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2015 Up-and-Comer: Apervita: “Democratizing Analytics”

July 6, 2015
by David Raths
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To accompany our Healthcare Informatics 100 list of the largest companies in U.S. health information technology every year, we like to give readers a heads-up on some fast-growing companies that could very well make the HCI 100 in years to come. In fact, one of the companies we chose as an Up-and-Comer in 2014, Evolent Health, recently registered for a $100 million initial public offering.

Some of the firms in this group may not have much revenue yet, but their growth trajectory suggests they could have a significant impact on the healthcare sector. Others are coming at seemingly intractable problems in healthcare from completely new angles. Keep your eye on these six.

Here is a company that is trying to do something completely new. Its founders say they are “democratizing” analytics. What does that mean?

Founded in 2012 as Pervasive Health, Chicago-based Apervita Inc. is seeking to address the demand for health analytics and data by empowering leading health systems to commercialize and share their expertise, making it readily available through a marketplace.

Where did this idea originate? “We had the good fortune of spending time talking with executives from Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and others,” says CEO Paul Magelli. “Today we have millions of health analytics built, but they largely end up on paper and published in PubMed. Cleveland Clinic does around 500 analytics a year as an institution and commercializes exactly one. It takes them a few years and a couple of million dollars and that is a highly ineffective process,” he says. So Apervita came up with the idea of a community and a marketplace. It is seeking to allow institutions that demonstrate the value of analytics in a clinical setting to unlock that learning and allow others to subscribe to it. Early members of the community include Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Leapfrog Group, and Diameter Health.

When it publishes its analytics solution, the publisher takes a majority of the revenue, with Apervita taking a small commission. “It is a little like the Amazon Kindle model,” Magelli explains. Amazon allows you to self-publish a book and you retain the rights. It is just a digital distribution channel that takes a commission.

Paul Magelli

Apervita provides a cloud-based service. A customer organization routes the data to the cloud; it runs the computation and returns the result into the workflow where the clinician needs it. So another way Apervita makes money is from organizations that want to scale their computational use. For instance, if a health plan wants to apply a set of financial analytics to 100 million members, that is going to cost it more than a small practice that wants to run it across a few hundred patient visits. “So we offer a subscription that is usage-based but allows the smallest single-provider practice to get started at very little cost and then scale for usage by large organizations,” he says.

Magelli says some examples of analytics already available on the platform involve early warnings that something may be going wrong with a patient, such as sepsis or cardiac events. A company called CETA has partnered with Apervita to author and publish a suite of algorithms that identify chronic heart failure (CHF) patients at high risk for hospital readmission.  A dashboard compiles the results of readmission risk algorithms put forth by organizations such as Yale University and Get With the Guidelines as well as CHF-specific thresholds for device readings and lab results.  Clinical teams can see which patients have the greatest need for discharge and transition planning, as well as better coordination of care with the outpatient setting.

In January 2015, Apervita completed an $18 million Series A round of funding led by GE Ventures and Baird Capital to expand both the platform and its sales and marketing team.

The company has grown to 35 employees and expects to double that number soon, Magelli says. Following recent announcements of participation by Mayo and Cleveland Clinic, he adds, “You will see us make a large number of other announcements in the coming months of most of the other major institutions in the United States. Those include health enterprises, not just hospitals and not just clinical analytics.”

Magelli calls the Apervita marketplace absolutely unique. “We don’t see anyone else trying to democratize health analytics,” he insists. “The idea is that you have choice, and the cost of acquiring analytics is 10 to 100 times cheaper than you could do it on your own. And the amount of time it takes you is 100-fold less. This isn’t a two-year integration where you have to hope you chose the right analytics package. It is a very different model.”