Chicago health tech incubator’s products reach 92 million patients

Andis Robeznieks , Senior News Writer

While the AMA’s recent efforts into improving the usability of electronic health records (EHRs) and the launch of companies like First Mile Care have garnered the health IT community’s attention, one of its earlier efforts is maturing nicely.

That effort is MATTER. The Chicago-based organization’s three-part description explains its different roles as a:

  • Health care-startup incubator that looks to “solve the right health care problems in the right ways.”
  • Community nexus that brings executives, entrepreneurs and investors together.
  • Corporate innovation accelerator that helps established healthcare organizations define their challenges, identify solutions and innovate faster.

About 400,000 clinicians have used products developed at MATTER to benefit 92 million patients, according to the organization’s report.

“Our partnership with MATTER works toward making two AMA goals a reality,” said AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, who serves on the MATTER board of directors. “First, innovators at MATTER are striving to ensure that technology serves as an asset for physicians and not a burden. Second, they are helping to bring in physicians’ perspective and experience to influence the course of medical innovation.”

The AMA’s Physician Innovation Network (PIN) is an online community that connects and matches physicians with digital health companies and entrepreneurs. Through the use of the PIN platform, the voice, experience and needs of physicians can be heard and incorporated into new products as they are developed.

“The new frontier is ‘three-leg stool collaborations,’” AMA member James Mault, MD, said in the MATTER report. “You need the technology, the clinical expertise and the mathematicians.”

The AMA is a platinum partner with MATTER, along with organizations such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois; OSF HealthCare, a Peoria, Illinois-based 11-hospital health system; and Astellas, a Tokyo-based pharmaceutical developer.

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MATTER member companies raised $260 million in investment capital in 2018 and generated revenue of $102 million, according to the report.

The report highlights a startup known as Regroup Therapy that connects psychiatrists and other therapists to patients in primary care clinics, emergency departments and outpatient behavioral health facilities. It counts the Wisconsin Department of Corrections as a client. The company raised $5.5 million in 2018.

“We helped established organizations connect with cutting-edge innovators, stay abreast of the latest trends and learn to innovate more efficiently and effectively,” the MATTER report says.

Stratifying patients by risk

Another MATTER-supported success story is a startup called Quant HC, led by University of Chicago Medicine hospitalist and researcher Dana Edelson, MD. She used data from nearly 300,000 cases to develop eCART, a system that uses vital signs, laboratory data and demographics to automatically risk stratify hospitalized patients and issue an alert when a patient becomes high risk for cardiac arrest.

Last year, Dr. Edelson entered into a deal giving exclusive global rights of a new version of the tool, called eCart Lite, to EarlySense, an Israel-based patient-monitoring solutions company with U.S. headquarters in Woburn, Massachusetts.

“I’m not a natural entrepreneur,” Dr. Edelson said at MATTER’s opening in 2015. “What MATTER does for us is give us unprecedented access to mentors, colleagues, capital and curriculum that weren’t otherwise available.”

Plans call for the Lite version of eCart to integrate data from EarlySense bed sensors and expand its use as a predictive tool.

“We may be able to extend the predictive clinical score beyond the confines of the hospital and into post-acute and home environments,” Dr. Edelson said in a news release. “This enables earlier intervention and prevention of patient deterioration and adverse events.”

The partnership with MATTER reflects a commitment to investigating long-term paths to practice sustainability and professional satisfaction through research, data and analytics. The partnership is part of the AMA effort to identify effective care delivery and payment models that can improve the quality of patient care, cut health care costs for the nation and increase professional satisfaction—all while facilitating physician innovations.