A Junction City Kansas startup called Lead Horse Technology has introduced a new patient safety tool that provides critical safety information to doctors providing patient care. Adverse reactions to medication can be life threatening in any setting, but especially in a hospital setting where doctors and nurses are charged with the care of several patients at one time. While the move to paperless charting is welcomed by all, it can actually open up risk factors such as adverse reactions to medication at an alarming rate.
Medloom, the tool created by Lead Horse Technology, is designed to be an add on for electronic health information systems and provides important medical patient safety information to doctors, nurses, technicians, pharmacists and anyone else who comes in contact with the patient and their electronic medical record (EMR).
Medloom provides pharmacovigilance (the ‘assessment and monitoring of the safety of drugs as used in the real world’) support to clinical decision-making. Unlike other “clinical decision support systems”, Medloom does not rely on published data but uses an advanced artificial intelligence algorithm to create ‘at risk’ profiles from the FDA’s adverse event reporting system, then cross-references these profiles with individual patient records to scan for those patients who match. Patient identity is never compromised or even an issue, because Medloom only looks at the patient profile (meds, background conditions, age and gender) and never captures patient ID.
In an initial clinical validation trial Medloom correctly identified 80% of the patients who were at risk for not just adverse reactions to medication but life threatening adverse reactions to medication.
We got a chance to interview Dr. Ramona Leibnitz, one of the co-founders of Lead Horse Technology about this exciting new medical startup. Check out the interview below.
Who are the founders of Lead Horse Technology, and What are your backgrounds?
LHT is led by Co-founders, John Armstrong and Ramona Leibnitz. Dr. Armstrong, CEO, is a Ph.D. immunologist with 24 years of experience, including bioinformatics executive teams (SVP and CSO) and big Pharma medical affairs (Principle Clinical Scientist). He is also a steering committee member of a $29 million bioinformatics project called ImmPort that was awarded by the NIH to Northrop Grumman and for which he was the lead scientist consulting to Northrop Grumman. The Principal Investigator, Dr. Richard Scheuermann, was chosen by Dr. Armstrong for that project, and Dr. Scheuermann is on LHT’s Science and Medicine Advisory Board.
Dr. Leibnitz, President, is also a Ph.D. immunologist and has 25 years in immunology and medical education (NIH, Basel Institute for Immunology, Univ. of Maryland, College Park). She is uniquely qualified to advance a company focused on drug reactions and medical communications, is an experienced medical information architect, and is co-founder of Popular Immunology e-Magazine. Dr. Leibnitz’s focus for the past 13 years has been on providing medical information, mostly to science and healthcare professionals, but also to the patient community. She has been on the executive teams of two other medical information companies besides Lead Horse Technologies.
Where are you based?
Junction City, Kansas, although the team at Lead Horse includes developers in Florida and Texas, members of the executive team in California, and we work with an artificial intelligence group out of Dublin, N. Ireland.
What is the startup culture like in Junction City, Kansas
The small city of Junction City, Kansas, embraces start-ups and seeks to grow its technology park. Two other technology companies were successfully recruited at the same time as Lead Horse Technologies, and other companies since then have been attracted to Junction City. In addition, the State of Kansas helps start-up companies attract angel funding by providing angel tax credits. Primarily though, it’s the generous and risk-taking nature of the people here who support numerous endeavors, especially ones that they can watch grow here in Kansas.
What problem does your startup solve?
Adverse drug events cost this nation nearly $400 Billion each year, according to health economic impact studies published in a peer-reviewed journal Health Affairs, in April 2011. The nearly 4,000 deaths each week can be visualized as two jumbo jets crashing and killing everyone aboard EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR. These deaths occur in spite of all the current technology that seeks to reduce medical errors and drug-drug interactions. Adverse drug events are not the same as ‘medical errors’ because serious and life-threatening issues due to drugs occur even when drugs are prescribed and used appropriately. There is a complacency in the healthcare arena about these so-called “UN-avoidable” issues. Our health IT tool Medloom is the first and only clinical decision support system that addresses adverse drug events before they are even published in a drug’s pharmaceutical package insert. Medloom is the only company that provides intelligence to healthcare professionals about how medications are performing in the real world of drug use, as reported by the FDA’s own adverse event reporting system (MedWatch).
What is one challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?
ONE Challenge?! There’s never “one”…
We’ve surmounted a significant technological barrier in assessing and deciphering information in the seven disparately structured databases in which the FDA stores their MedWatch data.
We’ve bootstrapped through a severe economic recession due to the charisma, vision, and fortitude of the founders.
We’ve adapted to changing market needs as the healthcare industry reforms its practices.
Throughout it all, we’ve focused on saving lives and reducing costs associated with adverse drug events.
What’s one thing the world doesn’t know about you or your startup?
Our headquarters building is an historic limestone building called “Liberty Hall” on a gravel road on the outskirts of town. The original settlers from Pennsylvania brought a small replica of the Liberty Bell with them and set it up in the front of their grand three-story house that later was modernized in the 1920s to include an elevator. Most significantly for Lead Horse Technologies, there is a horse-head hitching post outside the back door that proudly stares off to a neighboring field where the second largest Percheron draft horse in the U.S. grazes. Our little piece of Kansas exemplifies that innovation can develop anywhere, and that even when surrounded by cornfields, we’re “Leading the Way” to the practice of 21st century medicine.
What’s next for your Lead Horse Technology?
Although we have focused on developing a health IT tool for healthcare professionals, no one cares more about their health than the patient. We’re currently working on getting donations through the website www.MedloomforME.com to develop a patient-facing tool in an iPhone app.
Nibletz is the voice of startups “everywhere else” here are more startup interviews from “everywhere else”