Following the 2015 release of its cognitive computing platform, Iris, Silicon Valley based Apixio Inc. is now on the verge of receiving the necessary financial backing to push itself to the forefront of health data utilization.
On Tuesday, the company announced its fifth round of investment, also known as Series D funding, totaling $19.3 million. It comes on the back of the success of Apixio’s HCC Profiler Solution, a method of computing patient risk scores by looking at chronic condition data, clinical medical charts and medical billing data. This helps streamline processes for care delivery and provider payment for patients enrolled in Medicare Advantage.
With the latest round of funding, Apixio is looking to expand its operations.
“We see ourselves using this round of investment on product development,” Apixio CEO Darren Schulte told Healthcare Daily Online. “We want to grow our team of engineers, but in order to bring what we’ve created to more healthcare providers, we also need to accelerate our sales and marketing efforts to meet demand and get the product out there and into the hands of organizations who can make use of the solutions we’re creating.”
The Future of Health IT
Currently, Apixio has 24 clients around the country, consisting primarily of physicians groups and health insurance providers. In all, Apixio has already analyzed six million patient records, allowing its platform to mine data and provide doctors and health insurance companies with a more complete view of their patients.
At present, physicians are not using Apixio’s technology for day-to-day care. Instead, the platform is aimed at providing a clearer picture and best avenue of care for health plans and the healthcare system, so that they can better manage and pay for care. The platform is able to look at large patient populations to draw lines of commonality. For example, it can look at a large number of type II diabetes cases, examine the treatments that have been administered and show statistically which ones have been effective in most cases.
In the future, Schulte hopes to see Apixio being used by the physicians as well.
“Today, we rely on the memory of physicians to practice how they were taught during residency and small studies,” Schulte said. “This technology will allow us to use the records of millions of people and see what solutions work best. Data driven healthcare and intelligently using this platform to inform medical decisions is where this company is going and we hope to revolutionize the way healthcare is delivered.”
“Right now, physicians are being bombarded by way too much data and administrative duty they have to take action on and that takes away from their ability to care for patients. This eliminates some of the noise. Instead of patients seeing their doctors hunched over and typing away at their electronic records, the physician is able to spend more time worrying about the care of the patient,” Schulte added.
Apixio’s Healthcare Data Vision
Earlier this month, Apixio announced it had achieved 210% year-over-year growth in patients analyzed. The platform has examined more than 500 million medical documents, which has led to five billion analytic events that can provide substantial insight into patient care.
“The ultimate vision of Apixio is to create what we call a living laboratory of healthcare data to improve healthcare from the practice of medicine to the science of medicine,” Schulte said. “The medical records out there now are 80% of what is known about your healthcare. We’ve never before seen the accumulation of data that can now be mined with computers and we want to be at the forefront of leveraging the information present in these medical notes, with computers reading doctors language and making sense of it to create care profiles and look at individuals similar to you to see what worked and what didn’t for treatment that is informed. This allows your physicians to personalize your healthcare.”
So how long before the entire healthcare system is working within a platform such as Apixio’s? It’s tough to say, because healthcare can be a slow moving industry. Despite six years of the federal government subsidizing the adoption of technology for EHR management, only 70% of physicians have an EHR system of some kind.
“Things move slower in healthcare because of the nature of treating patients and you want to be conservative, not change things on a dime,” Schulte said. “But over the next 5-10 years, you’ll see more of these platforms being used to manage and determine the best value in healthcare. I think that the day is coming sooner than some might think. It depends in part in how we change the nature of how we pay for healthcare. Traditionally, we’ve paid for whatever a doctor does regardless of the value we’re getting. But as that changes, the need for this level of intelligence increases even more. We’ll see this technology being increasingly adopted to be able to best provide care for millions of people.”
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Interoperability and Meaningful Use
A major issue facing the use of EHRs has been the interoperability of the systems in which these records live. When the HITECH Act passed in 2009, Congress steered billions of incentive dollars to encourage the adoption of EHR systems at hospitals and physicians offices, but to their disappointment, the ability of those systems to talk to one another has proven a tremendous hurdle that has spurred several additional initiatives aimed at increasing interoperability.
“Interoperability is a big bone of contention,” Schulte said. “There have been a lot of fists pounding the table in Congress and it’s easy to see where they are coming from. Electronic record companies have an incentive not to share information easily across systems because then it becomes easier to change those systems out.”
But for Apixio, interoperability is less of a hurdle than one might suspect.
“For us, we do an end run around that,” Schulte said. “We can tap into EHR databases where the data lives such as Epic, Allscripts and NextGen, and by doing that we don’t have to wait for the day that interoperability actually happens. I think that day is a long way out. For us, access to the data is paramount, but we have to do it in a secure, responsible way that adheres to privacy standards that govern the use of healthcare data.”
While the interoperability and meaningful use debate gets ironed out, Apixio is set to push the limits of what EHRs can do for the healthcare industry today. This fact is part of what has attracted investors like Intermedix CEO Joel Portice.
“Apixio’s unique and proprietary technology, coupled with increasing market demands and pressures to address the once-in-a-generation dynamics currently confronting healthcare stakeholders, helps position the company for unprecedented growth. This capital infusion is a catalyst to meet the huge opportunities that stand in front of Apixio,” Portice said in an Apixio statement released today.