Approximately four in 10 adult Americans reported they have delayed or gone without medical care in the past year, according to a 2022 poll led by the health-policy research organization KFF. The issue of rising healthcare costs can partially be solved by developing algorithms to be used in medical research, said Duke alum Josh Miller, the CEO and Co-Founder of Durham-based Gradient Health.
Diverse data sets are also important for algorithms to be applicable to the wider public. It is necessary for data to be made up of people from different ethnicities, genders, and ages so it can be used for everyone. This is why Gradient Health collects data from over 10 different countries including the U.S., Brazil, China, Australia, and the Netherlands.
Gradient Health is a SaaS platform designed to leverage AI to speed up the medical research process by allowing researchers to gather accurate and anonymous data. AI is only effective if it receives accurate data in large quantities, which is why Gradient Health has collected over 300 million patient studies so far.
Founded in 2020, the startup follows the HIPAA safe harbor method, which protects private health information for patients by removing information that can be used to identify a specific patient. This can include names, phone numbers, social security numbers, and other common identifiers. This HIPAA method is often used for medical studies, and allows Gradient Health’s data to be extremely secure.
The 15-person team obtains data from hospital systems and makes it available to those doing commercial or academic research. Gradient Health works with over 1,000 partner hospitals.
“What we do is we go to hospital systems, we erase all of the patient information—names, birthdates, everything like that—anonymize all the data,” Miller said, “and then make it available for folks who want to do (medical) research.”
Gradient Health’s data is SOC 2 certified, which means the company follows a voluntary compliance standard that specifies how organizations should manage customers’ data in a safe and secure way.
Researchers can get access to Gradient Health’s existing datasets, or they can request an entirely new one.
The company started gathering data in the field of radiology, but now is expanding into other research fields such as pathology and genomics. Gradient Health licenses data for each project to their over 60 customers.
As well as working with academic institutions like Stanford University, Gradient Health’s clients include healthcare providers and companies doing research such as large pharmaceutical companies.
Gradient Health has raised $5.6 million in total from investors. Miller is convinced that the startup is well-positioned—literally—for continued growth.
“The Triangle is one of the best places on Earth to start a company,” Miller said.