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5 min reading time
When he discovered his daughter was sick, Derek Streat took the Internet. It was difficult compiling relevant data. What information was reliable? What was not?
Now Derek is ready to wage war on behalf of all patients in a similar situation.
Derek sat down with #MedDevice to discuss his start-up, Medify.
Joe Hage: What does that mean, “to proactively wage their personal wars” against serious illness?
Derek Streat: Medify was inspired by my daughter’s serious illness. We found ourselves thrust into a world we knew nothing about. We spent a lot of time searching for answers to have better, more informed conversations with her doctors.
So we built Medify to mine that research and discover the info and outcomes about real patients. There are hundreds of millions of those proven patient outcomes searchable, personalizable and sharable on Medify today.
Joe Hage: If it’s not indelicate to ask, what is your daughter’s condition? Is it poorly researched / unknown?
Derek Streat: She has a rare auto-immune condition that took out her kidneys. Transplant a year + ago and doing great.
Joe Hage: That’s great news, Derek. Tell me, did Medify help you with your daughter’s condition or did you make it so others would benefit?
Derek Streat: The latter. I needed a service like Medify because I spent months manually culling through medical research myself … and I am not a doctor.
But, all that work paid off because we were able to collaborate with her doctors much more effectively.
Derek Streat: I often didn’t, but the important thing is to raise awareness of options so that you can talk with docs about them. There are 5,000 new pieces of research published daily on NIH website. No one, not even the docs can stay 100% current.
So if you want to get the best care, you need to uncover things that MIGHT be the right answer to discuss with docs.
Joe Hage: So is @medifyinc an aggregator of medical data?
Derek Streat: We start there, then do a lot more. Our technology mines the research – essentially unstructured info and then it extract the relevant data about the actual patients studied and organizes it in a database. We then provide users interactive and highly visual tools to filter and personalize those patient experiences.
We only source data from professionally vetted sources. The main one is Medline which includes 20 million pieces of research.
[caption id=”attachment_1621″ align=”alignright” width=”180″ caption=”Click for Darshan's #MedDevice chat: Regulatory Crackdowns”][/caption]
Darshan Kulkarni: You mentioned there was no “filtering” process earlier. Is there any now? For example, how do you distinguish Medify results from a simple Google search? Or is it in the display of the results?
Editor’s Note: See Darshan’s #MedDevice chat on FDA Regulatory Crackdowns.
Derek Streat: @FDALawyers Good question. Google does a keyword search and returns links to research for the user to cull through. Medify actually makes the information about the specific patients studied in those studies searchable and then, yes, users can visualize the results in interactive graphics on our site.
For example, a search for autism on Google will yield many sites to read. On Medify that same search will yield info about the actual patients studied in that research, and then allow the user to further filter to more relevant patients.
Darshan Kulkarni: @medifyinc Great! Do you have a hierarchy of sources e.g. Medline doesn’t distinguish between case reports & multicenter control trials.
Derek Streat: @FDALawyers We do distinguish between study type, as well as other factors, i.e. author, statistical significance, etc.
Darshan Kulkarni: @medifyinc How does a person who doesn’t understand the relevance of these factors know what to look for?
Derek Streat: @FDALawyers The assumption there is that patients don’t understand relevance. We find patients with serious illness often become “expert systems” themselves and when armed with data can have more effective conversations with doctors and, ultimately, the doc makes the call on treatment options, etc. So there is a safety net.
Venture capitalists often find it hard to believe patients can educate and empower themselves, but we see their motivation and persistence every day.
Derek Streat: We have a multi-tiered revenue model. 1. Fremium; there are some services angled towards professionals that are fee-based.
2. We connect, WITH USER PERMISSION AND TRANSPARENCY, patients with providers of treatments and services of interest to them.
Derek Streat: For example, if University of Washington has the best research for certain types of Lymphoma, they show up at the top. UW likely knows this and is savvy enough to want to share with others their strong position. So we’re finding those types of organizations are interested in working with Medify to continue to promote their success.
Joe Hage: Does “working with Medify” give you a revenue opportunity?
Derek Streat: Yes, that’s the connection between how things rank and the revenue model. It’s a win for everyone.
Joe Hage: How far along are you with your awareness-building campaign service providers?
Derek Streat: We just opened the beta late last year and interest is strong. We have a handful of large providers and consumer health sites that we’ll be announcing partnerships with in the first half of this year.
When you come down to it this is another model to capture user intent, we have found however that our approach to uncovering valuable content and insights for consumers yields a much more engaged and valuable user for everyone.
Darshan Kulkarni: So is this like a different version of WebMD?
Derek Streat: @FDALawyers Not really. WebMD is very high level. If you want to get data about patient outcomes you won’t find it on WebMD.
Joe Hage: You were saying this is the SEVENTH venture-backed start-up you’ve done?
Derek Streat: Yes … gluttons for punishment I guess. We did Farecast (bought by Microsoft), Classmates (bought by United Online), Adrelevance (bought by Nielsen), etc. We like data and consumer companies.
Joe Hage: Wow! With a background like that, you must have no problem raising money!!
Derek Streat: Ha, ha! Medify is by far already the most fulfilling based upon the real patients telling us every day how we help them. Our users are so passionate about what we do right and wrong. It’s quite an experience.
Joe Hage: Very, very interesting, Derek. Thank you and what better way to conclude our interview today!
Derek Streat: Thanks for having me Joe. I’m appreciative of the time you gave me.
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