Brendan McCorkle jetted from Philadelphia to Las Vegas this morning seeking a target-rich environment for his Philadelphia-based company, CloudMine. "I'm headed to HIMSS, the biggest healthcare technology meeting of the year" -- that's the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference - where "a lot of our customers and a lot of our potential customers are out there this week."
CloudMine, which began life as a healthcare-app builder with backing from Philadelphia's DreamIt Health and a nest of local angel investors, is now selling hospitals, drugmakers and software developers on its new Connected Health Cloud. The firm rolled out the new product as a platform extension, designed to take some of the drudgery out of building software for privacy-conscious, regulated applications -- such as government-mandated health-record protections to keep your data private, but also aggregable for research purposes, as it passes between you and your doctors, drug companies, insurers, and the accountants and researchers who increasingly monitor health spending.
As the Affrordable Care Act (Obamacare) moves toward reimbursing drugmakers only for the drugs patients actually use, pharmaceutical companies are joining hospitals and researchers seeking ways to use smartphones, FitBit and other devices to better inform and remind patients about their therapies. That's forcing doctors who might never yet have moved their offices online to find secure apps, and pressuring institutions to build them faster.
"There is a void in the healthcare technology of applications that provide meaningful and realtime, contextual patient information," said Neil Gomes, vice president for Technology Innovation and Consumer Experience at Thomas Jefferson University and its hospital system.
CloudMine's Connected Health Cloud "fills this void" by giving Jefferson's growing staff of software developers ready-made, reusable software tools to keep messages private and compliant, so they can focus on digging up "deep patient insights" and run analytics to help doctors better prescribe efficient remedies, Gomes added.
Besides teaching hospitals like Jeff, CloudMine claims drugmakers (Mylan Specialty, Endo Pharmaceuticals), the Philadelphia-based drug advertising, app and usage-tracking service Digitas Health, and start-ups like University City-based mobile genetic-testing device maker Biomeme as clients.
CloudMine has been "an excellent resource to help our clients manage complex analytics regarding patient care," Brendan Gallagher, executive vice president for Connected Health Innovation at Digitas Health LifeBrands, told me. "Work communicating with patients, caregivers, and physicians requires a lot of trust. Privacy, security, and compliance are critical. We don't get a second chance when it comes to that trust." CloudMine has set up infrastructure to protect users while getting apps to market faster, he said.
CloudMine investors include Wayne-based Safeguard Scientifics, which led a $7.25 million first-round funding last year, as well as locally-based MissionOG, MACV, DeSimone Group, Robin Hood Ventures and DreamIt Health.
Add pharma, hospital and start-up customers, skilled labor and investors, and "Philadelphia is a really good place for healthcare technology," McCorckle concluded. Including New Jersey, "you've got the headquarters of three-quarters of the top 20 pharma companies here. And we've got some world-class hospitals," including childrens' hospitals like CHoP, which stimulate developers, in that they require an extra level of security to tie parents, as well as young patients, to doctors, drugmakers and researchers.
CloudMine got a boost when a potential competitor, Parse, was shut by Facebook recently, MissionOG partner George Krautzel told me; another potential competitor, Firebase, was recently acquired by Google.