variability can exist within the common HL7 and other standards in which data is stored in an EHR

4. Converting/translating various structured and semi-structured data so it can be stored so as to lend itself to meaningful processing and display in any ‘dashboards’

5. Getting updates to patient data after the initial EHR access and updating the patient's source data.

6. The on-going support and maintenance required to maintain effective EHR data access and acquisition. Updates and upgrades can break even the most loosely-coupled integrations.

Let's Hear from Some Real 'Experts'

“Investors” and PR people rarely seem to have a good perspective on what’s really needed to implement what some people dream up. I’d like to hear what people like Fred Trotter, Jonathan Bush, Jerome Carter, John Moehrke and some others with real-world, hands-on experience working with EHR’s have to say about the Gliimpse purchase by Apple.

It's Happened Before and It Will Happen Again

Over and over across the last two decades, I’ve seen VC investor-types ‘invest’ tens of millions of dollars in companies with flawed business models or good business models that are next to impossible to implement at scale. And it continues.

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