(Photo courtesy of Penn Medicine)
SpeSo Health wants to support the 25 million U.S. patients with rare diseases every step of the way. That means offering a direct scheduling line to rare disease specialists, the first being those at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center.
Here’s how the DreamIt Health startup’s tool works: Patients diagnosed with a rare disease can search SpeSo Health’s CurityMD tool to find hospitals whose doctors specialize in that disease. The tool ranks each hospital, based on the number and strength of medical journal publications on that disease, clinical trials and amount of specialists. SpeSo sources data from many sources, many of which are governmental, like the Food and Drug Association, the National Library of Medicine and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as does its own analysis of the data.
Once you choose which hospital, SpeSo hopes to eventually offer a direct scheduling line to those specialists. The startup recently began to offer that option with Penn Medicine doctors who focus on mesothelioma, amyloidosis and multiple myeloma.
Without SpeSo, patients would have to call Penn Medicine’s 1-800 number, and wait as their call is triaged and eventually put through to the right coordinator. SpeSo’s tool cuts through those extra steps, said CEO Jonathan McEuen.
The Penn Medicine pilot will last about three to six months and continue and expand to more diseases if Penn likes the service. Penn is paying a flat rate for the pilot, McEuen said, and will pay a monthly subscription fee if it continues to use CurityMD.
CurityMD has been free and open to the public since the fall of last year, when DreamIt Health ended, but the startup had been in quiet beta mode and plans to promote it during this pilot with Penn Medicine. The tool has seen a few hundred users a day, McEuen said.
SpeSo has been bootstrapping thus far but are now in talks with investors, said McEuen. That early revenue came from two types of projects:
- providing data and analytics on rare diseases to enterprise companies
- selling a tool that helped hospitals understand “the full comprehensive set of expertise across rare diseases.”
His five-person team is split between Benjamin’s Desk in Rittenhouse, New York City and Fort Worth, Texas.
McEuen, 32, lives in Center City and got his Ph.D in neuroscience from Penn. He previously worked in healthcare consulting.-30-
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