When Jordan Shlain, MD, began practicing medicine 20 years ago, he immediately knew there were some problems in the profession he chose to pursue. During a session at the Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) West Conference on Tuesday, Shlain spoke passionately about his profession and desire to help change the healthcare system.
“When I went into medicine in 1997, I realized the entire system was broken,” Shlain said, confessing his dismay to the audience. “Trying to be a doctor in a broken system leads to burnout and dissatisfaction. I’ve been on a 20-year mission to identify what’s wrong and try to fix it. I want to redesign it, so it helps people.”
To help with this, he sought to improve doctor-patient engagement, particularly in the realm of follow-ups.
In 2009, he formed Mountain View, CA-based HealthLoop, a digital health company that markets a cloud-based platform to automate follow-ups for patients. The goal of the company’s solution is to help reduce post-surgical complications.
To date, the company has had some considerable success.
In May of 2017, Healthloop raised about $8.4 million and counted Canvas Ventures, iCarbonX DigitalLife Alliance, NextEquity, Lafayette General Hospital, and Summation Health Ventures among its investors.
In addition, HealthLoop announced a partnership with health analytics platform Sherbit. The collaboration combines HealthLoop’s automated plans with Sherbit’s patient activities and behavior insights.
According to statistics on HealthLoop’s website, there are more than 510,544 patient touch points monthly, 91% of patients say they are “likely to recommend,” and readmissions were reduced by 30%. The company said the technology has reduced the number of incoming phone calls by 74% for doctors’ offices.
HealthLoop said that providers using HealthLoop witness a 38% reduction in 30-day readmissions when compared with the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project benchmark and a 33% reduction in complications. HealthLoop customers witness 74% of their patients complete patient-reported outcome measures over 12 months, enabling them to capture additional bonus payments and earn incentives under Merit-Based Incentive Payment Systems (MIPS) mandated by CMS.
However, HealthLoop faced many roadblocks before Shlain could get it off the ground.
“The first roadblock I ran into was people saying that will never work. You don’t have any data,” he said.
Shlain noted that he found his first success working with a urologist that performed vasectomies. He said the urologist’s patients would not want to talk them after the procedure unless something bad happened and they had to go to the hospital.
“What the [urologist] found was that all of the guys answered 100% when using the [HealthLoop solution],” Shlain said. “It was a big 'Aha' moment for him that people do want to talk about their problems, but they want to do it anonymously.”
From there, other forward-thinking physicians signed on and the company began to grow.
Shlain said that in order to redefine healthcare and for HealthLoop’s solution to continue to thrive, people need to look at healthcare differently.
“I think a lot of what happens in medicine is that a lot of people have a question and they go down the rabbit hole of trying to answer that question," Shlain said. "They might be answering the wrong question. What I ask is ... what are we trying to do here and what is the objective of medicine.”