Imagine sitting in the doctor’s office on an ordinary weekday. Suddenly, color drains from your face: you have just been diagnosed with cancer.
There are numerous treatment options, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy. The doctor gives their recommendation, but the decision is ultimately yours.
How do you make an informed health decision in such a critical situation? One Raleigh-based startups aims to help.
With over two decades of experience in healthcare, Charles Petrini-Poli created HUB Healthcare, a HIPAA-compliant platform designed to improve patient care and enable people to make informed health decisions.
“People in healthcare don’t have an easy way to communicate and collaborate,” he said. “We’re bringing a platform that allows people to easily connect with others, and get the job done.”
HUB streamlines healthcare operations and facilitates easy communication between health professionals, vendors, providers, and patients. The customizable platform enables health professionals to efficiently manage inventory, documents, scheduling, tasks, and more. It also provides access to medical reports to help make health decisions, ultimately improving both patient outcomes and the financial performance of healthcare systems.
Launched in 2020, HUB Healthcare was also one of 23 startups recently selected as semi-finalists for the fall cohort of NC IDEA’s $50K SEED grants. The platform itself was launched eight to 12 months ago and has over 450 users.
Among the upcoming features of the platform are an “Amazon for medical devices” marketplace and AI Imaging Analysis. The latter enables patients to upload scans and get a second opinion or analysis of any issues detected. Petrini-Poli hopes to launch both of these by the end of this year.
The options for monthly subscriptions, which vary in feature access, are a Free level; Pro for $249; and Enterprise, for a quote price based on the organization’s size and needs.
The Grand Vision
Petrini-Poli’s family has been in healthcare for generations. His uncle, the renowned neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield, was a pioneer in the field of brain surgery.
Petrini-Poli recognized the need for better collaboration and data sharing in the industry. Inefficient communication can lead to medical errors, misdiagnosis, delays in treatment or—in the ultimate worst-case scenario—death.
Petrini-Poli said that it’s a significant contributing factor in the estimated 90,000 annual deaths in U.S. hospitals caused by healthcare-associated infections, which results in $4.5 billion in costs per year.
Despite being slow and inefficient, 70% of hospitals still rely on fax machines and phone lines to transfer and retrieve patient records or order prescriptions, according to a 2019 data brief by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).
Petrini-Poli always thought that one could crowdsource healthcare data to address these large healthcare issues.
“The idea is that we can collect data on a platform, and… over time, we can empower people to be able to make more informed decisions,” he said.
The primary goal is to use the platform’s data—from user interactions and teamwork—to assess patient outcomes, including patient satisfaction, readmission rates and clinical outcomes. This would then augment healthcare providers’ existing metrics.
Currently, this depth of data is rare and not accessible to patients.
“The shorter-term vision is to have a platform that helps people collaborate and reduce those errors and inefficiencies,” Petrini-Poli said.
At the end of this year, he aims to have over 600 users on the platform. He also hopes to have at least three “atomic networks,” which would be groups centered around a specific facility, such as a surgery center with affiliated providers and vendors.